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A lot of my subscribers ask me how I get motivated to do my work, but the truth is: I think the whole idea of motivation is overrated.

My subscriber RM writes: “Bob, thanks for balancing out the often severely unrealistic optimism that often comes with motivational literature…you’re keeping it real.”

A whole mini-industry, motivational speaking and publishing, has evolved to help people worldwide find their motivation.

But I believe you can do what you must do to succeed whether you feel motivated or not.

In an attempt at humorous marketing, an actor reading the script on a radio commercial pauses and asks his producer, “What’s my motivation here?”

The producer’s deadpan answer: “We’re paying you.”

JH, a successful novelist, says that the secret to his success is that he writes every day whether he feels motivated to or not.

“Writing is my job,” says JH. “If I work in the chicken plant, do I not go to the chicken plant today just because I don’t feel like it?”

I also don’t place overly much importance on positive thinking or optimism.

The book “The Secret” says that if you keep thinking positive thoughts, you will get or become what you think about.

Note: I well understand the Law of Attraction. Please do not write to me suggesting I do not and offering your explanation. I was listening to Earl Nightingale when many of my readers were in diapers.

The Law of Attraction notwithstanding, my experience is that ideas, visualization, affirmations, and positive thoughts alone are next to nothing. It is action that gets you the results.

I am by nature a pessimist. Dr. Martin Seligman, a psychologist and author of the book “Learned Optimism”, says that an advantage of pessimists is that they see things realistically.

As a negative sort of person, I do at times wonder whether, in my large body of how-to writing, I may have failed to sufficiently motivate my readers. My writing tends to be long on actionable ideas and short on rah-rah talk.

Many info-marketers motivate by promising outrageous results in their promotional copy and their products. A lot do so by hyping the business opportunity they are selling in their writings.

But unless the buyer follows the instructions given in the product and keeps at it, he is unlikely to achieve the results he wants.

I like what my colleague info-marketer FG says: “I make no promises about your results. That’s up to you.”

Nike’s iconic ad campaign encapsulates my advice to you: “Just do it.”

Nike has it right. What matters most is not what you think or say; what matters most is what you do.

Thomas Carlyle said it this way: “Produce! Produce! Were it but the pitifullest infinitesimal fraction of a product, produce it in God’s name! ‘Tis the utmost thou hast in thee: out with it, then.”

Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.

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