August 1st, 2013 by Bob Bly
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
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
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
I also don’t place overly much importance on positive thinking
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
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
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
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,
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