• Sajiv Shah

How to Stay Motivated: Tom Bilyeu || Podcast Learnings

Recently, I've been struggling to sit down and do things that I do not want to. Whether it's taking a practice SAT or cleaning my room, I've become so comfortable that I feel no consequence and therefore no driving reason to get things done.

I decided to listen to one of the many podcasts that I have bookmarked but never listened to by one of the most famous motivational speakers, Tom Bilyeu. His episode was on how to stay motivated, not only through COVID-19 but in any situation.

The podcast structure is that fans and viewers can submit questions through videos, and Tom responds to them. The first question came from a small business owner that had exercised for 70 days straight but seemed to have lost the motivation to exercise. I really liked this question because it was similar to what I was experiencing.

"Motivation comes in waves...that's just neurobiology. It is inevitable that sometimes you are going to feel it sometimes you aren't."

The idea that motivation is not necessarily found and controllable but rather appears in waves didn't make much sense to me, and also scared me since it made it seem like I was not in control of how productive I am.

Bilyeu clarified that although this is true, there are still many things one can do to build their motivation, such as finding what they really want. What often happens when doing an impactful activity such as volunteering, working out, or running a business, people spend lots of time judging what they really want that they don't realize they pick something that isn't what truly excites them. Bilyeu gives the example of working out, where many claim that they do so to want a healthier lifestyle and longevity when in reality they just want to look good when naked in front of a mirror. This is very important. I find this to be true among my peers and myself and is probably a large reason for a lack of motivation.

"Don't let other people's judgments about what you should color what you actually want"

That said, I have struggled to find a concrete, detailed long term goal for myself that I can create a plan to achieve. At the moment, I know that I am excited by space travel and becoming an interplanetary society, but I'm also excited about making money and robotics. I find that while I struggle to do the things I don't want to, my friends with more concrete goals don't. For example, one of my friends has the sole goal of attending Stanford University. Although some would argue that this isn't a good goal and life should be more than just getting into a college, it is a great goal for a high-school student in retrospect. My friend is able to stay motivated, do things he doesn't want to, and manage his time wisely because he has a concrete goal laid in front of him. And even if he doesn't achieve this goal, his high target will still allow him to achieve great things and live a content life. My personal goal may be too long term and appears to be allowing me to get too comfortable in my current state since tomorrow and the day after may not necessarily affect my life in 20 years. For example, the leading experts in space and robotics aren't the ones who necessarily attended the best universities, but instead had a strong personal initiative and drive. Although I may not be that person, it is important for me to decide what I really want so I can better manage my time and enjoy working towards the real goal I have.

"Find a way to really love the process"

Bilyeu stated something that I hear all the time from GaryVee's mouth. You gotta love the process. Adding to the analogy of working out, Bilyeu talked about how he loves the idea of actually getting stronger and stronger every day. For me, it's something similar. I love the idea of reading a 10-page paper and going to bed knowing more about the world or the universe than I did the day before, and I think that's a powerful way to measure my growth. But that applies to things I enjoy. For something such as the SAT, there needs to be a way for me to create a method that allows me to enjoy getting higher scores or beating the exam.

"Greatness is about doing the things that are tragically boring, and that you have to repeat over and over and over to get better at"

This quote is really important because it pertains to all the struggles I am having right now. Bilyeu discusses how a musician must practice their scales, and an athlete must deliberately practice the basics in order to get better. The SAT practice formula is insanely repetitive and the test-taking process is extremely boring, but it is what is necessary to beat the exam.

There are three main tasks that I have outlined for myself in order to stay motivated:

  1. Figure out what I really want (psychologically for men it is often popularity and money, but I hope something more detailed exists)

  2. Create a concrete goal, preferably short (~5 years)

  3. Find a way to enjoy the things I hate doing (which can just be the realizing that it must be done in order to achieve other things)