Motivation and Passion is a Myth

It seems that a lot of people are just ‘waiting’ for motivation or passion like it’s a Christmas present and that when they receive or find this present everything else will follow through. Although I’m not the one to wait, I never actually self actualized this to myself. Just like many other startup founders, I had ambitious goals and worked insane hours but at first I can’t really say I had a huge passion or had a surging motivation for it. Rather, at first my passion and motivation would run like fuel on a car- running great at first and then having to refill up again( refueling in my case was to read an inspiring book about a rockstar entrepreneur).

But after a couple years, working ungodly hard just became a regular habit and I love learning more about programming. While I was reviewing a couple notes on some books I’ve read(Mastery by Robert Greene and So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport)  a culmination of ideas just hit me. Motivation and passion is really just a myth.  I don’t mean it in the sense that they don’t exist at all but in the sense that it’s all backwards. In the business world, it is a common saying that if you build a great product that solves a great problem that the money will follow. In this case, the side effect of a great product is money or a crazy acquisition(like Instagram).  In this same logic, I like to say that motivation is a side effect of doing work. We all know what our goals are and what we need to do, so just do it! The motivation will follow just like when we don’t feel like working out but we feel great afterwards so we do it again(this is how we build a habit). Passion is the same, except it happens in a much broader span of time. Passion is a side effect of becoming a master of some valuable skills or when you become “So good they can’t ignore you.” At first it may seem like you’re the average entrepreneur, programmer, marketer etc but when you start seeing money and users come in or your awesome open source project is getting shared it motivates you to further “level up” to the point where you become the top 10% in your field and as a result you are “passionate” about what you do.

There’s a common saying that says “Success breeds success”, in this case good work breeds motivation, and becoming a master breeds passion. So, if you’re more proactive towards your goals (instead of reactive ) you will feel more  motivated and eventually become passionate about what you do.

All this reminds me of a TED talk I saw a couple months ago about forcing yourself to do things at first:  (I highly recommend it)

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