Unmotivated to Get Shit Done? Here’s Why.

by Alexander Heyne · 24 comments

Every once in awhile we meet someone who has seemingly supernatural focus. They spend zero time watching TV or playing video games, they spend close to no time in time-wasting activities or situations, they don’t eat sweets, they work out, they just seem to have their shit together.

And we wonder “Alright, how in the hell are you that focused? What magical cocaine are you blowing that gives you that kind of energy? How could anyone go to work and come home just to continue working!?”

And here’s what I realized: Those magical cocaine-blowing-insanely-focused people have a strong sense of why.

Why the hell are you doing all this?

“You see, if your dream is dead, so is your passion. “No passion” numbs you to the greatest violinist in the world while he plays in the train depot. “No passion” leads to mediocrity and the land of everybody. “No passion” leads to unhappiness. “No passion” equals no wealth. If you’re struggling for motivation, re-energize your dream and align it with a road capable of burning a trail to its reality. Dead dreams can’t burn trails of passion. Passion fires your will to do what is necessary beyond what others can’t. Fastlaners work unlike everyone else so they can live unlike anyone else. Ask yourself “WHY” You are doing things. Proving someone wrong? Taking care of someone? Want to pursue your dream without worrying about money? “

-The Millionaire Fastlane

It’s one of those simple truths. People who have found that “why” have a hell of a lot more fire.

Want an example?

Read any business bestseller on amazon.

Now read The Millionaire Fastlane.

Now guess why the Millionaire fast lane has spawned an immense movement, (just see how many Facebook likes the page has). Got a theory?

M.J. has serious fire when he writes. It’s something he really believes in – that we shouldn’t have to deal with bullshit like trading 5 days of work for 2 days of freedom, or 40 years of work for retirement.

That “get rich slow” is some bullshit that get rich slow gurus used to get rich fast.

That there are much better ways to get wealthy, make a difference, and do what you love.

My fire comes from the fact that everyday I see the same parts of life that leave me feeling pissed off and discontent.

I see young people squandering their precious time and then bitching about hating their lives. I listen to friends bitch and moan about their existence and then once 5 pm hits, do nothing about it but go grab drinks and come home and watch TV.

I see young people – who still have fire and zest for life – give up on doing something they enjoy because of laziness or because they don’t see anyone around them doing what they love.

I see people all around me, day after day, that are fucking miserable and going through their lives without even thinking for 5 seconds if there’s a better way to do what they’re doing.

All of these things piss me off and get me riled up! That’s where my why comes from, that’s why it’s so natural and I’m constantly infused with energy and fire to get shit done.

It doesn’t take effort.

That’s why you need to figure out why you’re doing what you do. 

No one else can give you the fire

The second thing about being motivated is that no one else can motivate you.

You can read blog posts and watch youtube inspirational videos all day to no effect.

Motivation that comes from outside of you doesn’t last long. It’s a drug rush – it’s an upper then a downer. “Yeahhhhhh… shit…” It’s fleeting.

It’s like trying to motivate employees, that just doesn’t work long-term (no matter what someone else will say). Great, you’ve inspired someone for the afternoon – now what?

Anyone who has had employees knows that you can never get someone else to care about your business as much as you.

It’s much easier to have the right people on the team who are intrinsically motivated because they enjoy what you enjoy right?

Stop watching those youtube videos if that’s what it takes to go to the gym and stop reading inspirational success stories if that’s what it takes to work on your business. You’re only motivating yourself in the short term.

Forgot what your mom wants, what do YOU want?

Forget what everybody else wants.

Let me repeat that, because this is something that I’ve been suckered into, and many others get suckered into.

Forget what everybody else wants — that includes money, fame, freedom, whatever. What do you actually want? 

Read the manifesto and clarify what you really don’t want and what you really want in life. 

At the start of this whole entrepreneurial obsession, I loved talking about the Audi R8 I’m going to buy (See this post: Audi R8 by 29 or Bust: Success for 20 Somethings), because I was still operating under society’s concept of what “success” meant.

Success was clear: wealth at a young age, the CEO of something big and important and outward wealth.  Right?

Totally wrong. 

For me, I know nothing is worth making me miserable in the short term, I don’t give a shit how many Audi R8s i’d get in 5 or 10 years. Not worth it.

After having made myself miserable for almost a year because I put too much commitment to “anything goes, just get it done” type entrepreneurial work ethic, I know i’m not willing to do that ever again just for the end result.

Don’t lose yourself in the chaos.

In a book called Finding Your Own North Star, the author talks about how there are two selves that we have.

The first is your essential self – you – which deep down always knows what it wants and what it doesn’t want. It guides you to where you want to be via intuition and other signals – however, they can be clouded when you listen to much to your other self, the social self.

The social self is sort of our going out face. It does stuff to be polite, it does stuff in the interests of others, it does stuff to not offend anybody, it prevents you from being an animal and acting impulsively. But It can also control you and enslave you by living someone else’s life.

Your social self is in overdrive if you keep saying “I want to be an entrepreneur so I can earn $2349023480234 dollars and drive a ferrari!” That’s a shallow pipe dream with no thought — it’s just society’s old school definition of success and wealth. That’s fine if you really want that, but deep down, are you quitting your job to be an entrepreneur.. for that? For the ferrari?

I doubt it.

What does your intuition say about all of this? Follow your intuition – it’s more accurate than you think.

You deep down always know what you want.

Fight now or forever be miserable 

The older we get, the harder it is to find that fire. I don’t know why, but the older we get the more our social self comes out and the more we deep down lose the passion to do what we’ve always wanted to do.  It can be revived like anything else, but it slowly sneaks away and hides after years of neglect and being ignored.

You’re not going to find your fire by watching another motivational youtube video, you’re not going to find your fire by reading another blog post (a little ironic..hahah), and you’re not going to find your fire by watching movies or talking to people.

If you have no backbone you’re not going to have any fire. So let me ask you this:

What the hell pisses you off and gets you angry?

For me, I can’t-fucking-stand watching people live miserable existences when they have options to change but are simply too lazy to put in time and effort.

I can’t stand watching 20 somethings work miserable jobs year after year, bitch about their jobs, but not even give 5 seconds to consider working hard for an alternative lifestyle.

I can’t stand the idea of working the same goddamn job for 40 years, barely increasing my income, and having almost no vacation while getting bitched at by people senior to me.

That’s where my fire comes from.

And you need to find yours before it crawls in a small corner and dies.

More Resources for finding your fire

From Milk the Pigeon:

The Manifesto: Killing Your Old Life and Living the Dream

Books on Amazon: 


Image: Sheltercrow

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

April FitzGerald August 29, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Can I get an Amen?!

So on point with your message here and I love how you say it. Keep doing what you’re doing.

Fellow Multipotentialite ;)


afheyne August 31, 2012 at 11:53 am

Haha thanks April!

Yeah motivation can be an interesting subject for a lot of people, because like everything we love “looking” for it. You can never really look for it as much as you can look for happiness or success. One of those strong paradoxes of life.


azgari November 5, 2012 at 1:58 am

Thank you. very well written and well though out.


Alexander Heyne November 5, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Thanks azgari!


blablabla September 29, 2013 at 1:25 am

Motivation to be a terrorist? to self inmolate? thats the kind of motivation i need LOL jajajajajajajajajaja


rusty October 29, 2013 at 4:31 am

I’m afraid my fire is already dying. How do I stop it? I’m desperate please.


Alexander Heyne November 3, 2013 at 3:52 am

Hi Rusty,

Let me ask you this: what kind of things make you feel dead? What kind of things make you feel alive?


Demiera December 15, 2013 at 9:58 pm

I came here frustrated, looking for a cheap and quick fix for the concrete blocks around my feet that were keeping me from getting any work done. I’m glad I read this instead. It forced me to stop ignoring the little voice in my head that was screaming the real reasons I didn’t want to complete this assignment in front of me. It’s true that when you don’t know why you’re doing something, you simply have no reason to do it. And when you do, you’ll stop at nothing to get it done.

This was more powerful than all of the quick help posts I’ve read, combined.


Alexander Heyne December 16, 2013 at 11:57 am

Haha, awesome Demiera, I’m glad it helped :)


Peter December 30, 2013 at 3:37 am

I guess not everything on the internet is substanceless bullshit after all…


Alexander Heyne January 2, 2014 at 7:42 pm

Thanks Peter !


Tom May 17, 2014 at 10:31 am

I’m already dead. The fire is gone lol. Mediocrity 4 life


Alexander Heyne May 17, 2014 at 8:09 pm

The fire is never just “there” all the time Tom. You have to feed it, and cultivate it, just like a real fire.


Blah July 2, 2014 at 7:37 am

That’s nice but your language makes it hard to keep reading.
Why do you have to keep saying the word hell and f***


Mode July 15, 2014 at 9:26 pm

@Blah: Why so serious?


Someone Pretty September 15, 2014 at 2:12 pm

If hell and fuck make something hard to read – you got bigger problems than feeding the fire
Just saying


Atlas Westbrook January 26, 2015 at 4:09 pm

Damn, I don’t even know what to say here. I read nearly the entire article, getting it, loving the message I was perceiving until THIS:

“I can’t stand watching 20 somethings work miserable jobs year after year, bitch about their jobs, but not even give 5 seconds to consider working hard for an alternative lifestyle.”

Dude… If people like YOU are blind to the INSANE CHALLENGES that my generation faces in terms of getting any job beyond the service industry, who DOES see them??

Most of my friends work 2, even 3 jobs to get by and pay off their student loans that MOM AND DAD INSISTED they got. That takes 2 to 3 jobs out of the market for anyone else, PER COLLEGE GRAD. And keep in mind that since nearly none of them have a job using their degree, these are UNSKILLED LABOR or SERVICE INDUSTRY JOBS. So for everyone WITHOUT the degree, who did NOT buy into the horrors of the american education system, the pool of competition is now FLOODED with college grads who want the same job.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is this– We are a hard-working, motivated, and PARALYZED generation. Nearly nobody makes enough to ever buy the house and picket fence, and even if we could afford it no one would give us the mortgage loan because near-useless college loans decimated our credit.

We work the miserable jobs because they keep our kids fed and keep us from being homeless. It’s not because we can’t find a direction. We want to shape civilization and build things for our fellow man and learn and contribute to society. Many of us are passionate and have dreams, SIMPLE dreams. We don’t want r8’s, we just want a job in our damn field, but all of the jobs are still taken up by baby boomers and gen-x’ers who find times just as tough as millennials but are too ashamed to admit it.

People who keep talking like you do are simply contributing to the mass ignorance in society that keeps the economy stagnant and is slowly pushing our country into a police state controlled by the over-privileged.

Call me bitter, call me jaded, tell me I need to “Find my Fire.” Catch phrases will certainly drive up blog traffic.


Maria May 19, 2015 at 11:41 am

old post…late reply but I completely agree with you. I live in Canada and the situation is just as bad…i did not go to a post secondary instituition because I have felt everything is pointless for a very long time…everything is about money. A year at college in the province I’m living in costs $8000/year.. now tell me who in their right mind is ever going to want to go to school with such fees?! I cannot go to school full time because I need a full time job to pay for rent and living expenses….and even if I do quit and work p/t you’re right, there are no jobs available. or if there are they pay pennies. So no you are not bitter or jaded you are calling it as you see it.
This whole thing sickens me.


MyName, MyBuiness, My Question. February 10, 2015 at 7:18 pm

I have zero motivation to get stuff done, 90% of the time.
On the other hand, I also have depression. I have traces of Aspergers Syndrome, and the Attention Deficit part of ADHD, plus IQ of 187. I am 12 years old, and I think from time to time, I snap. (Once a week….)
And my fire, it’s not the happy-go-lucky, fireplace hearth, or campfire sing a long kind of fire, my fire is more that hell-storm wildfire that kills millions, the cold black flames of death. The thing that gives me fire is my sister. But when I get mad at her, I tend to grab her shoulders and yell a lot. And normally, I’m the quiet one that doesn’t talk. Often, my hands end up slinking and slipping their stupid way up to her throat and neck, then I am shaking her by her neck, and it takes me a split second to stop, and I’m pissed, and then my mind, put in words, is like the Gloom from ‘The Cloak Society.” If you haven’t read it, it’s confusion, death, darkness, and chaos rolled into one. Then I sit curled in a dark room (typically the bathroom, in the bathtub. Don’t ask.) for an upwards of fourty five minutes, just kinda lying there. Breathing. Thinking chaos. Confused about everything. Crying.
I’m pretty certain it’s not healthy for your emotional state to be fluxuating from ‘Yeah, A-OK happy! Nobody can take me down!’ to ‘I feel like f**king sh*t.’ in five minutes. Yes, I am on medication. I am a girl, and nobody say anything about “Time of the month” I can give 100% guarantee it isn’t that.
I’m using this as the only place I feel safe to ask questions on stuff, where no one knows me, and no one asks for my name. Any help here, please? I haven’t said a word for the past three hours.


Raphael August 27, 2015 at 11:41 pm

I’m in a slump right now, so I found your article and… I like your thinking! My godmother gave me one advice that struck me more than all the others: start listening to your heart and less with your head. At the time (I was about 15 or 16), I was constantly second-guessing everything and hesitated. I thought that was dumb at first but damn! She couldn’t have been more right. I wanted to be a musician for most of my life and followed her advice. I’ve never regretted it though the paycheck never came in and most of my mom’s family looked me down for it. I’ve came to realize I was doing it for the wrong reasons (getting praised was fun but would fade after 2 or 3 days before I totally forgot about it) and felt much happier helping people with whatever they struggled with. I ditched friends who just sat on their a** and bitched about their full-time jobs without doing anything to change things for the better and met people who, like me, wanted to make their goals a reality. Life feels much lighter now. I still do music and still don’t know exactly what I want to do with my life but I try to experience as much as possible in order to find out. Talking to the right people and doing side activities in your free time makes a HUGE difference… as long as you don’t just talk about it!


Ari March 31, 2016 at 4:46 pm

Aah, thank you for sharing your thoughts and many resources. I feel like I’m in a tight spot climbing out of this rut here. And I’m hoping the worksheets will loosen me up, even if just a little. Oh…


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