The Motivation Hacker

Author: Nick Winter

Motivation is fuel for life.

Motivation hacking is the process of figuring out what you want to be more excited about, then coming up with strategies for manipulating the terms in this equation. Motivation is what you always want more of: fire, energy, excitement! It’s that which drives you to act, to achieve your goals.

The biggest hack a motivation hacker can perform is to build her confidence to the size of a volcano. An oversized eruption of Expectancy can incinerate all obstacles in the path to any goal when you combine it with good planning.

The motivation hacker learns to steer his life towards higher Value and to have fun demolishing boring necessities in his way.

The more willpower you exert, the less you’ll have that day with which to resist further temptations, but the more you’ll have in the future as your will strengthens.

will is simply the process of making personal rules for ourselves that will help us reach our goals, and how much willpower we can muster is precisely how good we are at setting up these personal rules so that the we always prefer to keep our rules than to break them. This is a learnable skill.

When you think you might not be able to accomplish a goal, then motivation suffers.

And with a little planning and a lot of motivation, you can climb as high as you want.

To start building your success spirals, first make a tiny, achievable goal that you can’t forget to do.

The important part is to never weasel out of doing what you said you’d do.

worked for me was to focus on input-based process goals (write for five minutes) rather than output-based results goals (write one page), and to keep the required inputs minuscule at first.

Starting tiny, tracking success, and slowly strengthening the habit of building habits: this is how you tend your success spirals.

When I find myself wasting time, I increase the difficulty by adding more pursuits.

Investor John Templeton once said, “The four most expensive words in the English language are, ‘This time it’s different.’”

To precommit is to choose now to limit your options later, preventing yourself from making the wrong choice in the face of temptation. Publicly announcing your goal is a common form of precommitment.

Beeminder is a web service which lets you set arbitrary process-based goals and then holds you to them with all the reasonableness and firmness of your best friend who wants to see you succeed but won’t take any more of your crap.

Rejection Therapy is an exercise designed to get you over this useless fear. It

My second-favorite quote comes from the poet Carl Sandburg: “Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful, lest you let other people spend it for you.”

but at least you have feedback mechanisms like boredom, stress, and depression to tell you when you’re living your life wrong.

1.  Imagine your ideal day. What do you do? Whom do you talk to? Where do you go? Then pick a few goals that will bring your days closer to this ideal. 2.  Make a list of every crazy goal you can think of. Then rate each goal on three factors: how much the goal excites you, from one to ten; your probability of success if you tried as hard as you could; and how long it would take in hours[61]. Then sort the goals by excitement times probability of success divided by time required and pick some of the most efficient goals. 3.  Imagine that you’re another person, more competent than yourself, who was just dropped into your current life at this moment, without any of your current obligations but with all of your current predicaments. Forget everything that

Use Piers Steel’s slightly improved CSI Approach. Your goals should be Challenging (if they’re not exciting, they won’t provide Value); Specific (abstract goals can leave you vulnerable to Impulsiveness, since it’s not clear what you need to do); Immediate (avoid long-Delayed goals in favor of ones you can start now and finish soon), and Approach-oriented. (As opposed to avoidance goals, where you try not to do something, you should instead reframe it positively as an attempt to do something—it just feels better.)

Don’t do things to win the respect of people you don’t know.

A sure way to kill motivation is to water down the challenge.

The goals you choose should do the same: they should drench you in Value and then ignite you.

don’t leave yourself any safe ways to fail, and you’ll be more confident of success.

don’t worry about winning, just ensure that you’ll keep going.

the larger the challenge, the better.

Do your own thing, not someone else’s.

Enjoying something is part of doing it well.

Merge your goals into the lifestyle that you want to lead.

To ensure focus, optimize your energy levels.

trade tasks with someone and you can both get great deals.

Steve Jobs said that you should stay hungry[80] in order to do great things. If your life is full, you won’t have the same drive as a desperate man.

For motivational highs, kill delay: look for ways to do something amazing right away.

Motivation hackers can learn anything.

Learning should make you smile, not clench your teeth.

This is a good strategy for learning many things: 1.  Get excited about a skill. 2.  While you’re excited, make time and hack up motivation to practice it. 3.  Learn how to practice it from reading or from a teacher. 4.  Start doing it right away.

If you want to save money, you should track your spending. If you want to get stronger, it helps to track your workout performance. And if you want to improve your motivation, your focus, your happiness, or your productivity, then you should measure those things, because otherwise you won’t know what’s working.

Plan for the worst and hope for the best. Start your success spirals small enough so that you’re guaranteed to win, even if everything goes wrong.

Burnt Ships. A specific form of precommitment where you disable, remove, or destroy a distraction or temptation.

I opened this book with a quote from Walter Pater’s The Renaissance[152]: “To burn always with this hard, gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life.” He is speaking of chasing passions and being present in every moment.[153] One cannot design a perfect life and then stop, for to treat any two moments alike is to live less.

Happy Reading 💚

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The Motivation Hacker

Image Credits to Denise Chan


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