How You Can Summon Motivation When You Need It

Motivation is defined as “the act or process of giving someone a reason for doing something”. I have come to define motivation as a mental strategy that you can use to perform the tasks you need to get the job done. The problem with most of us is that our motivation is low when we need it most. This article will discuss the two different types of motivated people, how to create a strategy to tap into motivation when it is needed and discuss how values and beliefs affect our motivation and how we can increase our motivation with aligning our actions with our values. Please allow me to use my successes and failures as examples throughout the article to illustrate how you can incorporate the strategy into your life.

The two types of motivated people are the ones who move away from pain or the ones who move towards pleasure. The direction of your motivation is either towards what you want or away from what you don’t want. It is extremely important to find out what type you fall into. I don’t think either strategy is positive or negative, although I would always prefer to move towards what I want and towards whatever brings me joy.

Unfortunately, I fell into the away from pain type. My success in real estate came from moving away from pain. I was dreading the thought of going to work, being stuck in an unfulfilling occupation, not generating enough income and most importantly not living up to my expectations. That is a huge amount of pain. This pain only fueled my desire to seek change and growth. I unknowingly utilized this pain to propel me towards a massive amount of motivation and success.

I did lose my motivation early on. This type of motivation can be cyclical and it can run hot and cold. At one point, I was reassessing my situation and that desire of change was dwindling. My motivation of moving away from pain was rekindled when I stumbled upon an even larger amount of pain. As you move away from the problem, your motivation drops, and as the problem arises, the motivation kicks back in.

Let me show you how this played out in my life. I purchased my first investment property back in 2002, and followed it up with another investment in 2006. I had no strategy, just the notion that real estate was a “good investment”. I had very little success with these investments. Then, 2008 came and the world was changed forever (at least for me). I began to reassess my life and my goals. When I finally decided to invest in real estate and tapped into my move away from motivation, my results exploded. I was able to focus on why I was investing and I was able to purchase 674 units in only three years.

Did I become a better investor? Was I lucky? I attribute my success to the motivation strategy of moving away from the current pain I was experiencing, and I was convinced real estate was the answer. Looking back, I had no idea I was utilizing this strategy. I want you to be conscious of your choices, and if utilizing this strategy will give you the kick in the butt you need, then go for it! People who utilize this strategy are problem solvers. My partner Jake is the perfect example. He is the epitome of MIH (make it happen), and is constantly looking to solve problems and move to the next job.



There is one more problem that people may encounter when using the motivation of moving away from pain. The person may procrastinate and wait a long period of time before taking action. That may lead to a buildup of stress and fear and will inevitably lead to affecting the person’s health. In my case, I was fortunate because I was intent on taking immediate action.

Recently, I have tried to tap into moving towards pleasure more frequently. It is empowering to move towards what you want. When you move towards pleasure, you move towards your goals, towards achievement! People who utilize this strategy are big picture people. You will hear them utter “My goal is to create wealth or to strive for a healthy lifestyle”.

The successful manager uses these strategies to motivate his employees. The manager first has to identify what type of strategy is appropriate for the employee. If the employee responds to moving away from pain, then the manager may be resigned to using threats and pressure for the employee to respond. On the other hand, if the employee responds to moving towards pleasure, a bonus, an award or simple praise for a good job just may be the trick for this employee.

The move away from pain employee will respond less favorably to a bonus. His motivation is not to be reprimanded, and if the manager comes in yelling and screaming, he will fly into action. He will complete the tasks in order NOT to get yelled at.

In order to follow through with action, you need to align your action with your values. Ask yourself these four questions:

  • What are my goals
  • What is important to me
  • What is the value I treasure in this goal
  • What meaning does this hold for me

Values play a key role in motivation. They determine what we move towards or away from. If we don’t’ live up to our values in life, we will experience disappointment. All of our goals, dreams and desires comprise our values. If we have strongly held values, then we will have a strong level of motivation. But if our values are weak, then motivation will wane. Identify your important values and become focused on pursuing them.


Go back to a period in your life when motivation was abundant. How were you sustaining this motivation? Were you running away from pain (like me), or were you moving towards a pleasurable situation. Once you realize what strategy works, employ that strategy towards a current situation in your life.

Begin to list all the values in your life by answering the four questions. Values make up the meaning that life holds for us! I know, it’s hard work, but you will begin to achieve a level of clarity in your life and you will have a reason why you are striving for a goal. In the end, you want to spend time on what you strive to achieve. It will also supply the rocket fuel (motivation) to work towards the attainment of that goal!

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