In 2018 I made progress on some lifelong goals. I’ve started this blog, written a book, started rock climbing regularly, saved thousands of dollars a month, and I made it to intermediate Mandarin. In the summer I rode my bike to work, and for the bulk of the year, I’ve been giving 5% of my gross income to charity. My relationships with my family are stronger than ever. I even started a little Facebook group called “Ethical Sales Managers, Internet Managers, and BDC,” which is slowly growing.
If you told me when I was graduating university in 2012 that I would have a year like 2018… I wouldn’t have believed you. I mean, Mandarin? Are you crazy?
The fact is, even with that list of personal goals, internally I am still growing and yearning for more. For much of the year, I have been plagued again with video game addiction. I’ve slowly added a bit of fat around the love handles from being a bit too liberal with my snack choices. The blog, designed to be a launching pad for a consulting and coaching business, is only making $200 per month.
I did feel like I “cracked the code” a bit in 2018 for addressing “How to Overcome Laziness and Lack of Motivation” and I figured I could write about what worked for me. I’m very much still a work in progress, but this is how I took the steps I took this year. This article will dive into what I learned while working on each of my 2018 resolutions.
I’ve been learning Mandarin for two years now, and it’s not nearly as hard as people make it out to be. There have been a few thoughts that have helped me so far.
First, and most importantly, was my mindset going in. Two years ago I had this lofty idea that “learning Mandarin” would be a cool thing to accomplish, especially since my girlfriend’s family all speaks it. After a little bit of research, I found out just how hard people think it is.
The reasons I read online about not being able to learn it centered around the fact that it is a “tonal” language and that it lacks a Latin alphabet. Also, when an English speaker learns Spanish, there are a few freebies (“computadora” for example). In Mandarin, there are no freebies (电脑 is the word computer, pronounced “dian nao,” which roughly translates to “electric brain”).
So my mindset wasn’t great going into my first class after reading all these excuses. I went straight to the teacher and shared my reluctance, and the conversation was pretty classic.
ANDREI: Ok, so I have a question. I’m 28 years old and I’ve never studied Mandarin before. Can I really learn Mandarin? I heard it’s really hard, almost impossible.
TEACHER: Well… it’s harder than Spanish. That being said, there are somewhere around a billion people that speak it. I’m sure you’re as smart as a few of them.
How to Overcome Laziness and Lack of Motivation: Avoid Negativity
The guy had a point. I put away my negativity and sat down.
This mindset is pretty useful. Consider car sales. There are plenty of people online that say that selling cars is a horrible job, one in which very few ever make any money. That’s just plain not true. Go to any car dealership, and you will find successful employees, many of whom earn six figures with no student loan debt. Others have done it, and with the help of some guidance, so can you.
This blog now has 200+ email subscribers, and the accompanying Facebook group has 40+ members. We are in the ninth or tenth month I think at this point. The blog gets 2000-3000 unique visitors a month with many readers spending quite a bit of time here. Overall I’m happy with the growth that I’ve had, and I’ve learned tons cranking out this content.
If I had to pick the most “teachable” thing I’ve learned, it would have to be the patient mindset.
Successful and profitable blogging has been a “halo” goal of mine for years. The idea of combining writing, something I’ve always loved, with making a living, is too enticing to ignore. I’ve read about successful online entrepreneurs for years, but it took a bit of convincing for me to take the plunge into trying it for myself.
I’ve noticed that when getting started I perform best with a class (regardless of the personal goal), so I ended up using FIMP (Free Internet Marketing Project). Ian over at FIMP had around ten hours of free training that I watched through, which set me off on the right foot. I was pretty obsessed in the first month or two, inspired by what Ian talks about. He really “sells the attainable dream” in an approachable way.
Once I had a bit of a basis in understanding how to go about this blogging enterprise, I got to work, writing content. Since I have been in Automotive for over six years, I had plenty to talk about. I had been thinking critically about this business for years without an outlet, which I think was a great place to start.
How to Overcome Laziness and Lack of Motivation: Patience
Blogging, as my side business, is slow going. It’s a labor of love, one that takes a long time to scale to reasonable profitability. Anyone that sells you the “overnight success” story is just making shit up- I can tell you that honestly from the trenches. I figure that if you break down my hourly rate on this project, I would be making an average of a dollar an hour.
So why do it? The easy answer is- I’m just not there yet. One day I will make more. Matthew McConaughey, that weird actor dude, once said that “my hero is myself, in ten years.” Although that still sounds a bit odd, I like the sentiment. Right now I make $1/hour doing this blogging business, but six months ago I was losing money doing this. Now I have passed breaking even; I only have one way to go (up, hopefully)!
So patience is key. In blogging, in automotive, and life. It took me a while to figure that out.
Since I started work, I’ve wanted not to have to work. Not sure why. I think that I have a bit of the rebel in me deep down which makes me resent having a boss/schedule. Where that comes from, deep down, I haven’t figured out yet. As such, I’ve always had a keystone goal, independence. Whether that comes from old school financial independence or starting my own business, I don’t much care. As such, I’ve hedged my bets and started down both paths.
I’ve written about saving and my career mindset before- in my Dad’s favorite article of mine (thanks Dad!), Run Your Life Like a Business. In 2018, I saved a significant chunk of money, using the exact strategy I outlined in that article.
The word momentum embodies my key takeaway.
How to Overcome Laziness and Lack of Motivation: Momentum
Once I started saving, my outlook on money changed. Six years ago, when I started selling cars, I would keep a few hundred dollars a month. I got used to that, started making more money, and it was easy to transition to save a thousand a month. From there, a few thousand. As long as you keep making more money (because you get better at what you do), and don’t start buying a bunch of new shit, you will save money.
The mindset is so ingrained now that I have the opposite problem as most people, I have a tough time spending any money on myself. It causes me anguish to buy myself a new computer, for instance. Alas, there are no perfect answers. We are all only human!
So, try to build some momentum in your savings. Say “no” to new stuff sometimes. Learn how to buy used. It’s better for the environment anyway.
Writing a Book
I surprised myself with this one. The funny thing about writing a book is actually how “evolutionary” it is from blogging. If you are blogging regularly, you will eventually write enough content to warrant putting together a book. It just of happens. On this topic, I recommend two books; You Must Write a Book and On Writing. Those two books gave me the perspective, outlook, and motivation to get the thing done.
How to Overcome Laziness and Lack of Motivation: Little Steps
Writing a book isn’t that hard. It’s a polished, heavily edited string of blog posts (chapters). It’s funny to describe it in this way since books have so much more social significance in society than blogs, but that’s how it feels looking back.
If you want to write a book one day, start with a blog. I can’t imagine writing a book without having the practice that this blog provides.
It’s just writing, after all, something most of us learned before we were eighteen years old.
Charity is a lot like saving money. You start, and it gets more comfortable over time. I’ve found it to be a foundational element of my happiness now. I would have a hard time doing my job without giving back my 5% to charity. It would just be lacking.
Before 2018, Charity was something that you do once you made it. Once you become Bill Gates, then you give. Once you make your millions, then you cut off a slice for others.
Where this mindset came from, I’m not sure. Charity seemed to have all these pitfalls- what if I gave to an evil organization? What if they waste the money? Can I spare a percentage of my income every month?
How to Overcome Laziness and Lack of Motivation: Open to Change
Since I started mid-year 2018, I gave about eight grand to charity, which was 5% of my taxable income. After the first month, it just became a routine, and it fits into my budget just like rent. The great thing about percent based giving is that it scales. It never feels punishing, since if I have a slow month, I end up giving a bit less.
I think that Peter Singer’s logical steps are all that I needed to break through on this one and start doing it.
- First Premise: Suffering and death from lack of food, shelter and medical care are bad.
- Second Premise: If it is in your power to prevent something bad from happening, without sacrificing anything nearly as important, it is wrong not to do so.
- Third Premise: By donating to aid agencies, you can prevent suffering and death from lack of food, shelter and medical care, without sacrificing anything nearly as important.
- Conclusion: Therefore, if you do not donate to aid agencies, you are doing something wrong.
He is always a bit “heavy-handed,” but I understand that stems from his passion for the topic.
I think charity is good and I think that, if you can, you should. Whether or not you can or not depends on your income and your budget. If you want to talk about this topic in person, shoot me a message, and we can chat. I’m even happy to jump on a phone call if you want to talk that way- I’m passionate about this!
There have been a few great bonuses that have emerged from doing charity. The first bonus has been the process of giving the donations. Every month I have been able to dedicate my contributions. Tributes have been a great way to show my appreciation for some of the critical people in my life. It’s been a uniquely powerful way of keeping in contact with some of the most successful people in my extended network. When a multi-millionaire receives a card or a gift, I’m guessing that the gesture is appreciated and quickly forgotten. When they receive notice that someone made a charitable donation of $500-$1000 to a great charity in tribute to them, it seems to be special:
One of the above emails is from the former VP of a huge technology company; the other is from one of the most successful bloggers on the internet. Very few things break their mental filter they have to unsolicited messages, but these tribute donations work. It’s a great way to open a door or keep a door open. Especially sweet since I was determined to do the charity anyway!
I’m a skinny guy. I always have been. I’ve always wanted to look more… “The Rock-esque.” Huge muscles with giant biceps. To that end, I’ve spent plenty of time working at the gym, with months dedicated to eating 3000-4000 calories a day. Suffice to say it’s never got me anywhere.
Then I found indoor rock climbing. Here is a sport wherein the best athletes are skinny little vegans. I went from going to gyms where I am tiny to going to gyms where I am too heavy and need to lose some weight.
I’m not fantastic at rock climbing, but I do realize that it is a better fit for my body type.
How to Overcome Laziness and Lack of Motivation: Fit
The idea of fit applies to the association of you and the automotive industry. Although I think this is an industry with incredible opportunities, I don’t think it’s great for everyone. Just like how I’m not a great fit for a powerlifting gym, you may not be an excellent fit for automotive. Automotive is a career path where you need to be self-directed and sociable. It’s a dangerous career path if you need constant supervision and it’s a painful path if you don’t like working with customers. Automotive is high-end retail in a way that is similar to real estate. You need to make people love you, and your drive needs to come from deep down.
Just because I espouse the great parts on this blog doesn’t mean that automotive is a great fit for you. It’s ok to “call it” and pivot to a new career if you have exhausted yourself trying to make it work!
How to Overcome Laziness and Lack of Motivation
In 2018 I learned some valuable lessons. Mandarin taught me about mindset and blogging taught me patience. Saving money taught me about momentum and writing a book taught me about the little steps that add up to something more substantial. Charity taught me about being open to new ideas, and rock climbing taught me about lining up who you are with what you do.
I hope that 2019 holds as much wonder for you as 2018 did for me! The first step for how to overcome laziness and lack of motivation involves setting a goal. What’s yours?