A lot of us want to be “motivated” (Latin means, ‘to move’). Some of us are self-motivated, and some of us lack motivation (the energy necessary to work, or act).
In this essay, I want to share some practical ideas on how you can self-motivate yourself.
Mens agitat molem
My best friend Virgil is probably my favorite “hype man”. His sayings in the Aenid are epic.
One of my favorite sayings of his is:
“Mens agitat molem.”
“Mind moves matter.”
The interesting thing is the word ‘agitat’ — which looks like “agitate” in English.
But this is where things get fun — if you are a chemist, you need to “agitate” a chemical, for it to react.
So perhaps as humans, we need to be shaken up a bit in order for us to act, and do stuff!
You must act!
Taking it back to the idea of ‘mind moves matter’ — I love this idea for this reason:
It ain’t enough to just have ideas (in your mind). We must put these ideas into action into the real world (moving physical matter in the real world).
Now what is “matter”, or “physical matter”? I don’t want to get too nerdy or meta-physical with this concept. To me, it doesn’t matter if the information-ideas-art is digital or analogue. For example, to me, digital photos are as
‘real’ as film photos, or printed photos. To me, digital text is as ‘real’ as print in a physical book.
At this point, it doesn’t matter if something has physical atoms or not. To me, information, ideas, and art can just be electrical impulses, or 1’s and 0’s in binary code in some machine.
Anyways, as an artist, it is your duty to put your ideas into motion — to actually create stuff (opus, ‘work’).
What motivates ERIC KIM?
Okay, I cannot speak for you, but I can speak for myself.
This is what motivates me:
1. Let your ego drive you
First of all, I think having a strong ego is a good thing. To be ‘ego-centric’ doesn’t mean you are evil or going to hell.
My suggestion is this:
Channel your ego in a postive way, to help empower others and society.
So for example, I judge others sincerely and without compromise. I think anyone and everyone can live their lives however they desire, as long as they aren’t being intolerant to others or harming anyone else. From a philosophical-government perspective, I am a bit of a ‘liberal libertarian’.
Anyways, as an artist, you must have the ego to tell yourself:
What I do and create is important, and I like it!
To become the best artist, you must give yourself self-importance. You cannot be a slave to the opinions of others. Don’t ask others whether your art-work is important or not. Instead, you must declare to yourself:
I am great, and I make great stuff. And it is my duty to share this artwork with others.
2. Love of humanity
This is also a very simple thing, but ask yourself:
“Do you love humanity?”
Most people would say ‘yes’ — but I know some people who say silly things like, “I hate people” or “I hate humans.”
Honestly, what people mean to say is this:
“I hate annoying people whose opinions contradict mine.”
As humans, we love other humans. We generally love our friends, family, and local communities.
But I would say this — if you want more motivation to create art, declare to yourself:
“I love humanity!”
Or on a more basic level,
“I love my local community, friends, and family.”
3. Can you empower at least 1 other human being?
For myself, I have a simple motivation which is the fire in my belly:
If I could create something that empowers at least 1 other human being on planet earth, it is worth doing.
I think as humans, we are most motivated to do things and create things, if we know we can be useful to our fellow human-beings (either present-day, or the future of humanity).
I think one of the best ways to stimulate yourself to do stuff is to stimulate yourself. Use audio, visual, or sunlight, whatever stimulates you in a positive way. Drink coffee, tea, go for walks in the sun, listen to music, or anything which puts you in the zone.
I have nothing against weed or marijuana, but I think this is the biggest problem:
Weed de-motivates you.
When I was in middle school and high school, a lot of my buddies were hooked on weed. I never touched the stuff until I experimented when I was 28 years old. Even now, I don’t have anything against weed; but the problem I noticed is this:
When you smoke weed, you get lazy, and you don’t really want to do anything — you don’t want to move.
Now I know some people (like rappers I admire, such as Cyhi Da Prynce) who use weed to remove his inhibitions, which helps him come up with good rhyme schemes. In this sense, I think weed is good. But ultimately just know yourself:
Does this drug help motivate you, act, or do stuff? Or does it make you passive and lazy?
I think the problem is a lot of media and stuff in the world de-motivates us, and sedates us. I write a bit more about this in my essay, ‘Nation of Sedation.’
5. Benefit others (and yourself)
Ultimately, life ain’t about just being productive and making stuff all the time. To me, life is about empowering humanity (present-day people, or future generations of people). I think the best way to live our lives is to do stuff that we enjoy, which also helps and benefits others (shout out to Elon Musk).
Conclusion: Tips to self-motivate yourself
- Identify your strengths (your ‘Archimedes lever‘ in life), and focus on that. Exploit your strengths, and maximize it. For example, I best help others in society via blogging, and thus I focus on it.
- Never desire to be anyone else. Never seek to have the strengths of others. Instead, figure out what your strength is, and figure out how to best leverage your own strengths.
- Subtract distractions or the superfluous which distracts you from your life’s mission.
- Determine what your life mission is, and don’t waver!
Never stop hustling,