Motivational advice tends to be dripping with positive happy sentiments and feel-good rah-rah which probably works for children and people who have a generally happy disposition all the time anyway.
But it’s not really cutting it for the people who need it the most.
The types of people who lack motivation and need to actually research into getting motivated and being successful are already pretty deep into an unfortunate headspace where an aphorism or a hundred hasn’t helped.
People lacking motivation are usually pretty smart. In my experience, they’re smarter than average, because a lack of motivation implies a kind of introspection that “fat dumb and happy” people simply can’t and don’t experience.
So if you know anyone who needs a motivational boost, just remind them that they are going to die fairly soon and then they don’t get to do the thing they had planned to do. They don’t get to do anything. They HAVE to do it now.
It’s not like this is a new idea.
Except it’s usually framed with the important happy stuff first, and then a quick little “because soon you’ll be dead,” or some other kind of hedging.
This works best, though, when the dead part is out on the front end.
You’re going to die. It’s going to come quick. This isn’t some motivational trick or some hypothetical. You, dead forever, no longer existing for one hundred, on thousand, ten thousand, ten million, plus an infinite time after, absolutely, 100%, will happen.
A huge chunk of your time alive is already gone, and you haven’t done what you wanted.
You could, very easily, die tomorrow. You probably won’t. So that’s good. But you will die pretty soon. It seems like it’s far away, but it’s not. Nobody ever feels like things are slowing down as they get older. It’s always quicker and quicker and then gone, in this form, from this life, forever.
And as of the current moment, you’re close to being gone forever without having done what you wanted to do. You’ve lived for nothing. You’ve existed for nothing.
Maybe you think that you can start it “tomorrow” except tomorrow is never going to be here. Literally and figuratively.
You are approaching death and need to do the important stuff, literally, right now.
Be You before there is no more “You” to “Be” Forever.
Practical Tip: When the person needing motivation reads this, a natural common response is to just kind of laugh it off, or shut down the thought of this, or get angry. All of that is an incredible and useful mental trick, largely instinctual, that happens in order to allow people to avoid any prolonged experience of the unfathomable infinity of a person’s own non-existence. The brain can’t process “infinite” and “nothingness,” so the dissonance of your brain trying to parse that Void is the most terrifying dread that a human can experience. So the brain does what it can to avoid that.
Don’t let your brain (or the brain of the person needing motivation) do that. Otherwise, this motivation doesn’t work at all.
Stick with the thought of the brute fact that being dead forever is a very real, imminent moment that will last for eternity. Don’t let the brain trick you away from the thought, because the brain is just doing what it’s built to do to survive. Stick with the thought until you have a moment where, just for the briefest interval, barely existent really, your mind brushes up against the horror of the thought of you dying, which, again, IS ABSOLUTELY going to happen. Then use THAT. There is NO better motivation.