Zig Ziglar say something once that has stuck with me: The reason
motivation fades is that the world is full of demotivators. The
naysaying of friends, the problems that come up, the constant
distractions, the temptations to go off track, etc. And of course,
the worst demotivators of all are what we do in our own heads.
Alan Bean, one of the twelve astronauts
who walked on the moon, said he listened to motivational tapes
in his car on the way to his NASA training while he was preparing
for his space flight.
The Apollo astronauts were the most confident,
competent, healthy people on the planet. They had passed severe
physical and psychological tests to even qualify for the program,
and then were trained intensely. It might seem surprising that
Bean would listen to tapes to increase his motivation, but one
of the reasons he made it into the space program is that he knew
how to keep himself motivated and focused. Listening to motivational
material in the car is one very effective way to do that.
Most of us are aware that working toward
a big goal is where the fun is, but motivation doesnt seem
to last. People go to seminars and hear motivational speakers
and get excited about their goals and their life, but the motivation
and excitement fades. What we need is a way to stay motivated
not faking it, not forcing ourselves, but really feeling
motivated. Listening to motivational material does the trick.
Motivational books and tapes (and CDs and
MP3s) all basically say the same thing: Set goals, concentrate
your effort and attention, persist, and make good use of your
time. The most important thing they do is make you think about
what you want. They put your attention on your goal.
Motivational material often contains stories
of people overcoming obstacles to achieve their goals
obstacles much worse than the obstacles you face, and goals much
bigger than yours. The result is that you feel you can do it
if you apply yourself.
The most important thing you can do for
long term success is keep your attention on what you want. This
is difficult to do. You naturally think up other goals and you
naturally fixate your attention on what is in the way of what
you want. But motivational material makes it much easier to keep
your attention on what you want. Really, anything you do that
helps you stay motivated is good. Motivational material just
happens to be specially designed for it.
Your greatest achievements the things
youve done in your lifetime that mean the most to you
were difficult. The only reason you did them was that you were
That strong motivation wasnt a fluke.
It wasnt random. You dont have to wait for that kind
of motivation to descend on you at the whim of the gods. You
can nurture and cultivate and enhance and heighten your motivation
to an astonishing degree. And the most direct way to do it is
with motivational material.
A lot of people who become successful attribute
their persistence in the face of setbacks to motivational material.
Kay Ash of the Mary Kay cosmetics empire told Zig Ziglar she
would never get into her car without a cassette she could listen
to while she was driving.
H.L. Hunt, who was worth three billion
dollars by the end of his life, was a big fan of motivational
What Im saying is as simple as it
sounds. If youve ever thought, Im just not
very motivated, this message is especially for you. You
can be as motivated as you want to be. You have not yet explored
all the ways you can motivate yourself.
Saying, Im not very motivated
but I would like to be, is like saying, I'm not very
dry after a shower but I would like to be. If somebody
said that to you, your first response might be, Have you
tried toweling off? Because of course if a person wants
to towel off, it is obviously completely within their power to
do so. All they have to do is try.
Same with motivation. It is completely
within your power to be as motivated as you want to be. But of
course you have to try.
Just for a little extra motivation to listen
to audiobooks while you drive, a study by the University of Southern
California found that if you live in a city and drive 12,000
miles a year, you can get the equivalent of a two-year college
education every three years by listening to audiobooks while
One thing they didnt study is that
the listeners are likely to experience less stress or frustration
than nonlisteners. Why? Because the listeners are doing something
they want to do rather than feeling helpless and frustrated about
being stuck in traffic and unable to do what they want to be
Its easier to learn something really
well when you listen to books in your car because youre
more likely to listen to a book several times than you are to
read a book several times, and repetition is the key to retaining
information. (Even so, reading books is a good use of your time
too. Read 26 reasons why this is so.)
In a study on memory, researchers found
that when people listened to information theyd never heard
before, two weeks later they could only remember two percent
of it. But if they listened to it on six consecutive days, they
remembered sixty-two percent of it two weeks later. Repeated
listening is an effective way to learn.
Johnson, one of the co-founders of Holiday Inns International,
even at eighty years old, still listened to motivational material
every day. He was one of the first to do so. Back before they
had books recorded by professional readers, he had one of his
employees read nonfiction books onto tapes for him.
The reason many people dont
succeed or are unhappy, wrote Johnson, is that they
have sour, negative, resentful attitudes. In his speeches,
he always tried to emphasize what he believed was the most important
thing in life: the development of the proper attitude.
One good way to develop a better attitude
is to listen to motivational material in your car.
Motivation fades only if you stop motivating
yourself. You cant get motivated once and expect it to
last a lifetime. That would be like being nice to your spouse
once and expecting your marriage to be blissful for the rest
of your life. It doesnt work that way. It would be like
trying to exercise once and being disappointed you dont
stay in shape. It would be like watering a plant once and wondering
why it eventually wilted. You get the idea.
Whether or not you stay motivated is up
to you, and it requires as much work as any other
worthwhile state youre trying to maintain a state
of harmony between you and your mate, a state of health for your
body, a state of ease in your life. They all require sustained
action to maintain.
The good news is that it isnt really
work because the benefits so far outweigh the cost
in terms of effort. You get immediate rewards for your effort
to stay motivated: You get to feel motivated, and thats
a wonderful way to go through the day.
The content of your mind determines whether
you feel motivated or not, and listening to motivational material
is an excellent form of training for what to say to yourself.
Recordings of good motivational speakers
can help you learn how to stay motivated and focused on your
purposes. For example, when I was going from bookstore to bookstore
to convince them to carry my book, I listened to a tape on selling
that said, it doesnt matter whether this customer
buys anything. It is the process of going out and calling on
people that does the trick. Any particular call is unimportant.
I used that motivational material in my self-coaching when I
was visiting bookstores. Instead of getting anxious about this
bookstore and whether or not theyd say yes, instead of
feeling depressed if they said no, I relaxed and reminded myself
it is the process of going to bookstores that works, regardless
of what this bookstore did.
Listen to motivational material for an
infusion of motivation, focus, and a reminder of principles.
Listen to motivational material enough and certain phrases will
become memorized, coming back to you when you need to hear them.
Motivation is nothing to take lightly.
The outcome of your goals depends almost entirely on how motivated
you are. Here are some motivational programs I recommend:
The Science of Personal Achievement:
The 17 Universal Principles of Success
by Napoleon Hill
The Psychology of Achievement by Brian Tracy
Lead The Field by Earl Nightingale
Goals: Setting And Achieving
Them On Schedule by Zig Ziglar
The Psychology of Winning by Denis Waitley
Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz and Dan Kennedy
They all basically say the same thing:
Choose good goals, stay focused on them, imagine the way you
want things to go, take plenty of action, and talk to yourself
in a way that maintains a strong feeling of motivation and confidence.
You cant hear this enough!
Some give bonus tips. But more important
than the information they give you is that while youre
listening, youre thinking about your goal. That is the
most motivating thing you can do. And they tell you stories about
people who overcame setbacks. That helps prevent you from becoming
demoralized by your own setbacks.
It doesnt matter that they all say
basically the same thing. After listening ten times, you might
not want to hear it again. But if you want to keep motivating
yourself, you can listen to a book by a different author and
even though he may say roughly the same thing, its a different
voice and hes saying it in a different way using different
illustrations, so youll really listen. And it will re-motivate
you because it makes you think about your goal.
The fact that many of us spend a considerable
amount of time driving alone can be a wonderful opportunity to
increase your knowledge and keep yourself motivated. Dont
waste this valuable opportunity.
The content of your mind in the present
is all-important. Listening to motivational material is a very
easy and direct way to control the contents of your mind in the
This is the fifth of seven principles of