Why You Have No Motivation

Table of Contents

You’ve probably already seen lots of videos talking about how social media can create unrealistic expectations when it comes to beauty, material wealth, and even happiness, or how social media encourages endless procrastination, which comes at the cost of our motivation, but as I’m about to show you in this video, it’s so much worse than that.

It may seem like we’re just innocently scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, but on a neurochemical level, what’s happening is that our motivation is being directed away from the long term rewards that we experience when we work hard, learn new abilities, or improve our health, and instead directed towards more consumption of social media.

If you consume social media in any amount, and you struggle with motivation, this video will make it clear why that’s happening by covering the 3 main reasons.

Considering who I am today, it’s crazy to think that there was a time, many moons ago, where developing a habit of fitness or really any positive habit for that matter, was something that I always failed at, these days, it’s the complete opposite, I’m able to create positive habits effortlessly, which is why, as you guys can see through this channel, I have a lot of them.

I’m going to assume that you’re trying to get to that same place as well, where the creation of positive habits goes from difficult, to effortless, so in this post, I’m going to show you my exact process, let’s begin.

Step 1: Start with self-image​

In the past, whenever I tried to develop positive habits, I’d essentially see myself as some sort of pathetic newbie who was probably going to fail within the context of whatever habit I was trying to develop, for example, when I first tried to establish a gym habit, I saw myself as a newbie who was just trying to go to the gym, then, the more times that I failed to create the habit, the more proof I had that I was going to fail, does that make sense?

As Maxwell Maltz describes in “Psycho Cybernetics”

“The man who conceives himself to be a ‘failure-type person’ will find some way to fail”

So if we start going to the gym, but our self-image is that of someone who always fails at getting habits to stick, then whenever we inevitably miss a day, we’re essentially confirming the “failure-type” person that we see ourselves as, and this is how one missed day can easily turn into 2 days, 3 days, failure.

So now, whenever I create new habits, I instead see myself as the habit, I don’t see myself as someone who tries to go to the gym, I’m someone who goes to the gym, I don’t see myself as someone who tries to meditate, or who is learning to practice yoga, I meditate, and I do yoga.

If I miss a day, 2 days, even if I miss an entire week, it doesn’t matter because my habits are my self-image, a man who is what he does, and does what he desires.

If you’re someone that fails all the time, it’s because your idea of “who you are” is inconsistent with who you want to be, if you’re smart, you’ll pause the video and consider this for a few minutes, now be careful here because self-image is not positive thinking, self-image is the root, it’s how we see our self.

Thinking is a symptom of the root, “positive thinking” is when we envision a positive outcome for the things we task the self with doing, so if we think we can develop a habit, but our self-image is of someone who always fails, we’re going to fail.

We define what’s possible not in our thoughts, but in our self-image.

Step 2: Start small and build consistency

“we are what we repeatedly do”

“The man who conceives himself to be a ‘failure-type person’ will find some way to fail”

Consistency is literally the most underrated word within the world of self-development, and there’s actually a really simple trick that we can play on ourselves that make developing any habit really, really easy.

Aim for just 1 minute a day, whether it be developing the skill of meditation, journaling, cold showers, 1 minute.

Now here’s the trick, when we commit to just 1 minute, we remove most of the friction and what will most often happen, like 99% of the time, is that once we get started, that we’ll keep going for more than 1 minute.

I used to really struggle with writing for these videos because I saw them as these daunting, 15+ hour tasks, now, when it’s time to write, I trick myself by aiming to write for just one minute, and 99% of the time I end up in a flow state where I end up writing for hours.

With more involved habits like going to the gym, don’t even aim for 1 minute, instead, aim to put your clothes on and pack your gym bag, then go from there.

In the words of Alan Watts

“if you’re going to outwit the devil, it’s terribly important that you don’t give him any advance notice”.

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is a simple system designed to help you achieve a specific goal by facilitating the development of relevant habits and creating the perfect environment to make failure impossible.

This guide is about actually walking the path. It creates a perfect environment devoid of excuses and forces you to face who you are and what you need to do in a way that’s sustainable.

Step 3: Fall in love with the benefits​

The problem with a lot of habits early on is that they’re kind of painful, we don’t want to get out of bed early to go to the gym, it’s so hard to meditate without getting distracted, we suck at dancing and it will take weeks or months to see improvement.

It’s easier to sustain a positive habit than it is to start one, especially when we start getting compliments, feel more at peace during the day, or start busting out cool moves. So, how can we start to love a new habit in that critical stage where we’re just getting started but haven’t yet experienced positive results?

Simple, by visualizing the positive benefits before they happen.

Something that I used to do was to draw a line down a piece of paper and then list out every positive and negative that I could think of. To develop my gym habit, I remember starting with the obvious, be more attractive, have more energy, but then the pen took on a life of its own, live longer for my children, have a more impressive presence in business negotiations, by the time I was done I had listed over 100 positive benefits.

I now understand that doing this is an advanced form of visualization that allows us to simulate the benefits of something before we actually experience them.

Summary

Anyway guys, time for a quick summary.

Step 1: Start with self-image

If we see ourselves as someone who “fails” whenever we try to develop positive habits, we’re going to fail.

As Maxwell Maltz explains:

“Our self-image and our habits tend to go together. Change one and you will automatically change the other”.

Step 2: Start small and build consistency

Aim for just 1 minute a day, the smaller we make our goal, the more friction we remove, the easier it becomes to build consistency, consistency is critically important to be able to transform from someone who is trying to build a habit to someone who is that habit.

Step 3: Fall in love with the benefits

Early on, habits can feel tedious or painful to perform, because we’re not yet experiencing the positive benefits that bring with them motivation.

To help mitigate this, we should take some time to list out every positive benefit that we can think of, which is actually an advanced form of visualization.

Alright guys, subscriptions literally don’t mean anything, so if you want to develop the positive habit of getting notified first whenever I upload new videos, don’t just hit subscribe, but make sure to click the fucking bell icon.

If you want to see all of the positive habits I’ve developed – make sure to follow me on instagram @NelsonQuest.

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Lastly, if you have any unique strategies for developing positive habits, or want to share some habits you’re working on, please do so via the comments below.

This is the path, see you in the next post.

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Why You Have No Motivation

You’ve probably already seen lots of videos talking about how social media can create unrealistic  expectations when it comes to beauty, material wealth, and even happiness, or how social media encourages endless procrastination, which comes at the cost of our motivation, but as I’m about to show you in this video, it’s so much worse than that. 

It may seem like we’re just innocently scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, but on a neurochemical level,  what’s happening is that our motivation is being directed away from the long term rewards that we experience when we work hard, learn new abilities, or improve our health, and instead directed towards more consumption of social media. 

If you consume social media in any amount, and you struggle with motivation, this video will make it clear why that’s happening by covering the 3 main reasons.

And at the very end of the video, I’ll show you how I ‘m able to instead maintain extremely high levels of motivation with everything I do.

Let’s begin

1. Social media is a dopamine machine

If you struggle with any sort of motivation related issue, procrastination, drugs, sex or masturbation, if you feel more motivated towards those things than you do towards getting work done and improving yourselves, then you need to understand how dopamine works.

Dopamine is the neurochemical that our bodies release to motivate us towards the things that it believes are important for our survival. When we’re hungry, our brain releases dopamine to motivate us to go find food, if it didn’t, we would starve to death. Literally, when scientists stopped the release of dopamine in mice, it caused the mice to stop eating altogether, they just sat there, doing absolutely nothing. 

Now, here’s the problem: dopamine is a component in our reward system, which has hardly evolved since prehistoric times, meanwhile, technology, like social media, is evolving at an exponential rate.

For most of human history, social acceptance was a critical element of human survival, in case you haven’t noticed, humans are kind of lame, we can’t run particularly fast, we don’t have sharp fangs, if I fell off this stool I’d probably break something. These days, we can get away with being loners, but in prehistoric times, social acceptance was critical for survival, to have low standing within a tribe was bad, but to be kicked out of a tribe was basically a death sentence.

Everytime we engage social media this tribal dynamic is being played out, when we post something, the likes and comments we receive are interpreted by our prehistoric brains as validation of our position within the hierarchy of the tribe, which is why lots of likes make us feel great, while just a few likes makes us feel, not great. 

Everytime we leave a like or drop a comment, it’s because we feel a sense that we’re adding value to the relationship and reinforcing closeness, this also creates reciprocity, by liking other people’s posts, it’s been proven that we significantly increase the likelihood that they’ll like our posts in return. Social media spends hundreds of millions of dollars to understand all of this, so that it can hijack our dopamine system to motivate us to consume ever-more social media. 

This is why, for example, when we post something, everyone who follows us won’t see the post immediately, instead, social media throttles the number of people who see the post to spread engagement out over a 48+ hour period to get the maximum impact with respect to our reward system. It’s like an IV drip of small rewards that can quickly become the principal reward we feel motivation towards.

2. Social media is a supernormal stimuli

According to the book Supernormal Stimuli: How Primal Urges Overran Their Evolutionary Purpose by Diedre Barrett from Harvard University,

“Supernormal stimuli are any stimuli that elicit an instinctual reaction more strongly than does the stimulus for which the instinct evolved.

 

The essence of the supernormal stimulus is that the exaggerated imitation of an actual, natural instinct can exert a stronger pull than the real thing”

Porn is a supernormal stimuli of reproduction, junk food is a supernormal stimuli of real food, video games are supernormal stimuli of hunting, gathering, and socializing, and social media is a supernormal stimuli of tribes and tribal dynamics, everything we covered in the first section.

In prehistoric times, we competed in much smaller tribes, usually consisting of around 25 to 150 people, our digital “social media hierarchies” on the other hand, often consist of thousands of people, everyone from weird friends we haven’t talked to in 10 years, to celebrities and billionaires, often thousands of people. 

And the rule of any hierarchy, is that we are in competition with everyone in that hierarchy, competition means comparison, and whether we realize it or not, every single post we read or photo we consume, we’re actually comparing, if the difference is small, then we feel happy because that indicates that we have a good position, but if the difference is big, we feel unhappy, because this indicates that we have a low position, and the more unhappy we feel with respect to our position, the less motivated we feel to improve our position because we feel like the task is far too great for our ability, which brings us to point #3. 

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3. Social media vastly exceeds our cognitive threshold

British anthropologist Robin Dunbar observed that the brain size of primates had a significant correlation with how large their societies typically grew, by plugging in the numbers to correlate with the average brain size of humans, he came up with the number 150, Dunbar’s Number, the cognitive limit to the number of meaningful relationships one person can maintain.

 una persona puede mantener.

I go in depth about Dunbar’s Number in my  video  “Why I only have 150 friends on social media”.

But in summary, having more than 150 friends causes a cognitive overload that reduces our ability to operate optimally.

Social media often connects us to thousands of people, which is way beyond our cognitive threshold and severely impairs our ability to operate at optimal levels. Our Social Network is itself a hierarchy, and it’s probably the one that has the most influence within our lives, when it becomes too large or too varied, we feel less motivation to climb it because we feel overwhelmed by it, usually in the form of anxiety, or feeling that we’re lost or in a situation that’s hopeless because of how small and insignificant we feel when considered within the massive scale of our hierarchy. 

Social networks represent social interaction on a scale that we never evolved to manage efficiently or effectively.

Recap

So, to recap. 

For anyone looking to maximize motivation levels, you should limit not only your use of, but your access to, social media, as much as possible. 

Here’s a quick summary of the 3 reasons why:

1. Social media is a dopamine machine.

Our brain perceives using social media as a necessary act of survival, and so releases dopamine to motivate us to continue using it, every single thing that we do on social media, from merely viewing photos to giving and receiving likes produces a small ‘reward hit’ that over time, is like being hooked up to an IV drip. 

The longer we stay on the drip, the more our body rewires our brain to direct our dopamine to consume more social media, which is why we have less motivation for everything else.

2. Social media is a form of supernormal stimuli.

Social media is a supernormal stimuli of tribal dynamics, prehistoric tribes were very small, while social media puts us into tribes of thousands of people. 

With every single post we read or photo we view – we compare ourselves – and a lot of what causes us to scroll endlessly through instagram is actually a subconscious compulsion to understand our position within the tribe.

3. Social media defies dunbar’s number

Dunbar’s Number explains that humans have the cognitive capacity to maintain relationships with a maximum of 150 people, while social media often connects us to thousands of people, which is way beyond our cognitive threshold and severely impair our ability to operate at optimal levels. 

Our Social Network is itself a hierarchy, and it’s probably the one that has the most influence within our lives, when it becomes too large or too varied, we feel less motivation to climb it because we feel overwhelmed by it.

Hey guys, so in my case, social media is still a very tricky thing for me to manage, I only really use Instagram, where I’ve reduced the size of my digital hierarchy from thousands of people, to now only following 150, if I want to share a post or a story I’ll usually just send it to Sebastian, who I hired to manage all of my social stuff, and broadly speaking, I keep instagram uninstalled on my phone, and only install it if I really want to post something myself, or respond to comments. 

Making these videos on dopamine and reading as many studies and scientific literature as I have at this point has given me an amazing understanding of dopamine and how it ties into our motivation systems, knowing what I know, when I feel lack of motivation, I now that it’s not because I’m lazy, no human is inherently lazy, there is always a cause, and for our generation, the cause is almost always social media. 

When I feel lack of motivation, I figure out what’s syphoning away my motivation and I completely restrict my access to it, While at the same time forcing myself to sit down and do productive work, within a few hours I almost always feel more energy and motivation, after a full day I feel like a new man. 

If you have any issues with motivation, learn everything you can about dopamine, there are lots of videos on this channel to help you there

If you want to check out a productivity system that will completely realign your dopaminergic systems, check out Dark Mode.

You can follow me out on instagram  @NelsonQuest,  we are really picking up steam there. I’m almost at at the level of a moderately attractive female but still well below that 100k celebrity status mark that I need to feel validation within my hierarchy.

This is the path.

I’ll see you guys in the next post. 

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