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Imagine the situation when you stuck with your everyday duties: you have a clear ultimate goal for this week/year/life, but the initial motivation you had when a project started is totally used up. In this case, I usually start looking for something that can inspire me, like Job's speech at Stanford or Forrest Gump movie (or just a phrase said by somebody famous). But it solves the problem only for some time: I need to search inspiration again and again. Do you guys know any infinite sources of motivation so the searching process isn't time consuming?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Meeting people who have similar goals. Or just meeting people who have goals.

People are like monkeys, they instinctively copy each other. We instinctively copy each other; that also includes you and me. The best way to make yourself do X is to surround yourself with people who do X. Then the instinctive desire to fit in the group will provide you a lot of motivation, and suddenly doing the right thing becomes hundred times easier. (If you get surrounded by wrong people, wrong things become easier too. That's how many people learn smoking.)

Your examples - reading a motivational speech - also work on this principle. But if you are lucky to find real humans physically near you, it's even stronger, because it feels more real.

The essence is to remind yourself that other people do what you want to do. If they don't do exactly the same thing (e.g. "learn Japanese"), then at least they do the same thing on some abstract level (e.g. "learn" or "work hard" or "self-improve"). Imagine these people as your friends, as your neighbors, as your tribe.

(On the Dark Side, this is how advertising works. The goal is to convince you that other people are buying the product, so you become motivated buy it too, because you want to fit in the tribe.)

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"RSA Animate - Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us" notes the ideas of Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose that would be one idea for how to find inspiration to get back on the horse after things have gone off course.

A second idea would be to consider are your top values and how does your current work fit or conflict with those values. For example, if you are at a point in a project where you feel like you have to lie yet honesty is one of your top values this could give you a feeling of being stuck and not wanting to move.

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Ask yourself, what did Steve Jobs have that kept him moving for years and years. When out of Apple he immediately had a firm plan.He wanted to prove a point that he is not finished. He kept trying and secondly Steve jobs did not need any time to time inspiration. His secret was that he really wanted to do what he was doing.

Find some thing very inspiring but ofcourse realistic that make you cry and do that. Don't think for a moment that it can't be achieved.

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I inspire myself by reminding myself that from past experience I have learned that boring tasks start out as boring but then, in themselves, they lead me to something interesting (a discovery of an interesting idea or the need for an interesting sub-task). This makes it worthwhile and it never fails if I stick it out.

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