Natural vs. Traditional Motivation

Natural vs. Traditional Motivation

Have you ever heard the motivation expression, “Eat that Frog”?

It’s been attributed to Mark Twain.  As in:

“Eat a live frog every morning and nothing worse will happen the rest of the day.”

The idea of course, and one that I’ve followed myself until recently, is that by getting your hardest task done first, you’ll be so excited that you’ll be more productive all day.  It sounds good in theory, but…

I don’t know about you, but I find a few problems with the Eat That Frog theory of motivation.  First, honestly, if I eat a frog in the morning, I’m going back to bed.

Sometimes a task is so unpleasant that we may need to build up the energy to accomplish it throughout our day.  If I use whatever energy I have available first thing in the morning to get something so objectionable done, I may not have much left for the rest of the day.

So, in fact, the act of doing the hardest thing first may actually be de-motivating.

Build Your EnergyThere’s also the feeling of negative anticipation associated with doing something that we dread doing.  It could interfere with our sleep the night before, cause us to unconsciously hit the snooze button a few extra times, or sleep through the alarm completely.

Wouldn’t you rather be looking forward to your day rather than worrying about it?

Let’s look at a basic law of physics: All change requires energy. No matter what the change is…losing 10 pounds, building your business, writing a novel…it all requires some form of energy.

With that in mind, I suggest a natural form of motivation would build your energy throughout the day, rather than deplete it.  Begin with tasks that you can accomplish quickly and easily and take that quick dopamine shot and burst of energy.

Your next task might be a bit more challenging, but you’re already feeling a little better than when you began so you’re ready to handle that one and…boom...another burst of energy comes your way.  As you move through your day in this fashion, you can take on progressively more challenging tasks as your energy continues to rise.

Design your days in this manner and watch how much you get done without struggle.  Energy, not will power, is the key to sustainable motivation.


Dr. Fred BlumDr. Fred Blum is a performance coach and trainer, based in Austin, TX.  His work focuses on helping high performing clients find the inner resources they need to create powerful results in the world while cultivating balance of body, mind & spirit.  Learn more at www.EnergyRichLiving.com or call 512-584-9075.

Contact us