15 ACTUALLY motivational lessons that are practical and useful

To anyone who knows me or is reading this. It’s obvious that I’ve got everything figured out.

jay leno success krusty clown simpsons

Oh, sure, I’ve got material success… my own show, acres of cars, a nice microwave oven.

If you can get the obscure reference, let me know in the comments.

Motivational posts, quotes and books are a dime a dozen. But my big problem is that they make me feel good for about 4 minutes.

Then I go back to playing Civilisation 6 and feeling like I need a kick up the ass.

“If I had someone keeping me motivated or accountable, I’d get so much done.”

“I just need to find the 3 golden rules of running a business, and then I’ll get so much done.”

“Once I get all my ducks in a row, I’ll commit to the plan.”

If you’ve ever said any of these things, you need to read this post.

Every time you’re unmotivated, depressed, pissed off or wondering if things are supposed to be this hard, read this post.

The problem is that when we read motivational posts, we think about them for a few seconds and then go back to our old ways. You can’t change an entire life with years of habits with a few soundbites.

Which is why I’ve collected the 15 lessons I’ve learned so far with running a business and finding “success”. I’ve also collected them into 15 posters and images for you to download and print out here.

I have 3 posters in front of my desk.

“You are interesting and people are excited to hear from you.”

“Smile, energy, have fun.”

“Does a $500 million company do this?”

Those 3 posters help keep me on track during my work days. They’re important to me and remind me of what’s best about me and my business. It’s part of an autosuggestion routine which builds my confidence and good habits.

Take a look at the lessons below and download all the lessons in a poster and image format for printing off.

1. Everyone else’s job is to keep score. Your job is to choose the game, play and win

universefuel motivation keep score

This was huge for me in 2017. Learning that all the letters, scowls, emails, notes, critiques and lessons I’ve learnt are all points.

Those points add up and make a score. At the moment, I’m losing.

But I also get to decide how long I play the game. Hell, I can even change the game if I need to.

No matter what, remember that everyone including your accountant, bank manger, loan officer, customers, partners, colleagues, competition, friends, family, loved ones, suppliers, mentors and advertisers are all keeping score.

But that isn’t your job. Your job is to choose the game, play and win.

To me, that’s really liberating knowing that everyone else is keeping track. It means I can focus on the game ahead and do what I need to win. If they want to expend energy keeping track, that’s fine. But I decide when I finish.

2. Rocks don’t break after the first hammer strike, but from the hundred before it

universefuel motivation lesson rock hammer

This is a bit more woo-woo. But stick with it.

Great progress isn’t made from 1 attempt. Nor is is made from the 100 attempts before it.

It’s about the collective work that builds into a result.

It’s about knowing that what you’re doing WILL make a difference. You just have to keep at it.

Breaking stone doesn’t happen after ONE strike or even after ninety-nine strikes. But it DOES break eventually.

It doesn’t mean that the first hundred strikes are useless. It’s about building to a result.

3. You have to decide what’s more important. Fear, or results.

universefuel motivation lesson fear results

When we’re faced with change, it’s really easy to get caught up in overthinking “but something could go wrong”.

“If you look at life like rolling a dice, then my situation now, as it stands – yeah, it may only be a 3. If I jack that in now, go for something bigger and better, yeah, I could easily roll a six – no problem, I could roll a 6… I could also roll a 1. OK? So, I think sometimes… Just leave the dice alone.”

Tim from The Office

You have to decide what’s more important to you.

Fear, or making money?

Fear, or living abroad?

Fear, or running a marathon?

Fear, or making a sale?

Everything you want is just on the other side of fear. Do yourself a favour and be brave. Don’t worry about failing or not reaching the goal. Your first hurdle is deciding if you value fear more than the result.

4. Nothing is stopping you from changing NOW

universefuel motivation lesson change

Your entire life is always ahead of you. This lesson or quote is always overused. But it’s absolutely true.

Every decision you make, from the second on, dictates how the rest of your life could play out.

I can talk with confidence that even AFTER falling off a bandwagon of addiction recovery, that you can still make a change for the better.

It’s not about how we fall down. It’s about how we get up.

Want to get in better shape? Start NOW?

Want to read more? Start NOW?

Manage your money better? Make more sales? Write more? Be around people more? Then do it NOW.

If that creeping doubt starts to set in – read lesson number 3. You have to decide what’s more important. Fear, or results.

5. You are allowed to be OBSESSED

universefuel motivation lesson

Grant Cardone gave me permission to be obsessed. #BOBA

I’m passing this permission onto you.

If you have a drive and serious need to fulfil something – do it.

My goals started falling into line, getting accomplished and new goals set after I allowed myself to be obsessed.

I am obsessed with helping people live a better life. I’m obsessed with selling marketing funnels. I’m obsessed with being everywhere and writing so much content that people can’t help but notice me.

Lot’s of people will tell you it’s unhealthy, a sickness or a disease. A psychological symptom or mental health problem.

It’s not. It’s a sign that THIS is what you should be doing.

You can either be obsessed or be average #BOBA

I don’t have space to write about the people that’ll hold you down, or tell you you’re wrong. But just spend a few minutes Googling your top 5 influencers and you’ll see that they are OBSESSED with something.

6. You’re allowed to find your old life, friends and goals boring and unrelatable

universefuel motivation lesson friends

Recently, I’ve been unmotivated. It almost looks like depression.

Many of my old friends, hobbies and lifestyle choices don’t entertain me or motivate me.

I honestly thought something was wrong with me until someone pointed out to me, that it just meant I had outgrown my old life.

The awesome part? My partner, Olivia and people who mattered wanted me to grow and do better.

I’ve left friends, changed goals, moved on from other hobbies and given up shit that just doesn’t matter anymore.

I am 100% positive that no one will be offended by this. Because the people I’ve disconnected with won’t read this post.

I have a support network around me that WANTS to see me grow. They’re growing and they want to do better. They celebrate success rather than moan about change.

You’re allowed to move on. Sometimes it IS difficult. But you have permission to grow.

7. Slow progress is still progress

universefuel motivation lesson progress

I often use the analogy of carving steps into a stone mountain.

At first, it’ll seem like you’re not making any progress. Other people will run up the side of the mountain. Smooth rock surfaces or gravel or slate all seem easy to climb at first.

People will sprint ahead and look like they’re beating you. They might even tell you and let others know (keeping score). But we’re going to keep carving steps out. We’re going to keep hammering that rock.

Eventually, quick solutions and changes in tactics won’t make a difference. They’ll slide down to the bottom, exhausted, and they’ll try something else. But you’ll keep carving out those steps.

You’re making deliberate, intended and practised progress. Your techniques and skills will improve and change. But the action will remain constant.

What’s AMAZING about this analogy, is that it eventually takes you less energy to climb the steps and reach the top of the mountain. Even better, you’ll allow everyone else to climb it if they need to.

All progress, is progress. Some people work longer hours or seem to achieve more in less time.

That’s got nothing to do with you. Your progress is your progress. Speaking of which…

8. The only person you should be comparing yourself too, is yesterday’s you

universefuel motivation lesson you

You have a chance every single day to be better than you were yesterday.

Don’t look at social media snapshots or highlight reels of other people’s lives. It’s horseshit and it isn’t healthy.

Focusing on you and being better than yesterday is what you need to focus on.

I’m giving you 100% permission to ignore everyone else’s seemingly brilliant life, and work on your own.

Be better than yesterday AND forgive yourself if you fall down.

It’s not about giving up if you don’t improve or fall down. It’s about trying to be better every day. You have a new chance to be better every day.

9. Any decision, no matter if you regret it or not, was what you wanted at the time

universefuel motivation lesson wanted

If you’ve ever looked back at a decision and thought “what was I thinking?!” Don’t.

At the time, that’s what you wanted. It was right for you AT THE TIME.

Drugs, money, sex, relationships, food, whatever. At the time, that’s what you wanted.

Don’t look back thinking “I wish I wanted something else”. It’s not going to happen.

Look back and understand that you wanted that then, but you don’t have to want that now.

10. Anything anyone says to you, is a reflection of themselves, not you

universefuel motivation lesson reflection

“You can’t do that”, “that’s not safe” or “how can you be like that?”

You’ll hear those a lot. And when you realise that anything, anyone ever says to you, is a reflection of THEMSELVES, you’ll start to listen less to those that don’t matter.

Fear, doubt, insecurities as well as energy, motivation, trust and faith are all characteristics that people have in themselves. It’s also what they have in others.

I believe that everyone on the planet is capable of doing what they need to achieve the life they want. No matter your goal, tasks or dreams, I know you can do it.

Which is why when people whisper (out of fear I’ll tell them they’re an idiot) their goals to me, I’ll 100% tell them they can do it.

They can do it because I believe I can do what I want. I’ve been proven wrong too many times when people say “you can’t do that”.

“Powered controlled flight is impossible”.

“We can’t ever land on the moon”.

“The computer will never truly take off”.

“No one needs a computer in their pocket”.

“No one will run a 4 minute mile”.

“You can’t run a sub 2 hour marathon”.

We can. You can. I can.

When people tell you what you can’t do, or shouldn’t do, it’s a reflection of their own belief in their abilities. Look for those that think you can.

11. Work/ life balance is for those who have a life they want to escape

universefuel motivation lesson work life balance

“It’s not all work Mike”.

“All work and no play…”

I don’t have to escape my life because I’ve built a life and business that I love.

I love travel, food, exercise, marketing, speaking, making money, sales, motivation, energy and marketing funnels.

So they’re in everything I do.

Don’t look for escape. Look to change what you do. If you hear doubts creep into your brain – see lesson 3.

12. It’s not always going to be energy and sunshine

universefuel motivation lesson sunshine

On that note. I love what I do and I love what I have.

But it’s not all heroic poses and good times.

We have arguments, difficult clients, money worries and confusion like anyone else.

But it’s the results and freedom that drive me. Hell, I can quit this anytime I want.

I don’t love every aspect of what I do. Sometimes it’ sucks. But I do love the results.

Most of the time, we don’t even love the result. Which is probably a bigger problem than the thing you’re solving.

It’s not all sunshine, energy and smiles. It’s hard work. But it’s better than a job.

13. Success is not a commodity

universefuel motivation lesson success

I’ve written about this before.

Your success does not take success away from others.

Someone else achieving success does not mean there is less available to you.

Part of this isn’t your fault. We’re taught at school, university, college, business and in life that success is scarce. We have a totally flipped mindset when it comes to success.

The reason most people aren’t successful has NOTHING to do with how many people have had success before them. It’s because most people aren’t willing to put the work in. They’re not willing to change their habits. Simple as that.

Don’t see other’s success as taking your oxygen. See it as a) proof it’s possible and b) a chance to make it BIGGER than them.

14. Go easy on yourself and hard on your actions

universefuel motivation lesson go easy

You failed. You fucked up. It went wrong. You let people down. You used again. You fell off the wagon. You fell down.

It happens. It happens to every one of us. More than you’d think.

But what makes a difference is HOW you treat yourself.

Sometimes, if we’re trying to give up something (chocolate, sugar, porn, drugs, Facebook), we fail and slip and fall.

But DO NOT use that an excuse to indulge in a binge. You can stop anytime you want. Failing is forgivable. Giving up isn’t.

When you fail (and you will), don’t go hard on yourself. Look at your actions. Could they be better?

Go easy on what you’re doing, what you’ve done. Sometimes, I’ll quit at 4 pm and go home to play video games.

Maybe that’s a weakness or a failure. But I don’t go hard on myself. I look at my actions and see if it was worth leaving.

If I haven’t made the sale I wanted, was it because I quit, never called the client or tried but they didn’t buy? It’s the action that matters.

15. YOU are the most important person you can help

universefuel motivation lesson yourself

Finally, this is the most important lesson.

I was told repeatedly (even diagnosed) as a textbook narcissist. I have been told by two mental health professionals that I exhibit classic anti-social behaviour problems which manifest as sociopathy.

From 21 to 26 I was repeatedly told that I was a diagnosed sociopath because the most important person in my world, was me.

Nothing else mattered. Nothing else matters. I am the centre of the universe.

Did being told that it was selfish, narcissistic or a sociopath help? Not even in the slightest.

We’re taught and told that focusing on ourselves is unhealthy, bad for us and the world AND it’s the worst thing you can do.

And that is plain wrong.

Focusing on you is the most important thing you can do. Bettering yourself and working on yourself as a person is CRITICAL to success. It’s also critical to what you put back into the world.

If I don’t grow as a person and work on myself, I don’t earn more. Which means I can’t pay the mortgage where my family live.

If you don’t learn how to deal with anger or depression or motivation or sales, you’re doing your family, friends and business a disservice.

You have every right in the world to focus on yourself.

It gets dangerous and destructive, when you focus your energy inwards and you ONLY reward yourself. Reward others, help others and focus on yourself. Be a better person and help others do the same.

This shit doesn’t really work though does it?

Motivational posters, quotes, thoughts and soundbites DON’T work, because we don’t use the properly.

We’re a silver bullet society. We’ve been taught so many times that there is a magic fix for everything. When there isn’t. If you’ve ever taken antibiotics, your Doctor will tell you to take the entire prescription.

If you’ve got 3 pills a day for 2 weeks, you NEED to take 3 pills a day for 2 weeks. Most people will take a few until they feel better and move on.

Aside from being the leading cause behind stronger bacteria (please don’t email me telling me otherwise. I can also Google and I’ve read The Conversation’s article on why you don’t need to finish a course), finishing your course of pills is how you eliminate the infection.

Or pick a healthy diet. Or exercise. Or working out. Or walking.

Repeated consistent action is how you make a change and become better. By printing off and focusing on a few motivational lessons every day for a long time, you build that lesson into your brain.

Repeated autosuggestion of ideas, both positive and negative, has been proven to attract results that people repeat to themselves. Download the motivation lessons below and print off 2 or 3 posters that make sense to you.

Put them in front of you and look at them everyday. Build autosuggestion into your life.

Which lesson resonates with you the most? Have you got any other lessons that you keep and remember? What do you tell other people when they need help? Let me know in the comments below.

Mike Killen

Mike is the world's #1 sales coach for marketing funnel builders. He helps funnel builders sell marketing funnels to their customers. He is the author of From Single To Scale; How single-person, small and micro-businesses can scale their business to profit. You can find him on Twitter @mike_killen.