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Summary

From Inc.com's most popular columnist, a counterintuitive - but highly practical - guide to finding and maintaining the motivation to achieve great things.

It's comforting to imagine that superstars in their fields were just born better equipped than the rest of us. When a co-worker loses 20 pounds, or a friend runs a marathon while completing a huge project at work, we assume they have more grit, more willpower, more innate talent, and above all, more motivation to see their goals through.

But that's not at actually true, as popular Inc.com columnist Jeff Haden proves. "Motivation" as we know it is a myth. Motivation isn't the special sauce that we require at the beginning of any major change. In fact, motivation is a result of process, not a cause. Understanding this will change the way you approach any obstacle or big goal.

Haden shows us how to reframe our thinking about the relationship of motivation to success. He meets us at our level - at the beginning of any big goal we have for our lives, a little anxious and unsure about our way forward, a little burned by self-help books and strategies that have failed us in the past - and offers practical advice that anyone can use to stop stalling and start working on those dreams.

Haden takes the mystery out of accomplishment, proving that success isn't about spiritual awakening or a lightning bolt of inspiration - as Tony Robbins and adherents of The Secret believe - but instead, about clear and repeatable processes. Using his own advice, Haden has consistently drawn two million views a month to his posts, completed a 107-mile long mountain bike race, and lost 10 pounds in a month.

Success isn't for the uniquely-qualified; it's possible for any person who understands the true nature of motivation. Jeff Haden can help you transcend average and make lasting positive change in your life.

©2018 Jeff Haden (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

“This isn’t just a groundbreaking approach to making millions or melting off extra pounds. It’s a life-changing mental shift toward enjoying the process. Why the f*ck not?” (Sarah Knight, author of Get Your Sh*t Together)

“Jeff Haden knows what many people don’t: that success is less about searching for motivation and more about muddling through until you achieve something motivating.” (Adam Grant, author of Give and Take, Originals, and Option B with Sheryl Sandberg)  

“Sometimes, your computer gets stuck, and the pros know you can press Command+Option+ESC to break out of the loop. Jeff Haden's book is like that, but for your life. Read it and learn how to break out of your negative loops without needing a complete shut-down.” (Dharmesh Shah, Co-founder and CTO of HubSpot) 

What listeners say about The Motivation Myth

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nothing new and contradicts himself

starts off complaining about other people's work then explains other people's work almost exactly. for example he says smart goals are bad then spend the next chapter explaining smart goals, although not calling them smart.

nothing new here and not much about motivation. more about productivity of anything.

9 people found this helpful

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Good content

I found this useful but could not finish as the narrator not my cup of tea.

5 people found this helpful

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Great performance books dips on the middle à bit

Pretty good, I felt it could have been a little shorter but overall good book

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Great book

Loved the book, the topics and advice. The authors humour made me laugh quite a few times to which I think is a sign of good writing.

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Must read for guidance to stay motivated

Good book with lots of interesting stories about why the journey to success is more important than the goal. The narrator is energetic and thought provoking. Would definitely recommend it

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In My Top 10 for this Year !!!

I found Three book extreamly motivational, straight to the point and full of life lessons and practical tips, I would not only reread it but study this book !!!

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A book I always listen to again and again

I truly love this book, and listening to it, is just so motivating! I would reccomend this to anyone who is looking to strive for something more in life and needs the honest encouragement to do so.

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Brilliant! Debunks what motivation is

An excellent book! I listened to it again right after the first listen! Really quick to get through and I enjoyed listening to it. The narrator is great and keeps you engaged. This books debunks a lot of what we think motivates us and helps you to realise that you need to put in the effort. No effort then no results. When you see the results of your effort then it’s that that motivates you to keep going. Enjoy the process and not just the goal. Some really good tips, and you’ll find yourself laughing at times too. After listening to this I’ll no longer feel wrong for not feeling motivated, I will just try to get on with it one step at a time.

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Started great but then lost its way

Some great snippets at the start of the book about the psychology of motivation but then the book fails to deliver any real value and is more about productivity than motivation. Funnily enough criticising Tony Robbins or Tim Ferris who have written motivational works is puzzling in the light that you have failed to deliver anything as inspiring as them? Disappointing overall.

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Interesting and Motivating

Some good ideas which I adopted and seem to work (focus on planning and the process rather than Goals). Enjoyed the narration and approach to challenges.

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  • Logan
  • 22-05-18

nothing you haven't heard before

I am annoyed. The author holds definitions of terms that aren't quite how I define those terms. They lack nuance. These are essential terms of motivation, willpower, and what a SMART goal actually is. To paraphrase: Forget your goal, but set reminders of your goal. Motivation isn't about spark, but by the way, start with a very productive day. You don't need willpower, limit your choices...which takes willpower. Motivate from the small successes, but don't break the chain (willpower), and I'm not going to tell you how to motivate to your first success. SMART goals are stupid, but essentially, use SMART goals (aka working your number).
If I wasn't having trouble working my numbers, I wouldn't be looking for an answer to motivation. These are old steps that didn't need a retelling with no new insights. It's not that the author's points aren't supported or are badly ordered, so I wouldn't give it a 1 star. It just didn't deliver.

48 people found this helpful

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  • Kim
  • 09-04-18

I'd Listen To Ray Porter Read Me Math

I would NEVER have listened to this book if Ray weren't narrating it. I"m required to do 40 hours of training a year at my job. This book ended up being completely interesting and 85% of it hit home. Whether for business or personal reasons, there's something in this book for anyone who needs help with motivation and the rationalization behind it. The author tells stories and experiences in an honest, down to earth way that people will be able to understand and try and Ray Porter gives all of the inflection and personality needed to keep me listening.

39 people found this helpful

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  • Annette N.
  • 29-05-19

Skip it

Awful. I couldn't get more than a few chapters in, no way I'd finish it. It's too negative for me. If the entire premise of your book is to attack a bunch of other authors, you shouldn't write the book. I usually make myself finish books I start, figuring there will be a nugget of goodness somewhere. This book only managed to motivate me to give myself permission to stop listening to it so I could move on to a better book.

Narrator performed well, so kudos to him.

25 people found this helpful

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  • J'oli
  • 18-04-18

Life changing

Any additional comments?

As an artist and writer I was under the (wrong) preconception that I had to wait for “inspiration” to strike or for “passion” to move me to work. I realise now that was a load of bollucks which is why I rarely finished any work. Since reading this book (and the War of Art, another book I would highly recommend) I now produce about 4-5 large paintings a month. I have recommended this work to several creators I know who are struggling with writer’s block. The ones who read these books have begun creating again and the others are still waiting for lightening to strike.

22 people found this helpful

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  • G. Lincoln
  • 11-01-18

A quick and worthwhile read

What I like most about this book is that the author doesn't waste my time. There aren't chapters filled with bragging that many books with similar goals seem to think is required, perhaps to qualify the author.

Instead there are excellent ideas that I'd not heard before about how motivation actually works, as well as details about building frameworks and processes to achieve your goals. Well thought out examples clarified and "todo" lists called me to action and helped me realize that I'd been working toward the wrong things, and in the incorrect order.

Ray Porter's narration is perfect, as always. He reads with passion and his style fits the author's voice well. Recommended!

45 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-04-18

Absolutely brilliant!

it's basically everything you already known, but what everyone should keep hearing! Love it so much, that it has turned into my go-to book.... whenever actually

11 people found this helpful

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  • Steve
  • 18-03-18

Excellent advice but...

A little flag raises in my head when one person attempts to distill truth, with such conviction, on such a wide range of subjects. To be fair, the professional wrestling-like narration might have injected more pathos than might have been intended by the writer.

Having said that, his explicit connection of motivation to a routine was very appreciated. Also, his writing style, combined with the wrestling commentator narration was greatly entertaining. I can't give it full marks, though, when compared to works from Duhigg, Dalio and others.

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  • J. Allen
  • 26-03-18

Contradictions

Writer hammers Tony Robbins and later contradicts himself saying he loves Tony. He never bothers to tell the reader about the mountain of data showing how Robbins and other mindset experts tell people how to do the very things this book proposes.

Second, he hates SMART goals for a chapter. Then, IN THE VERY NEXT CHAPTER, tells us how to form a proper goal by using the exact same techniques that SMART goals employ.

Finally, our resident motivator tells us we don’t need a coach, we need an expert. A coach is an expert. If an NFL player wants more strengths, better nutrition, or to run the right play, he listens to a...coach. If, by coach someone means a touchy-feely, cheerleader, then I agree—you don’t need that. But that’s a cheerleader not a coach.

The nuggets of goodness in this book, and there are many, are sadly overshadowed by the contradictions. Perhaps another proofreading next time?

33 people found this helpful

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  • CJB L.
  • 05-09-18

I know how to get motivated now!

Very compelling approach to motivation. Motivation is not an input. Get to work and the motivation will follow!
The reader is articulate and engaging too.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Daniel Hawes
  • 25-02-18

Very little substance or research

He knocks other self help gurus yet offers a fraction of the substance. ... basically all based on one theme, get started, take action and build on the momentum... No kidding ... no other real insights and flies in the face of Adam Grant’s Originals .... Tries to be irreverent but ironically hasn’t really done his research or ground work.

20 people found this helpful