This past year has been hard for all of us, and Pew Research reports that 42% of US adults under the age of 50 reported difficulties in finding the motivation to work since the beginning of the pandemic. So how do we get through this seemingly never-ending struggle?
Discipline. That probably is not the answer you wanted to hear, as it points to the fact that working hard is the real way to overcome dips in motivation. Motivation comes and goes. We have great days at work that inspire us and remind us why we do what we do, but we may also go weeks without any form of gratification. The key is to stay disciplined throughout the ups and downs. We have to keep in mind that all of this is temporary—someday we will work in offices again and see our friends and family. But for the time being, if we are fortunate enough to have jobs, we have to keep on going. The struggle we are working through now is building strength we cannot even appreciate or comprehend at the current moment. This is a training ground for your mental discipline, your ability to keep on keeping on even when things get tough. This skill, also known as Grit, is actually more important for long-term success than raw intelligence.
So although the current times are hard and we may not feel motivated, just remember that the work you are doing right now (both professionally and mentally) is building your strength and mental disciple, and that you will reap these benefits for years to come. Discipline will carry you much further in life than pure excitement or passion. One day you will look back on how you worked through this difficult time and feel proud and thankful for your own hard work. Keep on keeping on. We are all in this together.