Matt Madeiro

once ate nine pieces of stinky tofu. Just ask Mark Powers.

The Only Motivation You Need

Why do you do what you do?

I’ve been chewing on the answer. A good friend hit me with that very question a few months back, and I’m sad to report—blame it on the vodka water I’d been nursing—that my response wasn’t particularly clever. I mumbled something about fame, fortune, and wanting to leave a legacy, but even then I knew I was pretty far off the mark.

Why do I do what I do?

Why did I pass on bringing a TV when I moved into my new apartment?

Why do I always have to shrug and offer a sheepish smile when the water cooler conversation turns to sports and pop culture?

Why, when 5 o’clock rolls around and I make the sprint home, do I dive right back into work instead of plopping down at that sunny, noisy bar right across the street?

I think I know why.

Why do I do what I do? Because no one else will ever make me do it.

No one else can accomplish my goals.

No one else can push me, day in and day out, to spend my minutes on the things—the projects, the dreams—that matter most. No one else will shape me—failure by failure—into the person that I want to be.

I have to do it. You have to do it.

We have to do the work. We don’t have to do it every single day, sure. But we need to remember, when all the motivation comes crumbling down, that success really only depends on this one simple factor.

It depends on us. It depends on us clocking in, day in and day out, and doing the work that no one else will ever demand that we do.

No one is going to twist your arm — no one but you.

The next time someone asks you, then, why you spend so much time on the things that matter, just say this:

“Because I have to. And because no one else is ever going to make me do it.”

Simple as that.

Get every article sent (free!) straight to your inbox:

What's the good word?