[startup experience #4] Motivation is a myth: create our own motivations

Amy Li
2 min readMar 25, 2022
Motivation is a myth: how can I, a startup owner, constantly generate motivation along the journey..

Since I left my job and started a startup company with my two friends, I have learned a lot through the journey. In today’s video, I would like to share one of the learnings: motivation is a myth. This phrase comes from the book — “The Motivation Myth” by Jeff Haden.

Let’s get into the story:

When I was working at a full-time job, I was motivated to go to work five days a week. Sometimes get bored, or not feeling happy about people, or not feel great about my work performance, all and all, but I never missed a working day. I never woke up too later and told my manager that I don’t want to go to work today. Nope. I was carried forward by the momentum driven by the motivation I got from the monthly salary. Yes, maybe it’s not the same motivation as many other people have, but it works for me perfectly.

Now everything has changed since I left my job. I lose that motivation. It’s the motivation we get from the first day of working on a job as we know we will get paid after 30 days. It’s a tough path we need to go through but it guarantees the reward we get by the end of each month. But doing a startup is very different from working for others. We have no clue when we get to profit from our product. Therefore, if motivation is a must from the start, then we lose from day one. We cannot move any further. But it turns out that that’s not the case.

I started to dedicate nearly all of my free time to the side project last month ago, and the other two friends work part-time. To be honest, the project we’re working on is still on paper, but we never feel unmotivated from day one until now. It’s not because we don’t care about the results, but because we keep creating our motivation. We put effort into the work and see the progress we have made every single day, and that daily progress makes us feel happy and proud of ourselves, and all of these good feelings about our work and ourselves generate the momentum which carries us forward. the video version of this post:

Amy Li

Software Developer | Ph.D. in Medicine. I write about programming, productivity, personal development, and entrepreneurship. https://www.youtube.com/@amyjuanli