I have no motivation

How I stopped losing interest

We’re in 2007, and I’m in high school.

I just bought my first guitar and have one goal: to play on stage!

During the two years that followed, I played every day for hours, learning the different chords, styles, and techniques.

I started to practice songs with a friend, and eventually, we got selected to play on stage! My biggest goal as a teenager was achieved. I made it.

Then, I almost stopped playing. The motivation was gone. I still have a guitar at home and occasionally play a bit.

But not with the same passion.

We’re in 2015, and I just started my first job.

I’ve been using Tableau for two months, and after seeing Shine Pulikathara building a beautiful dashboard on stage in Las Vegas, I have one goal: to compete for Iron Viz.

During the two years that followed, I played created visualizations daily for hours, learning the different chord charts, styles, and techniques.

I started to participate in Iron Viz feeder, and eventually, I got selected to play viz on stage in Las Vegas! My biggest goal was achieved. I made it.

And then I almost stopped. The motivation was gone. I was still using Tableau at work every day and sometimes publishing on Tableau Public.

But not with the same passion.

I had to wait until 2019 and learn d3 and javascript to start being passionate again. But the same thing happened again. After one year of obsessing over bleeding Tableau and d3, I didn’t share anything for one year and a half.

This is my pattern. Discovering a new passion, obsessing over it, achieving a goal, and losing interest until the next passion arrives.

The main problem is that I never know when a new passion will arrive, and it’s incredibly hard (at least for me) to keep motivated to do something I don’t truly enjoy.

So, how to break the loop?

I remember the excitement when I managed to play my first song on the guitar.
I remember how magical it was to build my first visualization in Tableau.
I remember being proud when I created my first network using d3.

There is something about being a beginner that amazes me. Yes, you make many mistakes, and things are slow and messy, but you also feel free. It’s okay to be slow and sloppy and make mistakes when you start. You don’t expect much, so every tiny win feels incredible.

Every moment I have been genuinely passionate about something was when I discovered or learned something new and exciting.

I started working as a freelancer at the end of 2020. I knew I would probably end up being bored being a Tableau Freelancer for the rest of my life. I will lose interest, like always.

If I wanted to keep my motivation, I had to keep learning new things. That is why I came up with a plan.

In 2021, I focused on what I do best: making Tableau dashboards. I worked as much as possible and earned as much as my time allowed. It was not always fun, but it was a necessary step to secure the rest of the plan.

In 2022, I focused on learning. I worked three days for clients and two days for myself. I learned Figma, Webflow, and Svelte and scratched the surface of Cinema 4D and Procreate. This changed how I work forever and paved the way for everything I created this year.

In 2023, I focused on sharing. I created this newsletter and a YouTube channel. We built and released three tools (Advviz, Bang, and Figma to Tableau Plugin). Everything was made possible thanks to the new things I learned.

I haven’t achieved a “life-changing biggest of my life” goal this year. Neither have I obsessed over a new passion or shiny new tool. However, I have consistently learned, experimented, and shared. Today, after three years of working on my own, I am nowhere close to losing interest, and I have tons of ideas for next year.

So, as we are slowly finishing 2023 and entering 2024, don’t think only about goals and achievements for next year. Make a plan to learn something new, experiment, and share your mistakes, frustration, joy, and small or big wins.

That’s it for this week!

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