How to keep motivated

Filipe Donadio
Filipe Donadio

When we start a new project, at first everything can seem very exciting. We feel motivated to finally get an idea off the ground and energized to see things actually happening.

But sometimes life gets in the way and after a while, it is normal to feel discouraged. Progress is no longer as fast as it was in the beginning, and this demotivates us.

Author Seth Godin calls this phase “The Dip”.

“The Dip is the long stretch between beginner’s luck and real accomplishment. The Dip is the set of artificial screens set up to keep people like you out… Extraordinary benefits accrue to the tiny minority of people who are able to push just a tiny bit longer than most.”

A graph showing the dip

It was reading another book, Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon, that I discovered something that always helps to have the motivation to keep going: create a Praise File.

It is a special file with all the positive things people have told me about my work. It includes things like comments from teachers, family members, compliments from bosses and coworkers, and also messages of encouragement that I receive online.

When I'm on one of those bad days, with no energy, wanting to quit, and wondering why the hell I bother with all of this, I'll read my praise file. It reminds me of every single challenge I have ever been through. I can clearly remember moments when I wanted to quit. I can remember the things I did to overcome the problems.

Then I get back to work.

Try it. Save those kind comments in a file or folder, and use them in those moments when you are down or want to quit. Most people give up during the dip phase. Those who persevere make it to the end to reap the rewards.

💭 Reflection

“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about.” — Einstein


Filipe Donadio Twitter

I'm a software engineer and YouTuber. I make videos about note-taking and knowledge management apps like Obsidian, Logseq, Roam Research, and Notion.