The One-Sentence Motivator

Discipline and self-motivation are tough but essential to learn. Do you have a one-sentence motivator?


"Be the man you dreamed you could be when you were a little boy."

I am not sure who said it originally, but I first heard it at a speech given by Mike Vance, the former head of creativity at Walt Disney World. Speaking of whom, how is this for a reference? "Mike Vance is one of the most creative guys I have met in a long time," said Walt Disney (HIMSELF). When Mike talks about creativity, people listen.

That one sentence has stuck with me for, what...cough, 33, cough, years. I have said it numerous times, but mostly I have internalized it and tried to live my life by it.

What is your one-sentence motivator? Do you have one? Perhaps it is something you have read, or heard, or learned from someone you admire. You need to get one. I am not suggesting you run out and memorize the Serenity Prayer, either. Find something that is meaningful and uplifting to YOU: Analyze it, simplify it, and use it.

Here is why you need it: The hardest skills to learn are self-discipline and motivation. You can draw on many sources to provide these skills. Many get them, or depend upon them, from others. Some get them from family members. Often, bosses give them...or demand them. But the greatest skill—which will be more important to you than almost any other—is your ability to motivate yourself.

The toughest skill to learn is also the most important: Being able to motivate yourself when times are tough, and doing it all by yourself. It's OK to change your one-sentence motivator over time. If you are lucky enough to find one that works for you, use it until it doesn't work any longer. Then find another.

G.L. Hoffman is a serial entrepreneur and venture investor/operator/incubator/mentor. Two of his companies have traveled the entire success path from the garage to IPO. Currently, he is chairman of JobDig, and his blog can be found at or at


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