Sustaining Motivation With The Burning Rock Method

Holding to a commitment is like holding a very hot rock, the chances that you will continue to hold it is nearing zero. But with time, it will get easier since the rock will become colder.

Now the above example is a very nice way to describe motivation, but what on earth are you going to say to yourself in order to avoid dropping the rock at every single seconds. Remember, it is a very hot rock.

How to sustain your motivation 24/7. That is one of the biggest secret of motivation. Believe me, you can easily motivate a person. Some people are doing this everyday to their employees. Sure, they will be motivated, but after 1 hour or so, their motivation level will start to deteriorate and before you know it, you will have to give the exact same speech to them. And what worse is that it may not work this time.

Enough about other people, how do YOU sustain your motivation through out the day?

The Method

I don’t know about you but this is what I did. I will imagine that the things that I do have a very direct impact to my loved ones. Let’s look at that burning rock for example. Just imagine that your 1 year old daughter is sleeping in front of you, and if you let go of the burning rock, the rock will fall onto your beloved daughter. Will you let go of the rock now?

I don’t know about you, but I will definitely hold the rock firmly even though I will lose my hand in the process. I’d rather die than letting it hurt my daughter.

Applying It In Real Life

How to apply this in real life? Hm.. one example would be convincing yourself that if you cannot finish that pile of work in front of you, you will have to surrender your food and your children will be hungry for the night. Imagine the look on their face when you go home with no dinner for them. Imagine them crying themselves to sleep.

I better finish off my pile of work now.

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This post has 10 comments.

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  1. 12 Mar 10 9:41 am

    Hey Banji,

    I like the analogy and the point you make – when we make it really matter to us, and we realize that letting the “burning rock” stop would be so negative, it motivates us to try harder and push beyond our original limitations.

  2. 12 Mar 10 8:29 pm

    Sid Savara – Correct.. We should never underestimate our mind. Once we know EXACTLY the price we are going to pay for our action, it will push us to do amazing things most of the time beyond our normal capabilities.

  3. 14 Mar 10 11:04 am

    Yes, sometimes we just have to tough it out my friend, and if we do it for the right reasons, our burden will lessen, or we will grow in strength through our integrity.


  4. 30 Mar 10 11:49 am

    Hi Benji – I sure would hate to drop a hot lava rock on my kids head. I wrote an article that goes right along with this one. It’s titled ‘Motivation when the Motivation Gets Tough’. I will be posting that one tomorrow.

    Good luck with the lava rocks. 🙂

  5. […] to use when the motivation gets tough. Here is another method by a fellow motivational writer Banji Sustaining Motivation with the Burning Rock Method Motivational, Personal Development, successful […]

  6. 05 May 10 1:17 pm

    John Rocheleau – I totally agree John. The correct thing to do will always be the hardest. There is usually no other way around it except to just do it.

    Jeff – Thank you for the mention. Good luck with your lava rocks too 🙂

  7. Ben
    08 Aug 10 12:06 am


    I agree that the difficulty of sustaining motivation is similar to holding a burning rock, but I think that you fail to give us a proper example of what you mean by your simile. Your example about dropping the rock on your child’s face, while comical, does not explain why it is important to keep holding a burning rock. This section actually deals with child abuse, not motivation.

    Moreover, your ‘application’ about putting food on the table is a great reason not to drop the rock, but I don’t find it particularly motivational at all. A more productive statement would probably be an actual example of a situation in which not dropping the rock makes it easier to hold it:

    Say you are writing anything – The most difficult part is developing an idea that is worthy of writing about. This task often requires complex thinking skills and the integration of information outside the precise field of focus. But once this idea is developed, you can with increasing ease write it out. The conclusion and the final editing of the writing is the easiest.


  8. 18 Sep 10 12:09 am

    Ben – Thank you for the comment. I will try my best to explain my point in the post. First of all, the whole idea of holding a burning rock is just an analogy. It basically describe that we will pretty much sacrifice and do everything we can do if the thing that matter the most is at risk. In this analogy, it’s the child.

    I personally believe, doing what we love is a strong motivation by itself. However, most of the time, the thing that we stuck doing is the thing that we hate the most. This is where we need to use the analogy and try to associate the whole purpose of doing that thing to something that matter to you the most.

    Again, I would like to thank you on your last comment that an article worth writing must be well thought and written. I however believe that just like brainstorming session, ideas can be further expanded by other point of view. Yours is actually a great example of how there are always two ways (at least) in viewing thing.

  9. 19 Sep 10 10:22 am

    Hmmm. It’s a really cool way of thinking. It’s fancy, this burning rock thought, and readers would sure get the idea fast. People really are, after all, motivated mostly because the results of their hard work, patience and learning would do them good. Once they lose motivation, disaster is just a few steps ahead. The burning rock should remind them always what they’re gonna get. Keep posting really nice ways to understanding how motivation works – and why it should!

  10. 13 Feb 11 9:50 am

    Very inspiring article. The way you think was so cool. I really impressed with this topic. Maybe I should get a copy of this. Would you consider?

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