Motivation is a feeling that we often look for to spur us on. When we’re motivated we believe that we can achieve more, giving us an addictive boost in confidence and energy which often creates better results. It’s therefore not surprising that the ability to motivate others is highly valued particularly when your results are based on other peoples performance.
However, if / when motivation wears off, you’re usually left with a long bumpy road with lots of ups and downs ahead and a goal that seems less desirable than it did when you were motivated. This explains the miraculous increase of gym memberships in January and equally drastic number of drop offs in March!
We often glorify inspirational speakers, movies, songs, speeches, stories etc, but this inspiration is often more entertaining than it is effective. This may sound controversial as some people remain infatuated with the inspirational moment that sparked a successful venture. But unless you’re able to motivate yourself, it’s unlikely that one external source of motivation will ever be sustainable.
Being emotional creatures, we need motivation but it’s not surprising in a society addicted to instant gratification that we seek motivation first before we look to install discipline into our habits. A lot of self motivation actually comes from taking action first to build it up independently. This creates a far more sustainable and productive approach where motivation scales rather than being something that is inflated and therefore vulnerable to burst.
‘Action isn’t just the effect of motivation, but also the cause of it.’ Mark Manson
If there’s a point that I’m trying to make, it’s that motivation is a skill that you can learn and not something that you have to either passively wait for or continually inflate. Whether it’s going to the gym for more than 2 months at a time or getting off the hamster wheel and finding a job that’s fulfilling, taking the first few steps in the right direction, no matter how small, will likely create your first dose of self motivation. This approach gives you control of what you’re motivated to do with your life which, to me, is the ultimate form of freedom.
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