Motivation is in Your Own Questions
Other than continuing to read this post, what are you supposed to be doing now?
And why are you supposed to be doing it? Is it something you must do to keep a job, to please someone else, or to get something over and done?
If that’s the case, it may help in making the motivation black hole. You know, the one all the energy gets sucked into.
We’ll get back to that in a moment.
This is the first in a series about motivation, its promoters and detractors, and some of the key qualities to cultivate in order to motivate yourself.
What is Motivation?
When you get to a certain stage in life, you begin to wonder where your mojo went and how to get it back. It makes sense. Motivation is a powerful force.
Motivation is a state of mind, an attitude, a way of thinking, being, and doing that can reap rewards beyond your wildest dreams. Frances Coombes
Wikipedia tells us it’s the driving force by which humans reach their goals.
If you plug the term in to Google Search, you get 218,000,000 hits. Over 7,000,000 people search for the word each month. So it seems like it may be a commodity that we are all looking for.
The root to the word ‘motivation’ is motere. It’s latin – to move. It is also the root of the words motion and emotion.
Motivation is connected to the emotion behind the forward motion. It’s the go juice we all look for to get things done.
Motivation is Work
What gets projects done for me is not inspiration. I have no idea what inspiration really is. I know that I get really curious about things, and when that gets mixed with rigor, a project gets completed. And that’s basically it, it’s that simple. When curiosity and rigor get together, something happens. And when one of these things [isn't] there, nothing happens, or the project doesn’t really reach people.” ~ Andrew Zuckerman
I heard John Sandford, author of the Lucas Davenport novels, interviewed on the radio a few months ago. I listened closely because I’ve read most of his novels. They are all based here in Minnesota, many right here in Minneapolis. There is an air of familiarity to them. And they are good.
He was asked what the inspiration was for his writing. He answered by saying that he was not someone who wrote on inspiration. He said writing was work for him and he worked hard at it.
If we want to be motivated to create the life we want, waiting for inspiration can be a long wait. It’s better to count on some perspiration. It’s best not to wait for the feeling of motivation. It’s not a feeling, it exists in positive action.
That doesn’t tell you how to get motivated, though. Let me start by writing a bit about the two sides to motivation.
The Polar Opposite Sides of Motivation
For some of us, motivation comes because we have a positive goal. What I mean by that is that we are motivated by something, some activity or goal draws us toward it. This is the approach side of our mojo. We find something we want and we head toward it.
At other times, motivation comes from what I will call a negative goal. We work to avoid some outcome. Some consequence repels us to w work hard to avoid it. This is the avoidance side of motivation.
Let’s return to the questions I asked at the beginning of this post. If we are doing something that’s expected of us for some reason such as saving a job, we are often working on the negative side of the equation. Unless it is a job we truly love, we want to prevent negative consequences at work.
It’s hard to bring your A-game to goals, even when you get paid to do it, that are not really yours.
When goals fit your life purpose, motivation seems to show up like magic.
But it ain’t magic. It’s motivation. You want to move. It’s work. And we have to do the work. There is power in positive action.
So, what do you want in life?
What is your purpose at this stage in your life?
Where do you want your life to be headed?
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