By Jerry Seavey
Motivation is not a thing that you can find or lose because it is a course of action, a desire to do something.
We frequently have hear that people want ‘motivation’ for certain tasks or to find out why they ‘lose’ their motivation, i.e. to work out at the gym regularly, to keep the house organized, to stop staying up late and get up earlier in the morning, consistently eat healthier food. You may also have wanted motivation to get started on something or to complete a project left unfinished. Or maybe you’ve wanted motivation to stop a limiting behavior, or to find the motivation to develop a positive behavior.
When people use the word ‘motivation’ as if it were a ‘thing’, a noun, (i.e. ‘I lost my motivation’), it can be limiting. Motivation belongs to a class of words called nominalisations, which are processes (verbs) that we turn into nouns and are abstractions that are often represented in our mind as something that is static.
Motivation is not a ‘thing’ that you can find or lose because it is a course of action, a desire to do something.
The idea that we can be ‘stuck’ or stopped from achieving an outcome due to a lack of motivation is an interesting concept. When viewed from the understanding that life is a process – an event – not a thing, it becomes easier to stay with our chosen activity. Being motivated is a natural expression of daily living. From this perspective the question becomes, ‘What will continually empower my choices?’ Or ‘How do I need to think in order to keep going when the going gets challenging?’ (These are included in any well-formed outcome.) Instead, notice what changes when you think of being motivated as the energy behind the drive or desire.
It is this underlying state that affects how you generate and maintain your motivation, which is actually driven by your ‘motives’ or criteria. Being motivated, therefore, results from the degree that your choices and goals are expressing an outcome that is ‘on-purpose’ and in alignment with your true and authentic self. Motivation is often defined as a drive or a desire. Motivation is a mind body spirit dynamic. Few would say, ‘I “think” I’m motivated’. Rather, we usually hear, ‘I “feel” motivated’, or the opposite, ‘I don’t feel any motivation to do what needs to be done’.
To be motivated is to feel the connection with your values and purpose, pulling you toward a compelling future.
Purpose is what we value…what we believe to be important in life and gives meaning to our existence. Purpose can come from the heart or from the ego and both can be a source to sustain the actions you need while achieving your goals.
The degree of successfully maintaining your motivation is intimately linked to your sense of self where achieving your outcome is a true representation of who and what you want to be. In the larger scheme of things, the quality of genuine success is related to whether someone is living a ‘life of purpose’ and from where their purpose emanates (ego or heart). Therefore, purpose is what generates the energy that we call motivation.
Purpose doesn’t turn on and off; it is a constant, a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual force. We experience purpose or purposelessness, meaning or meaninglessness on a continuum. On one end it is positive, invigorating, strong, exciting – on the other end, lack of purpose is hopeless, stagnant, blocked, draining or aimless.
Maintaining the energy we call motivation comes from having goals that align with our purpose.
We know that motivation is a ‘felt sense’, yet the mind plays an important role, and training the mind to sustain direction is easiest when we know and understand what we are passionate about (what is important to us) and how our goals demonstrate that passion. When you find yourself looking for motivation, stop and remind yourself that there is the purpose behind the goal.
Remember that you choose to exercise because being healthy and fit gives you the energy to manifest your passions. That keeping your home organized reflects the respect you have for your personal space and to live in a harmonious environment.
That you choose to get up early because the morning is when you have the opportunity to work uninterrupted to make progress in fulfilling your dreams.Tune into what you value and let your deeper purpose compel you toward your goals and you’ll find that your purpose generates all the energy you could possibly need.