Motivation is powerful, but not entirely necessary. Motivation makes it easier to take action, but you take plenty of actions without the presence of traditional motivation. Without motivation, it’s also easy to procrastinate. Motivation is tricky.
What exactly is motivation? Is it enthusiasm for an action?
Or is it just a situation where taking an action has become more desirable than not taking action? You might not be excited about doing a report at work, but at some point, the anxiety of not getting it done becomes worse than just doing the work.
What do you think? How do you define motivation?
Consider these motivation myths:
1. Myth: Motivation is all that matters. Could a 70-year-old woman play in the NBA? Can just anyone make a living as a pop singer? No. Motivation is great, but there are a lot of other things that matter, too. Intelligence, talent, skill, resources, and opportunity are just a few things that also matter.
- In spite of what your mother told you, there are a lot of things you could never do no matter how motivated you are. But it’s okay. She still loves you.
- However, motivation is far from worthless. You’ll have to manage yourself far less if you’re motivated to do something positive that supports your goals and values. A lack of motivation is challenging, however.
2. Myth: You can’t do anything without motivation. You can’t? Are you excited to go to your job each day? Probably not. Are you thrilled to get out of bed each day? Unlikely. There are plenty of things you can do whether you’re motivated or not. What are some things that you regularly do that you truly don’t want to do?
3. Myth: You shouldn’t do it if you’re not motivated to do it. Do you think the best athletes in the world only train when they feel like it? Do you think bestselling authors only write when the urge strikes them?
- The most successful people in every field go to work and get busy every day. They don’t wait until they feel like doing it. They just do it in spite of how they happen to feel.
- If you only do the things you really want to do, you might not do much beyond snacking on the couch and binge-watching TV.
- Motivation is great when it’s available, but you’ll have to pick yourself up and do what needs to be done all of the other times.
4. Myth: Motivation is always available. Motivation isn’t always on-tap. There are days you feel super motivated and some days you’d rather just quit. Everyone deals with this phenomenon.
- It’s hard to predict when you’re going to feel motivated. The best policy is to make a decision to put in the work whether you feel like it or not.
Every decision has a cost. However, motivation makes it much easier to pay that cost. If you’re just dying to go to Paris, the cost of the plane ticket is easier to bear than if you’re not excited about the trip.
Motivation can be in short supply at times. It’s up to you to motivate yourself during those times. Imagine how great you’ll feel when the task is complete. Imagine the pain of not getting it done. And sometimes, it’s necessary to just put your head down and do what needs to be done.
You can’t spend your life waiting for the perfect circumstances and the perfect attitude. That’s a recipe for mediocrity.
You have a great advantage if you can work while everyone else is waiting for inspiration to strike. Take advantage of motivation when it’s available but avoid waiting for it. You’ll find that success in anything you want is easier to reach.