Being motivated doesn’t have much to do with how you feel. You can ‘feel’ motivated, but that doesn’t mean you are actually motivated. Encouragement is when you’re having an emotional reaction to some outside stimulus. You’ve heard a good word, you watched someone else achieve something and you want it for yourself, you’ve been encouraged by friends, family, doctors, co-workers, lovers, etc. That’s all great, we all need encouragement at times. We sometimes need someone to get in our face and tell us some hard truths, or whisper in our ear and plant dreams and ideas of something better than our current situation or state of being. But, motivation is not an emotion, it’s a state of being. The dictionary states: the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way; the general desire or willingness of someone to do something. It doesn’t say you feel good or feel bad. Feeling good and/or feeling bad will drive the motivation, but it’s not the motivation. Motivation is the reason for the decision – it’s the driving force behind our actions in spite of how we feel. Those actions will either make us feel good or bad, but our feelings are not our motivation.
Being motivated – making a decision for whatever reason – is not contingent on how we feel. We don’t act because we are motivated, we are motivated to act because of decisions we make.
Motivation is a choice. Motivation must be decided, and enacted, and that is done through discipline. I am not motivated to work out because of how I feel. I am motivated because the facts are – I must work out to maintain a healthy state of being for my body. Sometimes I ‘feel’ like working out and conquering the world, and other times I “feel” like lying in bed, eating pizza and hamburgers and being fed bon-bon’s by a handsome king. So, my feelings are not what motivates me to get up every morning at 4am and head to the gym to work out – my knowledge and understanding of what it takes to remain healthy and active motivates me. Being able to physically do the things I love to do like kayaking, dancing, having sex, etc motivates me to get up when I’m tired, when my body hurts, when it’s cold, when it’s lonely, when I didn’t sleep well, when progress is slow, when it doesn’t seem like anyone else in the world cares. I go through the motions anyway – despite my feelings – because my motivation to achieve what I want is greater than how I’m feeling in the moment. That takes discipline. As Jocko Willink says, “If you stop looking for a short cut …and find your discipline and your will, then you will find your freedom. Discipline = freedom.”
So, stop lying to yourself. Stop whining about not being motivated because you’re feeling lazy. You’re not motivated because you haven’t found your reason. Stop waiting on how you feel and start looking for your reason, that reason that is going to push you forward on the days you want to retreat. Start looking for that reason that will drag you on when you want to give up. Start looking for that reason that will go beyond how you feel and hold onto it tightly. Put it in front of you every day. Post it on your mirror, your fridge, your door, your office computer, your phone so you can see it every day – and let that TRUTH be your motivation.
Till next time,