The Myth of Motivation

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing.  That’s why we recommend it daily. –Zig Ziglar

When I was a kid, I used to think that I was the type who lost her motivation too easily. I’d feel really excited about a hobby for a few days or weeks, but as soon as boredom set in, I’d drop the whole thing. I interpreted my lack of motivation as a cue signaling my lack of interest.

Now I’ve learned that motivation isn’t like I thought it was. It’s not a trait. You can’t expect to feel motivated every day of your life. You may even go for months without the least glimpse of motivation anywhere on the horizon, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t have it if you needed it. Most importantly, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t continue working at whatever it is you’re trying to achieve.

Most people who manage to exercise regularly don’t probably have any more motivation or self-discipline than your average Jane. They’ve made a decision to pursue exercise, they’ve built up a good habit that’s hard to break, and they have a system that helps them stick to it.

I write every day but it’s not because I’m so motivated. The main reason I write is because I haven’t given myself any choice in the matter. I have to post something every day, whether I feel like it or not. Sometimes that sucks but the net effect has been overwhelmingly positive. I’ve learned to find motivation instead of just moaning about its absence.

Psychologically speaking, motivation is the driving power (initiated by need) that makes an individual seek out what it takes to meet that need. Thirst is what your body uses to motivate you to seek out water when the body needs it.

This is why motivation can be deceptive. Most of us are not motivated to, say, go running. The human body is usually motivated to minimize effort, so it’s unlikely to work very hard to get you sweating. The human body’s quite happy to stay on the couch where living is easy. No one’s told the human body of heart disease or the negative effects of obesity.

That’s why you can’t trust motivation to show you the way. Habits, obligations and deadlines are much better at helping a person stay the course. Stick to them, and motivation will follow.



11 thoughts on “The Myth of Motivation

  1. Motivation is quickly lost on me! Nowadays I just force myself to do something hoping to one day not need too!


  2. So true. Motivation is hard, and not only the things we have passion about can we continue to do all the time. I think things get accomplished or we do well at things because we have made a choice to do so.


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