We are told our problem is a lack of motivation when, in fact, the problem is a lack of purpose. Just as a fan ceases to exist without a cause, so does motivation.
By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here
Sometimes we are deciding not to decide because we are overwhelmed. Instead of trying to understand why we are feeling this way, we try to overwhelm our sense of being overwhelmed with more motivation. We are not creating a solution, we are exacerbating the problem.
An Overwhelming Wall
A more direct approach would be for me to address why am I overwhelmed. If it is a lack of knowledge, then I should increase knowledge. If the cause is too many distractions, I should actively reduce other distractions. If it is fear, I must acknowledge my concerns and find reasons to be courageous. Whatever the case may be, what must be overcome is ourselves.
Motivation should not be the only reason for doing something. There should be multiple reasons. Things I have done, long undertakings, I did them because there were so many reasons to do them. Why would I do something if there is only one reason to do it? Especially if the sole reason is that I am motivated? When I don't know why I should be doing it or why I should even care? It is like being a motivated machine, doing something because that is what my program demands. Since I am not a machine but a sentient being, this method is pointless.
Motivation in and of itself is not a reason to do anything, rather it enhances existing reasons. Motivation is like a fan, it needs a cause to support. We are told our problem is a lack of motivation when, in fact, the problem is a lack of purpose. Just as a fan ceases to exist without a cause, so does motivation. Imagine cheering for winning when there is no team. Winning is the effect, the cause is the team. We are confusing the effect for the cause. Motivating success without a cause is like trying to win without a team.
Simon Sinek expands these ideas further in his TED talk:
A Time for Self-Discovery
Find out why, understand your psyche. What pushes your buttons? What reasons are there to do it? If there are none, why is it so important? Why should it be done? If there is only one important reason, find more reasons. Spend your time on the things that are meaningful and do not fill your plate with those things that are not. Motivation is useless without meaning.
Rather than winning a battle with more firepower, let reason shine. Motivation is much like a sinking ship. Instead of bailing water, first find the leak. Only when the leak is addressed, does it make sense to bail water. However, do not rely solely on bailing, use a system of redundancies to keep your ship afloat, have multiple boat saving techniques. Most of all, know why you are on a ship in the middle of the sea in the first place. Once you know why you should accomplish a task and you can identify multiple reasons for performing this task — you have created an environment for motivation to flourish.
Useful Companions (Improve Your Education and This Site by Buying a Book):
- Start With Why - Simon Sinek