What is Motivation?
Let’s take a moment and consider what motivation is all about. In general, we all understand the concept of motivation, but how important and how much weight does it really hold?
If someone came up to you and offered you “motivation” in one hand, and $5000 in the other, we would all take the $5K and run! But why? Well because the money is tactile and concrete and motivation is really nothing more than thin air, and that’s the truth and it’s as simple as that.
Our Basic Needs
Now let’s go off on a tangent and talk about our basic needs for a second. There are obviously thousands of different businesses out there providing different services and products to meet our needs and wants. And if you think about our most basic needs, well that comes down to food and shelter; having something to eat so we can survive and continue our journey in life, and having a place to come home to and sleep and live in.
So if you think about it, our basic needs are our “basic” needs because they need to be satisfied first and before anything else for us to be able to get to the other facets of our lives, and so it should be no surprise to learn that we spend nearly $1 trillion annually on one of our basic needs, food, which is a little less than 10% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Does a Baby Have Motivation?
What does a baby do? In general a baby eats, cries, sleeps, and then repeats, basically meeting his/her own very basic needs. The baby is motivated in staying alive and screams and cries for attention to make sure that he is fed, taken care of, and watched over. We all start out at this level of motivation and as we grow and learn we become more complex as we begin to think for ourselves, and our wants and needs become more granular and specific, forcing us to motivate ourselves to reach these new wants and needs.
So if we revisit the question of what is motivation, we can slowly understand that motivation is food for thought. The same way we need food or sustenance to be able to stay alive, we also need food for our drive, we need it to fuel ourselves with energy and excitement by thinking and feeling through our inspirations.
As the driving force in our lives, motivation is what causes us to change our behavior and gives us a positive attitude, it helps us see things in a new perspective and inspires us to reach for something we don’t have and that we only see in the form of our goals or dreams in our minds eye. Without motivation, we slowly fall back to our earlier life of eating, crying, and sleeping… if you open your eyes, you will see this type of behavior even in grown ups. But this can change, literally in moments.
External Motivation Vs Self Motivation
External motivation comes from everything around you, your peers, those above and below you, your friends and family, what you read and what you see on TV, and your own goals and dreams, which are in one way shape or form a response to your environment and your own life experiences. So the same way we seek food and shelter for our physical being, seek motivation to fuel your drive and inspirations, and also don’t let it be haphazard. In the same sense that you won’t go without eating food for a week, don’t go with letting your motivation falter and diminish, because when your motivation falters so does your consistency, and if you think consistency is just a word, it’s not, it’s one of the main ingredients that you need to reach your goals, and that being “consistent execution”.
So what about self-motivation? Self-motivation is what comes from you analyzing and understanding the world around you, and most importantly analyzing and understanding yourself. That kind of awareness will give you much insight in the workings of your own logic and emotions, and of those around you. With this knowledge, self-motivation comes from simply reminding yourself of what you already know. This takes more effort than external motivation as you have to work consistently on reminding yourself of what you need to do compared to having someone or some outside force do it for you. But once you master this skill, you will become more independent and more focused and most importantly less confused about the choices that are correct for you.
Consistently seek out external motivation and consistently practice self-motivation.
Remember, in the same way that you run out of food in your fridge and need to restock, your motivation can also diminish and needs to be re-energized. The beauty of motivation and inspiration is that it’s free, it’s instant, and can be gained in a matter of moments and not years, through simply a change in perspective, attitude, or knowledge. Seek it and make it work for you, and once you have it, keep it consistent and use it to get work done, and once you have this down, get ready to experience a life that is in your own hands, where both the struggle, the journey, and the end become part of the prize.
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