What Is Motivation
What made you get out of bed this morning? Did you have to go to work or school? It is the motivation that causes you to act, to get out of bed, to work or to learn new things and skills.
Do you feel like something is stopping you from being the person you think you should be?
You are not alone. We’re in the same boat. But before I go further, let’s dive more into motivation itself.
Motivation can be internal or external.
Let me explain the external or extrinsic motivation factors first as they are so prevalent in our workplace or school.
What Is Extrinsic Motivation?
Have you heard of the stick and carrot method? It is what you’re subjected to every day. If you go to work, your employer will give you a carrot in the form of money. If you do a great job then hopefully you will get a promotion one day – another carrot.
On the opposite side is the stick. it comes in the form of demotion to a lower position or even losing your job if you are repeatedly bad at it.
Similar things are happening in our school system. If you are good at standardized tests, you get good grades and the possibility to apply to better colleges and subsequently better jobs (maybe).
If you fail at tests, the stick is the possibility of not getting a good job or getting paid well.
What Is Intrinsic Motivation?
Intrinsic motivation is the inner force that drives us to complete our life goals. When we find a job fulfilling and worth doing, no further reward is necessary. Don’t get me wrong, a reward is a good thing, a bonus at the end of the year makes everyone fuzzy and warm inside.
But that bonus is not our immediate driving force. Because we find a certain task or a job or a project worthwhile and fulfilling, we would do it even without any extrinsic motivation.
And that is the intrinsic motivation. Our self-motivating factor that makes us get out of bed and do life. Without proper intrinsic motivation, there is no fulfilling life. Here’s an example.
Intrinsic motivation can be to make a lot of money or to be famous. But to have a larger goal in mind is more motivating than money could ever be.
Research by the psychologists that investigated the University of Rochester graduates during their lifetime, showed that the students that had profit goals in mind for their main aim in life were not as content or happy even having successfully achieved their goals then the students who had stated meaningful goals for life in the research.
On the contrary, the money-hungry group suffered from depression and anxiety more frequently than students with meaningful goals. Meaningful goals group had greater happiness in life and rarely suffered from psychological illnesses.
Striving to change something inside us and in society is much healthier and satisfying.
Why Is Motivation Important?
The most important part of this question is actually its first word – why.
The way I stay motivated is to remember my overlaying why in life. What is the bigger picture? Why are you getting out of the bed each morning and do the things that you do? If there’s no good answer and you’re just coasting through life, well, you better find your why.
By finding it, you will always have the energy to complete the tasks that you might not enjoy but that helps to propel you closer to your goals in life. Remembering your why when the going gets tough will help you to overcome any difficulty put in front of you.
My big why is helping me stay motivated. It motivates me to write when I don’t feel like writing, exercising, or doing other difficult tasks I don’t feel like doing.
If your goal is to lose 20 pounds to look and feel much better, then that is your why – I want to feel and look great. Put a limit on the goal, let’s say six months and you can measure it which will greatly improve your chances of achieving it. Your why will help to motivate you when you’ll feel like skipping exercising or cheating on your diet.
Here is a famous quote from Zig Ziglar on motivation:
“People often say motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.”
Why is motivation important? People who are deeply motivated are also influential. By achieving their own goals they are motivating others. You might think they were born that way, but in general, they got motivated to achieve their goals early in life and they have been working on them since.
If you’re older, your ship still didn’t sail. Find what motivates you the most, find a goal and start working towards it. It’s never too late to achieve your goals. Dig into your why, print it on the wall if you have to as a constant reminder and you’ll never lack motivation again.
Famous investor Warren Buffet was a late bloomer himself. The majority of his fortune was accumulated after his 50th birthday, and between his 83rd and 87th birthdays, he earned as much money as he did in his first 60 years.
In his, The Motivation Manifesto, Brendon Burchard explains that to overcome your obstacles and to attain your personal freedom is to overcome fear. It served us well in the past and some people think it still does. But pretending that fear is our friend is like having a wolf for a pet. Sooner or later it will turn on us and eat us alive!
Taking action requires courage and it’s much easier to just coast through life on autopilot and do nothing.
“Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.”Ralph Waldo Emerson
In another great book that you can read on Blinkist – Be Fearless, author Jean Case offers an inspirational look at what it takes to overcome fear and change the world.
She notes that behind big change there is usually a Big Bet how she calls it, or a BHAG (read more about BHAGs in our article).
A Big Bet is the kind of audacious plan that defies common assumptions and grab’s people’s attention. Notable examples are JFK and his Big Bet on landing a man on the Moon that he’d made with the whole nation. A newer example would be Elon Musk and his Big Bet of getting us to Mars by 2030.
Case says that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to make a Big Bet. You can make one wherever you are in your life right now.
You just have to embrace the risk and take chances. Even if you do good work in your comfort zone, amazing, life-changing work is not done in the comfort.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time. Find the trailblazers in your field, and study their work and how they got to where they are or were.
Make your failures matter by learning from them. Accept them as part of the process and always remember your why.
How To Get Motivated And Stay Motivated
I have to admit that I have a shiny object syndrome. I get super excited in the research and development phase only to lose motivation once the initial phase is completed and it’s time to settle in and continue with the bulk of the work.
If your excitement fades over time, you’re not alone. It is a common problem. Lack of motivation can be something that can break you and your goals.
Researchers at Columbia University found that people feel more motivated when they have a sense of control and responsibility.
In his book – Smarter Faster Better, Charles Duhigg, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the New York Times, suggests that you can make this work for you. Simply let yourself make a decision when you’re stuck with a task.
Sometimes it’s not enough though and we’re coming back to the need of remembering the bigger picture and remembering your why. Even when a task is boring and doesn’t feel rewarding on its own, you’ll know that it plays a part in something important and that it’s a piece of a puzzle.
Be SMART About Your BHAGs
“When you reach for the stars, you are reaching for the farthest thing out there. When you reach deep into yourself, it is the same thing, but in the opposite direction. If you reach in both directions, you will have spanned the universe.”
Vera NazarianWhat Is Motivation?
Don’t be afraid to dream! Aim high and make a Big Bet or your own BHAG then break it up into manageable pieces and an action plan.
SMART stands for – Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound.
Although your BHAG might be scary and seem unachievable, the actual steps to achieve it should be small enough to make them attainable.
The typical example would be if your big hairy audacious goal were to run a marathon.
If you’re a couch potato or a recreational runner, this might seem impossible. You’re not just going to try to run 42k on your first day. Of course, you’d fail and give up afterward.
So we’ll break the goal down into smaller pieces which will help to keep our motivation higher as well.
The first thing to do is to make specific and measurable steps. Something like – run 10k without stopping. 10k might seem like much but it’s much more realistic and achievable than a full marathon. To make it timebound, set its length to two months.
The more progress you make the more excited you’ll be to keep going.What Is Motivation?
You can do this with every Big Bet or BHAG you have to stay motivated throughout its lifetime. Break it down into smaller steps. Make them means to an end.
Motivational Quotes To Inspire You
“Don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart.”
― Roy T. Bennett
“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.”
― Zig Ziglar
“Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness.”
― Steve Maraboli
“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”
“Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Do what you love, love what you do, and with all your heart give yourself to it.”
― Roy T. BennettWhat is Motivation?
“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”
― Wayne W. Dyer
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
― Pablo Picasso
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.”
― Helen Keller
“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
― Napoleon Hill
“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action. ”What is Motivation?
― William James
“Forget yesterday – it has already forgotten you. Don’t sweat tomorrow – you haven’t even met. Instead, open your eyes and your heart to a truly precious gift – today.”
― Steve Maraboli
“Don’t wish it were easier. Wish you were better.”
― Jim Rohn
“Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.”
― Marilyn vos Savant
“The greatest revenge is massive success.”
― Les Brown
“You make mistakes, mistakes don’t make you”
― Maxwell Maltz
“What others think about you is none of your business.”What is Motivation?
― Jack Canfield
“When you explore your fears then you set yourself free.”
― Stephen Richards
“When the sails are strong a ship has no reason to fear turbulence.”
― Matshona Dhliwayo
“Your real battle is not with the outside world,
it is with an enemy that hides deep within you.
Find it, Fight it and Set yourself free.
The key to your freedom lies in your deepest fear.”
― Henna Sohail
“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”
― Lou Holtz
“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.”
― Thomas Jefferson
“Of course motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing; but it is something you should do on a regular basis.”
― Zig Ziglar
“When the going gets tough, put one foot in front of the other and just keep going. Don’t give up.”
― Roy T. Bennett