Motivation is the energy that moves us to do things, creative or destructive, throughout every day. Some look at motivation from a cheerleader or cracking-the-whip perspective: as though enough words or positive quotes or affirmations will produce the kind of movement that will incite action toward a desired result. I suppose that is one way, but it takes a tremendous amount of energy to actively convince yourself all day to get moving throughout the day. Motivation from within is far more simple and organic, albeit harder to find when you aren’t thrilled with what you have to do. Let’s look at a more encompassing way to get motivated, stay motivated, and really put yourself in the causative driver’s seat of your life without forcing things…!
First, it’s worth mentioning the work of psychologist and Columbia University professor Tory Higgins who, from his own personal crisis of no motivation, decided to dig into the study of motivation of a grand scale:
According to Higgins, there are three different ways to be effective. First is achieving a particular result, such as feeding yourself when you’re hungry or winning a game. He calls this value effectiveness.
The second is having influence over what happens—what he calls control effectiveness. “The adage, ‘It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game,’ is exactly what control is all about,” he says. If carrot and stick were the only model for human motivation, he adds, no one would participate in extreme sports, which have the potential to cause great pain. In that situation, participants want to control a situation that is highly challenging and difficult to control.
Finally, there is truth effectiveness, which is seeking what we believe to be legitimate, correct or genuine. “To be sure, what is true to one person can be mere illusion or delusion to another,” he notes. “But all of us are motivated to know what is real. In disagreements around the globe over politics and religion, humans are motivated to risk pain and even death to establish what they believe is true.” ~ via Columbia University.
So, we are motivated by desired results, how much control we can have, or a need to promote what we believe to be true. As much as you may lead a purpose-filled life, we all have motivation based on wanting something specific or wanting to control challenging situations. Essentially, we all seek to get what we want and avoid the pain of what we don’t want, and that is what drives us no matter what model you operate in.
The basic premise of all of this is that you have to want something to be motivated toward it, and without a want or an ideal or a challenge, there is no motivation. No matter how many books you read, how much you jump up and down filled with positive affirmations, if you don’t have intention you have no motivation.
How do you know what you want? Here’s what I know: When I want something, I am unstoppable because I just move toward it somewhat naturally without distracting thoughts. If I don’t want something, I find myself “trying” to be motivated. It’s hard to fake it. If you are faking it right now, you likely know that you are faking it. Things become slower, more stuck, more of a drag.
While finding your own bliss, your own ideals and what moves you is a personal endeavor, in your environment you can absolutely make some changes that help reflect back to you more of what you “feel” or “believe”. That’s what Tao is in this form of feng shui that I work with: connection.
If you are bored, lackluster, feeling lost or “not on your path,” check your home and even your office is you have one. Can you tell that you specifically live there, or is your space generic? Do you have books, objects, colors, scents or even pets that reflect who you are? Are you freely utilizing your space, or it just “where you happen to live.” Do you have imagery around you that incites a deeper sense of who you are? Are you living in the past?
Ask yourself these questions, and then…connect a bit more! Even one simple change, even the addition or the display of a single object that makes you feel more “you” will kick things off. The more your space reflects your personality, the more you will move toward that which truly motivates you. I am a believer in experiential living: the more you can connect with who you are the more situations and people and even objects will avail themselves to you that are “right.” When you know this for yourself, if it is real for you, motivation comes intuitively and naturally. The values, the challenges and the ideas become clear and you will not need to force life, you will flow with it. That type of real motivation is not something you need to artificially generate- it is intrinsic to everything you are, it is authentic and it is irresistible!
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And, as always, please let me know what happens!