Motivation? Screw it

Sometimes you just have to get up and do it. So much of motivation comes from things outside of our control, that if you wait for the perfect alignment, or the right circumstances, the opportunity will pass. In some cases, the opportunity will be gone forever. The factors that drive us but are not controlled by us are referred to as extrinsic motivation. This type of motivation, if present, will obviously be of benefit and can result in great decisions and accomplishments. However, a lack of extrinsic motivation can have a powerful impact on us and really play a deteriorating role in terms of our ambitions and our inner drive.

The other type of motivation comes from within an individual, and is therefore labelled intrinsic motivation. In order for change to really happen, we often require a source of motivation, whether it be from an external source, or from within ourselves. Many individuals find it difficult to build and utilize intrinsic motivation. As a result, we often find ourselves simply ‘coasting’, where there is limited change in our lives because we don’t have the motivation.

A good example is when people don’t entirely enjoy their occupation and are ‘waiting for the opportunity to leave’, or waiting for things to be just right. They put it off, month after month, year after year. In the end, it never happens, and they live a life of mediocrity and boredom because they didn’t take initiative. They didn’t say, “Screw it, this needs to happen now.”

As mentioned above, some motivation will originate from an external source, such as your superior providing some sort of incentive or bonus to complete a task with certain results. External motivation may not always be this significant, but may present itself in a more subtle form such as dates or times lining up in your favour, leading to you making a certain decision.

Internal, or intrinsic motivation is much stronger and is more important because it exists within YOU. Nothing is stronger and more meaningful than what you believe – your goals, your ambitions, or your desire. Building motivation from within can be very difficult, and what makes it harder is the fact that external stimuli will often be working against you. This doesn’t necessarily mean the world is out to get you, rather things just don’t seem to be working out – there is nothing supporting what you want, or there is no one else behind you saying, “Go for it!”.

The most efficient way to create change for the better is to be base your decisions around motivation stemming directly from yourself. Ideally, external factors should supplement and encourage what you already wish to pursue, driving you even further. However, this is not how the majority of people operate. We often wait for things to seem right, thus cementing our thoughts and ambitions that would have otherwise never been acted upon.

Why you don’t need motivation

You don’t need motivation to succeed in a lot things. Look more towards your INSPIRATION. Now I realize inspiration is definitely an aspect of motivation, but I feel it can be separated and utilized on it’s own. If you are inspired to do something, there are emotions involved and these emotions should be strong enough for you to take action.

Let’s look at an example: Sue is a sedentary individual and wants to start exercising. She is not particularly driven because of one factor (i.e. health benefits, social pressure etc.), rather she knows it’s just something she should be doing.  Sue has been saying she will go with a friend, but their schedules are a bit tough to work around, so she has been saying she’ll start next week regardless. However, next Monday rolls around and Sue has made plans to have coffee with an old friend after work, instead of exercising.

Instead of trying to make plans with a friend, and then rescheduling for the next week, Sue just needs to get’r done. Forget the rationalizing and ‘let’s plan for this time’,  – just go for it. If you are inspired to get something done, then just do it!

We cannot rely on everything to be perfect in order to finally make a change, or even somewhat perfect. If the change is going to happen, much of the time it needs to happen NOW. As mentioned, intrinsic motivation is often hard to build up, otherwise everyone would be exercising, getting up on time every day, and eating healthy. On top of this, external factors have no mercy on us – social factors, geographical factors, monetary factors etc. You rarely have any control over these and you cannot rely on them.

Think back to a time when you were on the fence about a new activity, or goal, and you decided to try it out, to jump right in. How did you feel afterwards? It probably wasn’t so bad was it? You likely left the experience with positive feelings of accomplishment. It may seem weird, but this is one way of building motivation – to go into something WITHOUT it. Think of this as your ‘beginner’s step to motivation’.


In order to build motivation, you may have to jump in the deep end without any. 


Like many things I like to talk or write about, this ins’t a black and white topic. I’m not advocating you go ahead and do something you hate just because. Some situations take time to analyze and make a final decision. But for many things you find yourself on the fence about, try being a little more spontaneous – screw it and just do it. You will certainly look back on fewer regrets in life and have many more enjoyable experiences. 

Go for it,

Jeremy

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