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Looking for Motivation is WRONG

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Darryl asks:

“Being an OTR trucker, my biggest issues are prob sitting hours a day, getting decent nutrition. and some days more than others, findings the motivation to get out in the cold or whatever and condition.”

I guess it’s not technically a question, but this triggered me wanting to discuss motivation.

Motivation is defined as:

  1. The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.
  2. The general desire or willingness of someone to do something.

Lots of people have issues with motivation.

And primarily, I would say this stems from how we think about it.

Light Bulb

First, motivation is not a THING. You won’t find it in your glovebox or your refrigerator.

You can’t find motivation because it does not exist in reality.

So, thinking about it in this way does us no good.

Excuse me while I get grammatical for a second. This is needed to understand this key difference. Motivation is the noun form, you know, a person, place or thing. This is despite it not being a real thing, but is grammatically changed into one from a verb, or action. It ought to be a verb…motivating.

Motivation is static. You have it or you don’t.

Motivating is an action. Motivating is a process that occurs over time and changes by degrees.

This is why, as Darryl describes, he has “it” some days more than others. The process changes. It is not that he has possession of it somedays and it is lost others. But the action of motivating may be high or low, depending on a number of factors.

When you think of motivating as an action, this takes away from the woe-is-me reactionary thinking of I don’t have motivation, and changes it into proactive and responsible thinking.

If your motivating is low, then all you have to do is increase it.  Can you alter it from outside of yourself?

Watching an inspirational video clip, reading something along the same lines, listen to music that pumps you up, a pep talk from a friend, etc.  And although many people think of motivating as coming from outside, the better use, simply because it gives you greater control, is to self-motivate.

Can you alter it from inside?

Get in touch with your higher values, change the structure or content of your thinking, etc.

The further problem is that many people engage in demotivating themselves.

Picture how cold it is outside. Feel how stiff your joints are at first. Feel the pain of how hard you’re going to work.

Now picture staying inside, in your warm bed, eating tasty food.

Well, you’ve demotivated one thing and motivated another. All this can occur in a split second, internally in your mind.

Lastly, people often think of motivation and willpower in the same light.

That is, something you need in order to do something you should do, but don’t otherwise want to.  This kind of thinking is worse than just thinking in terms of motivation, as you’ve now layered in judgement.

Ultimately, the best results come not from forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do…

…but instead completely transforming how you think about it into something that you enjoy, therefore the motivating comes from the activity itself.

“I want to exercise.”  That’s desire.

“I get to exercise.”  That’s privilege.

It is no longer some off-in-the-distance reward, but a reward itself then and there. Both frames are more motivating.

How do you do this?

By discovering the mental training tools and tactics that I will be unveiling at the upcoming Mental Training Intensive on May 6th and 7th in Austin, Texas.

There’s still a little bit of time to get in on the early bird registration here. 

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