3 Ways to Rediscover and Kickstart Motivation

We have all had the feeling. Those thing’s that ought to be done, the things that need doing…Its a strange phenomena, motivation. You’re likely to see many an article tell you a secret formula of how to somehow follow a set of steps and all of a sudden be reinvigorated, re-engergised with enthusiasm. That’s not the case.Most articles choose to pa their views, underlying their aim with a few bullet points that supposedly propel the reader on a one way ticket to a life fulfilled. This is the internet era, ladies and gentlemen. Motivation is a funny thing, so funny that everyone understands it but no one can cure it. It’s not a disease but it feels like one, its attached to what we have come to accept as disease- depression and the like, but it can also be seen alone, isolated, as it creeps into the parlay of everyday life.

It’s one of those things that needs to be grasped before it can be tackled, its a matter of the person and them alone uncovering the source and picking it out at the root. Human beings have a desire to be desired, and this manifests in the kind of person we see all too much: The nice guy.

What is the nice guy? It’s important to clear this up first and foremost. It’s a common theory, popularised in the 80’s, 90’s and most nototriously brought to the glistening light of the mainstream media in the form of that film you’ve probably seen by the name of Fight Club.  Robert Bly is an author, and his theories of rediscovering manliness play a big part in this film, taking a microscope to the very idea of manliness and its gradual disillusionment in the world today known as capitalism. We loose ourselves in a world so commodified and advertised that what we forget its what’s actually the most important thing. The importance of self. Bly focused specifically on men in the mythopoetic movement, but the importance needn’t lie here, rather it should lie on our importance to situate ourselves within our means and circumstances.

Without going too much further into this, let’s sum it up by saying that we are the product of our environment.

The great psychologist Virginia Statir has equivocated the family for example to a factory where we are made, and although this may not directly feed into the idea of motivation, this does has an underlying impact. If we’ve never been encouraged to do anything, then how can we be expected to do anything?

Its a reasonable question rather than an excuse, and with motivation comes a certain amount of personal accountability. When we find it within ourselves to do something is important, it is that thing-whether it be the enticement of a payday or personal reward- the source of motivation.

With that in mind,

A typical example is the gym. It’s something that people pay for, often enjoy and feel better for doing. It’s the act of actually getting up and going that a lot of people struggle with.

It’s unsurprising that the leading cause of motivation deficiency is laziness but beyond this, lack of faith in ones self, stress, procrastination and fear can all play a part. The art of finding the incentive to do something is twofold. First you must discover it and second you must sustain it. It’s a familiar feeling, getting that spark of renewed enthusiasm after, for example buying a book- but its rendered useless when that spark dies out halfway through, and it’s left waiting to be finished.

The worst position to take is to expect things to happen to you- that is tantamount to entitlement, and entitlement it the enemy of progress.

the kind of entitlement that deserves to be talked abut is the kind which people view in lieu of themselves, namely in the realm of personality most commonly associated with intelligence. It’s a fine line between proving a point and letting the point prove itself. For example, what use is any author in history if they asserted their intellect without writing but with that assertion expected the entitlement of being regarded upon that particular level they feel their intellect deserved. That’s not hoe it works, that’s never how it has worked so do not let the idea of self obsession poison you.

Entitlement robs of of our motivation, and this is why it is mentioned. It’s easy to say that we are going to this thing tomorrow, but if we are in a position of entitlement, items of necessity can often fall victim to this attitude.

Failing to posses such motivation can lead to unhappiness and dissatisfaction. It spreads from having these feelings associated at first with individual things (not bothering to revise, for example) to spreading through other parts of life in a downward spiral of sorts. It’s important to posses a grounded sense of determination to lead a happier, more fulfilling life.

Motivation is a victim of infinite regress. To be in a frame of mind to take action about becoming motivated…requires the motivation to do so. It’s like when you see nicotine patches advertised and it’s mentioned that it requires willpower. The same applies here-you have to want to make a change

With that in mind, here are 3 things that might help you to regain some of that lost steam:

1) Make sense of what is stopping you from doing things.

When it comes to being reluctant to do something, it is often a good idea to stop and ask yourself why you feel that way in the first place. For example, with revision, why am I so reluctant to want to do it? It’s worth taking a moment to write down an summation of the situation you are in, and work out what’s getting in the way of actually doing the things that you need to do. Clarity often brings about renewed ambition.

2) Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

When we are faced with a task, like the example of revision, it can often seem insurmountable. Getting into the sort of mentality of being overwhelmed can lead to unproductiveness, a failure to achieve what one wants that results in a final flurry panic.A good way of taking on a task that at first seems like a big challenge is to break it down into smaller parts that can be tackled individually: designating ways to deal with each one will provide a solid structure to work with, incorporating what obstacles or other commitments that will need addressing. Again, writing these things down and organising a calendar are particularly of use here, as it forms a map to help glide through each thing you need to complete with a clarity that adds a focus and drive to a day.

3) Assessing realism through inspiration.

Often when we find ourselves lacking in stimulus with things, it can provide for a good time for introspection in relation to others. When we set targets for ourself, it is recommended to make our aims realistic and achievable. Creating a goal of this kind often requires an incentive of some sort, although we construct these goals . Back to the case of revision: Once I have set myself the goal to achieve, it can often require some kind of push that gives me that extra motivation to focus. This can be found in other people, and it can be sometimes of use to look at others to help springboard your positive direction. It is important however to not fold into becoming a people person that puts others’ goals in front of their own- learn from people, but don’t let yourself get caught up in whats not central to yourself… analyse of the qualities you can adapt to better yourself.

A lot of the focus on many popular psychological journals online has been on this process of self repair. In many ways that is true, finding ones potential can be mean a mass reorganisation of their life, asking questions abut why we are in a life where we are doing things that we don’t want to do in the first place.
The reality is however is that a lot of us from all different levels of satisfaction in their lives are loosing the drive to do as much as they’d like to see themselves be doing. Forbes recently reported that 40% of American high school children are chronically disengaged from school. Its a problem that is clearly becoming more apparent as more people become alienated in a dizzying age of technology and instantaneous information.
Taking the time to develop solutions to a lack of motivation can mean gaining a more productive, consummate way of living.


Further Reading

5 Psychological theories of motivation to increase productivity

Psychology today’s section on motivation 

8 Things really efficient people do, INC
Psychology Today’s section on motivation


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