“We must have a pure, honest, and warm-hearted motivation, and on top of that, determination, optimism, hope, and the ability not to be discouraged. The whole of humanity depends on this motivation.” – The 14th Dalai Lama
What does motivation represent to you? How do you motivate yourself? Do you require constant motivation? I want you to consider these questions throughout this article.
Motivation has come to embody a pivotal role in people’s lives within the developed world. Those from non-English speaking countries often lament how lazy we are in English speaking countries. Work ethic remains consistently high within the Asian and European countries. This cultural ethos is passed down from generations and instilled in their young.
Motivation implies one is lacking in this virtue. I gained an exhaustive education in motivation at the mercy of highly motivated parents. They were working class immigrants who arrived in Australia shortly after being married. Like many other migrants who settled early in the sixties, they worked hard to provide a quality of life for their loved ones. However, the idea of motivation still remains a non-descript term for my mother. I cannot recall a time in her life when she needed motivation.
Motivation stems from two main principles: desire and will. It encompasses a purposeful intent to give life to an aspect of one’s personal character.
I hold firm to the belief that you cannot motivate other people if they are lacking in desire and will. Rather you may inspire them, or as the idiom reminds us, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”
Recall an experience where you had to motivate someone against their will. No doubt there’s been an instance where a friend, family member or loved one required a gentle nudge. Was it a challenge to motivate them? Did they achieve their desired outcome?
An aspect of my work entails working with individuals as well as small to large groups. My duty of care is to inspire my clients by guiding them to explore their talents and inner resources. Over the years the more I sought to motivate a person, the less likely they were to achieve their intended results. Motivating a person devoid of inspiration is futile in the long run, since there is no inherent drive arising from within.
Many of my regular clients present themselves to training since they have sought the motivation to do so long ago. Anyone who gets out of bed at 5am in the morning to exercise is motivated. I am simply providing the medium and the expertise to deliver a directed training program tailored to their specific goals. They are clear on their health goals. They simply require the expertise and know-how to deliver results.
I may occasionally provide them with moments of inspiration as the going gets tough. Due to their hectic work-life schedules, many of them find it difficult to exercise consistently, while simultaneously remaining motivated.
So how do you attain motivation to achieve any number of goals? Listed below are three useful summaries for acquiring motivation when experiencing a brief lapse in enthusiasm.
“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” – Lou Holtz
- What is holding you back?: This is a crucial question to consider for overcoming a lack of motivation. Remaining stuck is an indicator that you have plateaued or reached your highest point in your journey. Perhaps you have hit a sticking point in relation to exercise, nutrition or other personal matters and require expert assistance to guide you to the next phase. Exchange ideas with people whom you trust and have a sympathetic ear to your plight. Seek the advice of those who have walked the path before you.
- A blessing in disguise: In his book Way of the Peaceful Warrior, author Dan Millman reminds us that our setbacks may be paving the way for something greater, “When we feel stuck, going nowhere – even starting to slip backward – we may actually be backing up to get a running start.” What may initially appear like failure on first impression might in fact be your greatest opportunity for success. Oftentimes being stuck serves to prompt you to find a way out of your dilemma. When you meet with painful moments, the mind hastily signals its aversion for this state and seeks to find a way through. Your mind is habituated toward seeking pleasure, not pain.
- One step at a time: We are lured in to a false promise that when we acquire something or someone, we will be happy and fulfilled. This inaccurate way of thinking conditions your mind to neglect the most important process which lies in-between, i.e. the journey. I am reminding you to enjoy the journey by reconnecting with the purpose of your pursuit. Your journey entails the people you meet, the friendships formed, the person you become, the knowledge acquired and the lessons gained. Without these significant measures, you risk becoming an unfulfilled somebody waiting for the next adventure. Following this line of thought, you are continually arriving at your destination instead of striving.
Wherever you are in your life’s journey, take some time out to reflect on how far you have come. Examine the root cause of your suffering and where necessary, make adjustments to your goals as required. Don’t be fixed on HOW you will achieve your goals – be open and flexible. You’ll know you’re on the right track when your goals begin to manifest with ease and perfection.