Always and at all times we are in a state of being motivated. Defined as an enthusiasm, or a reason for doing something, motivation drives us, regardless of whether the outcome is positive or negative. One may be motivated to love a partner unconditionally, or to commit an extreme act of violence against them. Irrespective of the judgements we make on the chosen action, at its root motivation is purely a life force moving through us. If we are feeling emotionally or mentally deflated, there may be a strong motivation to go out with friends to drown our sorrows, or instead to seek help to truly feel better. What we decide to do depends on the conditioning present before motivation arrives and it’s what creates our patterns of behaviour.
Beginning with this is important, as commonly used words like lazy or idle are routinely confused or described interchangeably with a lack of motivation, rather than a symptom of it. It’s easy to sum up behaviour based on what we see, but when wanting to make significant changes, we really have to look beyond the visible.
Knowing which direction your own motivation naturally flows can be life-changing, or at very least eye-opening.
Motivation moves in a direction, it’s not a static state we experience but one that ebbs away from a target or flows toward it, depending on the vessel (us) it’s contained within. For some of us, the motion occurs only because the shore is so wondrously enticing and for others, only because there are sharks nearby we do not want to share space with. It’s the subtle difference between working because you don’t want to be poor (away from) and working because you want to spend freely (towards). Knowing which direction your own motivation naturally flows can be life-changing, or at very least eye-opening. Ask yourself, is it in my nature to escape confinement, or to seek freedom? Whilst they appear similar, they are quite different things; one requiring disharmony for action, the other only the dream of what might be.
Recognising which direction your motivation flows can help you consciously make pivotal decisions in your life. Ones where you may otherwise have allowed yourself to continue on a less favourable path. Motivation needs desire in order to move, you have to want something and it’s in this moment where, if you tap into the feelings surrounding it, you can make that better, more aligned choice. How will laying on the sofa, motivated by boredom, make you feel? And how do you actually want to feel? (Enter new motivation) Is there a difference and if so, what can you do to get to that new alternative desire you’ve identified?
What exactly the new desire is will determine whether or not you then need to locate your willpower. If it’s a simple case of binge watching TV versus cleaning your house, then the desire for a clean house (or not having a dirty one) may be enough. If it’s a choice between bingeing TV every evening or training for a marathon, then extra help will likely be required.
Willpower is the stamina that pushes back on the parts of us that favour ease and the best way to power it is passion. Being disconnected from what naturally moves you is like a knife to the throat of willpower. You can have as much motivation as you like, but if the part of you that loves doing nothing is just as strong, then whatever else you set out to do is going to feel like an uphill battle.
Rather than focusing solely on techniques to rewire the brain, sometimes remembering your passion serves just as well.
There are people in the world who for a lifetime overlook what truly excites their soul.
Passion, in comparison to motivation, has no direction. Passion lives in our core. It vibrates, pulsates, moves randomly within us like a bunny on speed. It exists regardless of outcome and is always looking for the opportunity to express itself. It can be buried and relegated, it can adapt and change form, but it is loyal even when we ignore it.
In moments where motivation feels like it is being funnelled into areas you don’t want, take it as a call to reconnect with your passion. There are people in the world who for a lifetime overlook what truly excites their soul. Their main concern is progress, not stillness, and yet it’s in the stillness we are given the best route forwards. With this knowledge and awareness we begin by degrees to learn how to move ourselves, and in the direction that serves us.
By breaking down the actions we take, knowing our desires and remaining connected to passion, we all stand a better chance of achieving the best life for ourselves.