How Motivation Really Works

Every New Year’s Eve my brother-in-law throws a party — outside.

Sometimes it can get pretty cold.

Knowing that, he builds a bonfire.

If you’ve ever built a fire, you know it takes work. It takes more work to keep the fire going. If you leave the fire unattended long enough, it will die out, won’t it?

You’ve got a fire inside you.

There are two kinds of motivation — internal and external.

External motivation is when someone else persuades you to do something. This is a challenge because they have to overcome your natural resistance to any outside suggestion.

The truth is we sometimes believe what we see and hear, but we never doubt what we conclude.

That’s why motivation from outside has a short life. In fact, it has no life at all unless you give it one.

Photo by Free-Photos via Pixabay

Motivation has 3 parts.

First, motivation pushes.

Outside motivation is like pushing a wheelbarrow. It moves fine when you lift it off the ground and start walking. You give it a path to follow and you take it there.

Self-motivation means you choose a path and walk down it yourself. It’s your idea, and you run with it.

You push yourself or you allow yourself to be pushed.

Second, motivation targets.

There’s no point leaving the house if you have nowhere to go.

When you shoot an arrow, it’s far more productive to shoot at a target than to aim at a field. Anyone can hit a 100-acre field. Only a highly motivated person can hit the bullseye at an archery tournament.

When you have a precise target, you draw on your best resources to do what it takes to hit it. That’s more exciting than shooting an arrow into the wind, isn’t it?

Photo by QuinceMedia via Pixabay

Third, motivation rewards.

You do everything because you want something.

  • You work because you want money.
  • You marry because you want to feel loved.
  • You watch a movie because you want an escape.

You’re always motivating yourself.

You’ll stop when you’re dead.

How Motivation Really Works

What do you want from life?

It’s easy to find out.

What you find rewarding gives you pleasure or makes pain irrelevant.

Your targets are vehicles to get that pleasure.

Your desire for the reward is what pushes you to go after it.

Outside motivation works when it moves you toward what you want.

Zig Ziglar summarized this in one sentence:

You can get everything in life you want if you’ll help enough other people get what they want.

Photo by composita via Pixabay

You’ve just learned everything you need to get anything you want.

Will you be a wheelbarrow or a trailblazer?

The choice is yours.

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