Motivation is literally the reason that we do everything in life that we do, and quite frankly, everything has a motivation, even the things you don’t want.
If you often find yourself wasting away your time and never getting anything done, there is something, motivating you deep down to behave this way; if you constantly spend money you don’t have and end up with mountains of debt, there is something motivating you to do so.
Every single thing we do has a motivation behind it, so is lack of motivation really the reason so many of us fail to achieve what we want in life?
I have heard a lot of people tell me “Shane, I want to ______”, and you can fill in the blank, “but I’m just not motivated enough to do it.”
There is a way to find the motivation to make positive changes in your life and to kickstart a whole new level of personal growth and mental expansion, and all it takes a is a little bit of conscious effort and focus on your part.
There are two primary types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic.
These two types of motivation determine pretty much every single thing you do in life. You could basically say that your entire life is the result of your motivations and which ones are strongest.
Intrinsic motivation is motivation that comes from within. Intrinsic motivation either: fulfills a personal need or desire, or calls you to do something in order to maintain your values or beliefs.
The more urgent a desire is, the more important a need is, or the stronger the belief is that it motivating you, the more motivation you will experience. So to put it simply: the stronger the desire, the stronger the motivation.
That is rule #1, The stronger the desire the stronger the motivation.
Extrinsic motivation comes from a potential reward that will come from completing a task or accomplishing something. Extrinsic rewards can be any perceived value or reward that comes from accomplishing a task.
Some people argue that ALL motivation is actually a form of extrinsic motivation, because even if you do something because you enjoy it, the enjoyment ends up being your reward.
EVERYTHING that you do, you do for a reason.
Just to clarify: intrinsic motivation means you do something because you desire to or need to do it, and the desire to do it comes from within; extrinsic motivation means you do something because there is a reward somewhere at the end.
Wants VS Needs.
We all know the difference between a want and a need, but sometimes the lines can blur a little bit.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs was, and continues to be the dominating theory about motivation and why people do the things that they do each day.
- Physiological needs (food, water, sleep, and anything that is needed to sustain life)
- Safety (security from threats of physical, financial, or emotional harm)
- Love and belonging (desire to feel loved and feel that they belong somewhere)
- Esteem (the desire to feel appreciated and accepted by others around you, and also by yourself)
- Self actualization (the desire to be your highest form of self and reach your full potential)
These needs theoretically will need to be fulfilled from the top down, meaning that your need to eat will need to be fulfilled before your need to feel accepted. If you are starving to death you usually won’t care too much if you feel a sense of belonging, and if you don’t feel that you belong or have purpose in the world, you aren’t going to care too much if you reach your highest potentials.
A want is, very simply, something that you want, you don’t need it, but you may desire it because you mistakenly believe it will provide you with a need.
For example: imagine a person who has all the food and safety that they need. They make a lot of money, they are financially, physically, and emotionally safe, and they have all the immediate needs of theirs taken care of. However, they don’t have a sense of belonging or esteem.
In an effort to make themselves feel a sense of belonging and esteem, they start spending tons of money to buy things that they think will produce happiness and buy other people’s favor. Even though this type of behavior will not actually produce a sense of belonging or esteem, it may make the person feel better for a short time, and so they are compelled to act to fulfill a need they have, but they choose actions that do not actually lead them to the outcome they want.
This leads us to rule #2: Just because you desire something, it doesn’t mean it is REALLY want you need, but it does mean somewhere a need of yours is not being fulfilled.
There are 4 types of things in the world
- Things that you don’t want or need to do, and they don’t benefit you.
- Things you need to do and have benefit for you, but you don’t WANT to do.
- Things you want to do, but don’t benefit you.
- Things you need and want to do, and they benefit you.
Here are some real world examples:
1. Things that you don’t want or need to do, and they don’t benefit you: I don’t want to be a garbage truck driver, I don’t need to be a garbage truck driver, and there is no reward for me to become a garbage truck driver, so I have NO motivation to become a garbage truck driver.
2. Things you need to do and have benefit for you, but you don’t WANT to do: I need to start committing to recording at least one short 2.5 minute video every week for MakeYourBestSelf.com, I know the videos will increase my credibility, allow my fans to feel closer to and relate with me, and that it will build additional traffic and exposure to new viewers, but I just don’t like making videos. It seems I always find a talk myself out of recording videos each wednesday because my intrinsic motivation to not do something I don’t like is outweighing the potential extrinsic benefits of recording the video.
3.Things you want to do, but don’t benefit you: I really want to drive to the store, buy a whipped icing birthday cake, and eat the entire thing right now. I have a strong desire to feel my stomach full with cake, taste the sweetness, and indulge in this sinful treat, but even though I have a strong extrinsic desire to go buy a cake (the reward is the experience of eating the cake), I know deep down that it offers no tangible benefit to my life, and can actually worsen my quality of life. If my one moment of satisfaction leaves me feeling riddled with guilt later, then my intrinsic motivation to preserve my own well being will usually outweigh my desire to buy and eat the cake.
4. Things you need and want to do, and they benefit you: Finally the good stuff! Today I woke up and I wanted to write this post, it was something important to me, and it benefits me by helping to grow my site, it helps others, and it makes me feel good to get something important done. Since I have high intrinsic motivation (because I like writing and helping others), and high extrinsic motivation because there are a ton of possible rewards and benefits to writing this post, it is easy for me to do and enjoyable to do as well.
Rule #3: You will either want to do something, but you know you shouldn’t…not want to do something, but know you should…want to do it AND know you should…or not want to do something, and know you shouldn’t.
Sometimes we can be unsure of things, and that’s only natural. Sometimes there are different benefits and drawbacks that make it hard to make a smooth decision, but most things will fall into one of the 4 situations above.
Next, I will show you what actions you can take in EACH situation in order to get your desired results and increase motivation.
Rule #4. Motivation can be increased by focusing on building desire, by offering yourself a reward, by focusing on the potential rewards, or by committing the action to a cause.
Let us imagine that you want to go on a diet and lose 50 lbs, you just don’t want to do it. You know deep down you should be doing more for your health, but your desire to perform the real actions required is low. In this case, you have a deep intrinsic motivation to create well being in your life, but you lack the motivation to actually do it.
How could you increase your motivation using rule #4 in the situation above?
- focus on potential rewards- The first way to build motivation is simply to remind yourself of all of the benefits of what you are about to do. If you want to lose weight but have a hard time dieting and exercising, commit to thinking about WHY you are committing to losing weight and focus on those benefits. Make a list of EVERY benefit of what you are doing and look over the list at least 2-3 times per week to remind yourself of the REWARDS waiting for you.
Example: Imagine wearing clothes you can’t fit into now, imagine being healthier, imagine playing with your kids, imagine looking better, feeling more confident, imagine living longer, being able to do more, and being happier and having more energy.
- offer yourself a reward at the end of something’s completion- if the rewards at the end of your task aren’t enough to motivate you, try offering yourself periodic rewards (for long term projects or tasks), or try offering yourself a major reward at the end of the task completion. Extra rewards that are real and tangible will help incentivise you to do things that you don’t enjoy. A small reward each week, or a large reward like a vacation can add a lot of motivation to do something you don’t like doing.
Example: You really want to lose weight, and despite all of the potential rewards you STILL aren’t motivated enough to actually do it. Try offering yourself a series of small rewards and a large reward for yourself at the end of the journey.
Small rewards examples: if you lose your required 2 lbs each week then you can reward yourself with your favorite meal of pizza and ice cream or a burger and fries, each day you go to the gym you can play an extra 30 minutes of video games, or if you workout every day during the week then you can sleep in as late as you like saturday AND sunday.
Large reward examples: If you lose all 50lbs in 6 months: then you can buy a new car, go on 2,000$ shopping spree for a skinny wardrobe, take a large vacation, or buy a new industrial juicer.
- commit the action to a cause beyond yourself- The last, and perhaps most powerful, way to increase your motivation to do something, is to commit it to a purpose beyond yourself. Some of the most powerful motivations to do things come from DEEP ROOTED and internal beliefs. When we can attach the meaning for our actions to something greater than ourselves, it becomes a service and not just a simple act. You can commit your action to things like: other people you love, betterment of the world, helping someone, doing the “right” thing, or even to be in alignment with your own beliefs.
Example: If you are still trying to lose weight, but still having difficulty finding motivation despite the potential rewards, and despite the special rewards you are offering yourself, then it can help to commit the act to something beyond yourself. Imagine the face of your children, and imagine them growing up without a parent because you died young from a heart attack.
You could also think about how losing 50lbs would motivate those around you that you care about to start taking a more active role in their own health. You could even think about the fact that destiny brought you here to be your best, and by being 50lbs overweight you are neglecting your destiny.
rule #5 Motivation comes and goes based upon your commitment to cultivate it.
Your levels of motivation will come and go. Some days you may wake up with incredible motivation and willpower, and other days you may have little or no motivation to do things.
Motivation IS something that can be created, but it requires effort to sustain it. Remind yourself frequently of the reasons WHY you are doing what you are doing.
Getting in touch with your why is the most powerful way to increase your motivation. Whether you are doing something for yourself, for a reward, or for someone or something else, remind yourself why each time you feel discouraged or demotivated.
The 5 rules of motivation:
- The stronger the desire the stronger the motivation.
- Just because you desire something, it doesn’t mean it is REALLY want you need, but it does mean somewhere a need of yours is not being fulfilled.
- You will either want to do something, but you know you shouldn’t…not want to do something, but know you should…want to do it AND know you should…or not want to do something, and know you shouldn’t.
- Motivation can be increased by focusing on building desire, by offering yourself a reward, by focusing on the potential rewards, or by committing the action to a cause.
- Motivation comes and goes based upon your commitment to cultivate it.
Do you currently apply any of these rules to your life? What do you think about today’s post? If you know someone that could use some motivation, or if you liked what you read here today, then please give it a share on Facebook or your favorite social media site!