Motivation is a massive topic in the self-improvement world. As writers, we strive to provide motivation through our words and by providing precise bullet point actions. We create courses on mindset, personal development, and many others. And a lot of us create newsletters and perform speaking gigs to rally people and lift people up.
But despite all of this content out there meant to lift your spirits, teach you valuable life lessons, and enrich your life, you see that’s not the case with so many individuals who consume this content.
Many people have brought this up before, knowing for a fact that many people that attend even the most uplifting and inspiring speaker on the planet and yet not apply anything that they learned from that seminar.
All the same, people have libraries of books and have yet to tap into the knowledge that they read.
A lot of passively consume content, getting the warm fuzzy feeling that we have a chance of making it. And yet a lot of us don’t take that leap.
Only a small fraction of us actually do.
This isn’t to spread doom and gloom, that we don’t have a future. My question is simply this:
Not All Motivation Is Created Equally
This reality perplexed me for a while. After all, I and so many others are perfect examples of people who soak up motivation only to sit on it, plan out something or wait for the right moment.
And sure so many people tell us the right moment is right now, but there is more to it.
You see motivation works a lot differently than a lot of people think. We don’t get suddenly inspired out of the blue. All the same, I can’t force myself to write if I don’t feel motivated at all to do something.
It’s not a matter of the right moment, it’s a matter of how we use that energy that’s given to us.
Not all motivation is created equally and the sooner that you realize this, the easier that life becomes for you. Because as much as consuming content, getting pumped up, and getting shit done feels great, you won’t get to all three of those points unless you know how to use your energy properly.
What I’m suggesting is that there are two types of motivation that we extract from in order to feel motivated. Both are very similar to the point that you won’t be able to distinguish between the two, however, how they are broken down and where they come from are very different.
Motivation is motivation no matter the source and both can be used to pump yourself up and take action. The issue is that so many people are doing it wrong.
The first type of motivation is extrinsic motivation — motivation that drives you to achieve something externally. This could be prizes, awards, money, fame, etc.
I believe a lot of content out there focuses mainly on that. They sell you the idea to work out or practice affirmations for external rewards. Whether you are watching a video like this:
Or listening to someone like this:
The type of motivation that’s coming to you is encouraging you to achieve something externally.
Getting that raise from work.
Being in a loving and supportive relationship.
Travelling the world.
And sure listening to those videos on a daily basis can motivate you and you may change your life around thanks to videos like this.
However, there is a huge difference between consuming this feel-good content and actually applying what’s being said in your own life.
As you may have realized, extrinsic motivation is what so many of us sell and that we all love to consume. There is a lot of this content out there. But the issue isn’t the sheer abundance, but that so many of us are lacking the ambition to take action.
We may want those things, but we aren’t quite ready to make that leap and sacrifice.
And no, writing an article talking about taking action is not going to motivate someone to take action.
That isn’t to say that extrinsic motivation doesn’t work. It certainly does. Whenever I was feeling down or stuck, I go to Youtube and I watched a video from Gary Vaynerchuk. I don’t watch his content religiously, but coincidentally he releases a video that day that helps me to get motivated and put me back into the game.
But the reason why it works so well is that my relationship with Gary’s videos isn’t to passively consume the information like so many others. I listen to his words and analyzing them. I’m picking them apart and understanding his position.
I’m not learning how to take action, I’m learning how I can take action in my life.
I do this by identifying what the hell I want to do and how to go about it.
So consume as much as you like, but until you start treating yourself more as a student as opposed to a customer, you’ll be stuck. You’ll feel good and motivated, but you’ll sit on your motivation and opportunities no matter how tantalizing they are.
That is unless you use the other type of motivation.
The second type of motivation that we have is intrinsic motivation. As you might’ve guessed this is motivation that’s coming from inside. You feel motivated to do these because they make you feel good.
It may be for this reason why so many of us persuade others to “take the leap.”
Primarily because it actually does work. Though perhaps writing about it or having content revolving around it isn’t always the most effective way.
The best way for us to actually make that leap isn’t to consume more uplifting content, but for us to do what I did when I watch Gary Vee:
Analyze the information, and change your mindset from a consumer to a learner or student.
Obviously, this is easier said than done. There’s a lot of science behind it. From exercising to living your dream life these two types of motivation interact with one another.
And really the best way to figure out your motivations behind your actions is to answer a simple question:
As Simon Sinek has pointed out many times, it’s important for us to ask this because extrinsic motivation can evolve into intrinsic motivation. Take for example athletes and their motivations to train. I wouldn’t be surprised if athletes who participate in doping are motivated more for the potential awards as opposed to the love of the sport.
All the same, when people sit in a Tony Robbins seminar a lot of people may be more motivated by the lifestyle that he’s selling as opposed to falling in love with the process to get there.
It may be why so many of us have turned from writing about taking action to write about “enjoying the journey” or “enjoying the process.”
We’re providing more reasons and benefits to fall in love with the day to day activities as opposed to the external awards those things bring us.
That’s not to say the external rewards are not appreciated. It’s that the reason we’re doing something isn’t primarily for the awards, but because we enjoy it and enriches our lives both inside and outside.
This makes for more motivation from you because you’re moving away from material things and looking at the actual benefits from inside. This is key because while extrinsic motivation can motivate us to achieve a goal, it can be difficult to stay motivated because we’ll need to set the bar continuously higher.
Instead with intrinsic motivation, we’re doing it because we enjoy it. It’s part of our life and if we don’t do it, we’ll notice.
Motivation Is An Inside Job
Both types of motivation work but the key is to use them properly. Extrinsic motivation can propel you forward but only if you want that sort of award and the lifestyle that comes with it. Not to mention if you still want to be motivated you’ll need to be setting tougher and bigger goals as time goes on.
With intrinsic motivation, you’ll need to work inside yourself and fall in love with the process. That’s not to say that you don’t care about the external awards, but do something because you love it and enjoy it. Integrate it so much into your routine that if you don’t do it, you’ll notice.
Motivation is an inside job and only you can achieve this.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon
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