A couple of months ago a very intelligent woman looked at me and said, “I have realized that I do not do anything that I don’t like doing.” I looked back at her smiling and said something along the lines of, “Ok, so what does that mean for you?” On the inside I was having a therapist moment where I remember I get to be a human too- with flaws, inconsistencies, and areas for growth. My client and I walked through this realization together and talked about what it did mean for her as I bookmarked her above statement for me to wrestle with later.
And I did. A lot.
I realized I had been living my life waiting for motivation to give me permission to do everything.
I started wondering- what is motivation and why do I let it have so much power in my ability to accomplish anything?
Well, Webster defines motivation as, “the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.”
The definition of motivation does not say it is a necessary ingredient to accomplish tasks.
Webster defines accomplish as, “to achieve or complete successfully.”
The definition of accomplish does not say it needs motivation, either. The two of these things are not a package deal; however, a lot of people believe that they are.
This is what I now believe-I believe that many of us have started thinking that we have to want to do something in order to do it.
This is just simply not true.
I want to encourage us to start taking our power back from “motivation.” Our motivation does not cause anything to happen. We cause things to happen.
Motivation might make it easier or more challenging to achieve things but just because you don’t have a calculator doesn’t mean you can’t do math.
Just because you don’t want to doesn’t mean you can’t. And just because you can doesn’t mean you want to.
I have started to wonder what would happen within all of us if we stopped waiting to be motivated to do the things in front of us- whether it’s that stack of paperwork or making the hard phone call we don’t want to make. If we lived our lives waiting for a desire to want to do everything we would spend a majority of our lives waiting and not get very far.
Guess what? We have the ability to do challenging stuff and do easy stuff.
How many times did you actually want to write a research paper in school?
How many times did you want to go on that run after work?
How many times did you want to eat green beans when you were 7 years old?
Compare that to how many times you actually did these things.
I get it. Doing things is challenging; it takes energy and effort. But here is the thing about all of this:
We are wired to deal with struggle, pain, and discomfort. We are assembled as human beings to endure unpleasant situations.
There is a reason our bodies release natural painkillers when we get hurt called endorphins.
I broke my ankle in 8th grade- it was a pretty bad break- I would say there was a very significant amount of pain involved in this experience- but in the early moments I didn’t feel a thing. Endorphins rushed out and took care of the intensity of the event. I was created with a body that responds to my discomfort in order to take care of me well.
If my body can do that unconsciously then my brain can too- with purpose.
There are plenty of days I do not want to look at myself and say something kind. There are days when I have zero motivation to love myself. However, this doesn’t mean I don’t have the ability to treat myself well. So I do it anyway. And sometimes it is painful. There are days I cry through this temporary discomfort; nevertheless it is temporary.
And there is always something permanent gifted in my temporary pain.
And that makes in worth it.
Where can you show up for yourself today where motivation doesn’t?