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The Innovation of Motivation

It could be said that motivation is the cornerstone to the recovery from many types of emotional or mental disorders. Without the motivation to change, to try new things life can seem bleak and without hope. It is my belief that apathy in place of motivation can lead to hopelessness; and that life without hope is hard to manage.

Motivation is not simply a word to be used to describe its presence or lack thereof. It is also a living entity. It has properties that almost no other word can claim. It can be bought, sold, borrowed or lent. It can grow and can be nurtured yet without nurture it diminishes and ultimately disappears. It can sleep and it can awaken. It can be given and received; it can push or it can pull; it can evaporate or it can clear the air of fog. It can be felt, possibly more fiercely than any other force on earth. Most importantly, it can be seen everyday on the faces of those going about labours of love.

Motivation is much more than a word.

Let us explore the word for the time being. What does it mean? It is used so often, and in so many circumstances and environments that we forget it’s true meaning. Motive for Action. When separated we can see the word for its true design

Motive for Action. Motive is the why, the reason behind what we are doing and 'ation' (action) is the actions that we are taking to fulfil that purpose.

When working with clients I am often surprised at their understanding of motivation and the role it plays in their lives. When I hear “I’m just not motivated” I cannot agree with the statement at all. We are all “motivated”, but are we motivated towards our personal development, empowerment and positive relations with the world around us; or, are we motivated to create challenges for ourselves, to undermine our self-esteem and take away our enjoyment of life. We are all motivated.

There are two ways a person can be motivated. The first is being motivated to get away from a current situation/mind-set/circumstance. The second, is to move toward a current situation/mind-set/circumstance. You can probably guess which is the stronger and most consistent.

At point A where a person is in an undesirable situation/mind-set/circumstance, their motivation will be equally strong to get away from the problem as it is to move towards a solution. The difference is two fold. If one is motivated to get away from point A, this motivation is direction-less. There are infinite ways to move away from a problem. The other downside is that the further one moves away from the problem, the less the motivation to move away becomes. One might then find themselves moving back toward the problem until such time as alarm bells start ringing and it is time to move away again. This has a boomerang effect, where the problem state reappears on the horizon just enough to push the person in another direction; and not necessarily the direction that they took previously. When motivated to move away from something, by definition, one must hold the thing that they are moving away from in their minds. This is not healthy I think.

If this person is motivated to get from point A to point B, this is a different story altogether. The common ground that they have is that they both have infinite directions available to move away from point A. The difference is that all those directions end up at point B. The additional benefit is that as one moves toward point B motivation increases. This is by far the most powerful way of sustained motivation.

Why do you want, what you want and what action are you taking to get it? Motivation is the birthplace of creativity, perseverance and, most importantly hope.

Photo credit: Jeshu John

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