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Priceless Motivation Tip (Find the Self-Serving Motive)


All of us experience difficulty feeling motivated to do certain things.  When this is the case, doing those things feels like drudgery and we lose energy by doing them.  I have taught a lot about the importance of building a life around the things that you really love doing.  But today, I’m going to teach you another tool. There is a way that you can intentionally stir up inspiration, which can actually make you feel motivated to do the things you are unmotivated to do and fill you with energy instead of deplete you.  

Being incarnated into an individual identity, people are naturally self-interested.  It is very difficult for a person to feel motivated to do something when they perceive that they aren’t experiencing big enough personal benefit by doing that thing.  The way to change this dynamic is to work with your tendency to be self-interested and to intentionally find the self-serving motive that would allow you to feel inspired to do that thing.  Doing this boils down to an intention or a goal.  

So you can understand this concept, here are some examples:  Let’s say that someone hates being a helper. If someone asks this person to help him or her with a problem they are having, this person might feel completely unmotivated.  But perhaps they love problem solving. If their intention is to personally get better at the skill of problem solving, suddenly they will feel motivated to do it. To the outside, it will seem like they are helping.  But really they are focusing on developing and honing their own mastery of problem solving.

Another example is a person might feel totally unmotivated to do errands but they are totally motivated to develop autonomy in the world.  If they choose to go on those errands as an exercise in developing autonomy, suddenly they will feel energy to do it.  

Another example is a person might feel totally unmotivated to cook.  But they love art. If they choose to consider all of the ingredients to be muli-sensory artistic elements and decide to make art with the food, suddenly they are motivated to cook.

Another example is that a person might hate conflict.  When conflict arises, they have absolutely no desire to be involved.  But this same person may really, really care about safety and really be motivated to create and maintain it.  This person might see that avoiding the conflict will only make it fester and increase the chance of emotional injury.  If he or she enters into the conflict with the intention of consciously creating safety, he or she will suddenly be motivated to engage in conversation as long as it takes to resolve the conflict.

Another example is that a person may hate part of playing a sport.  However, they may be totally motivated to be the best at it. If they focus on their desire to be the very best at the sport, they are suddenly motivated to do even the parts of the sport that they dislike. 

Another example is that a person might feel totally unmotivated to do the dishes.  But this person might be dedicated to the spiritual practice of being in the now. If they use the experience of washing the dishes as a meditative experience of being in the now by really feeling the water and the texture of each dish and smelling the various smells and going slowly and watching the way the light refracts off of the suds and soap bubbles, suddenly they will feel more energy and motive to do the dishes.

Another example is that someone might hate the concept of going to work to make money.  But they may love the feeling of abundance. If they go to work focused on creating abundance, they will suddenly feel motivated.

This kind of motive re-framing is something that successful people do naturally and automatically.  To start this habit, make a list of what currently really motivates you, something you are committed to for your own sense of wellbeing and personal benefit.  Then see if any of those things on the list can be found in the things that you don’t like to do. 

Another tip is that if you don’t like something, find a person who loves it.  Study their mindset. Put yourself in their shoes and try to understand their experience so as to figure out what they see in that thing that you don’t.  You might just grow a whole new appreciation for that thing. 

In every situation that you find yourself unmotivated, see if you can find something inherent in that situation that really does motivate you and really does feel like it is in alignment with your personal best interests.  In other words, find the things that interest you within the things that don’t.

You can find a goal within anything.  It can even be a goal to have no goal in a situation.  When that goal excites you and motivates you, even doing things that you wouldn’t at face value want to do will feel as if they give you something and therefore feed you with energy instead of deplete you.





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