The other evening while working with someone on their goals, the topic of motivation came up and when they asked the question in the title, I wasn’t completely sure how to answer it. Now, that’s not because I didn’t know the answer, on the contrary, I very well know how I would, and some of my mentors would, answer that question. But, the bigger issue was this wasn’t the first time that this came up and I wanted to come up with a better way to support my answer or suggestions about motivation.
Let me first provide you with some insight on how I might normally answer such a question. For those of you who know me, you know all too well what my response would likely be. Quite simply, “If you gotta ask, you ain’t got it”. Now, over the years, I have learned to tone my brash and arrogant personality style down to be more appropriate for those with more sensitive ears. Today, something like “Motivation comes from within”, might be a more likely response you’d hear to this question. However, the fact is the sentiment is still the same. If you are not motivated, there is little I can do for you when it comes to achieving your goals.
Now, in my book, I talk extensively about the importance of “Why” when setting your goals. Because without a big enough “Why”, you won’t have the emotional constitution to power through those tough circumstances. The kind of life challenges that you will inevitably be forced to move through to prepare yourself for the personal growth necessary to achieve these life changing goals. There is just no way around that, some things are just like that in life, it is a challenge or struggle because that is what is necessary to prepare you for the next iteration of your growth.
That is why we have life struggles, well, that and because we have tendencies to do dumb things, and because we are stubborn and don’t learn as quickly as we should at times. If that last statement doesn’t pertain to you, then disregard it. Ha, if you even considered for a moment that the previous statement didn’t pertain to you, I just proved my point. If we are all being honest with ourselves, and we are driven and focused to be successful people (however you determine success), then there is a significant amount of stubbornness that comes with that. Meaning we are all stubborn with certain things in our lives, and as such, impede our learning and growth regardless of how perfect we may believe we are. But, that is for another lesson on another day.
So, the point of today’s blog is to touch on what I introduce in my book as the Perceptual Filter Diagram, which is pictured at the top of this blog. This diagram is intended to be the visual representation of what a person works through mentally when being introduced to a new paradigm, or circumstance in their life. In short, a new reality.
To quickly introduce the idea, imagine having the same old run-down car for years, with the same issues and challenges; cracked windshield, broken knobs or handles, torn seats, non-working CD player (if anyone even uses those anymore). Now, introduce yourself to a brand-new car, the car you have always wanted, and you are now test driving it. All the things you are frustrated with in your current car are not issues, it’s perfectly pristine, and better yet, the newer options are even electronic and automatic like the radio-reducing sound when you slow down, etc. And, best of all, it is affordable. You can walk off the lot today with that car, just for the asking.
Now, I ask you, if you could have that new car, you know it is available to you for just filling out the paperwork, how hard would it be to climb back into that old beat up car and drive it again, every day? How much more frustrated would you be with the older car each time you go to grab the broken handle or must open the passenger door from the outside, or.. well, you get the idea. This is called structural tension. You have been introduced to an expanded level of creativity. You have seen what is possible. Once you see what you could have, how could you be happy with what you currently have, especially if you are extremely unhappy with what you have now?
That point of frustration, or as I introduced it, structural tension, is where motivation comes from. The point at which you believe what you could have is so much better than what you currently have, AND what you currently have is readily available to you. Yes, you may have to work for it, but it is available, and you believe you can get it. That is real tension. Your new perception has been stretched and like a rubber band that has been stretched too many times, it will never go back to its old self, at least not comfortably.
This is the same with personal development or growth. Once you know you could have more; a better job, more money, live somewhere else, better relationships, more faith, etc., how could you ever settle for less? Logically, you couldn’t, not unless you are a masochist and like denying yourself what you truly want. And, it is human nature to want to grow and expand. As humans, we were designed to grow and expand our horizons.
So now, let’s bring it home. If we are creatures of growth, and are intended to be moving forward, and, if we know we can have something else just for the asking, then why can’t we stay motivated on our path to make the necessary changes in our lives? Why can’t we get ourselves to stay on track with our daily activities to lead us through these major changes we want for ourselves? Well, there may be a few reasons for that. However, the two that I help people uncover the most are that they either don’t truly believe that they can be, do, or have the things they most want, which is far more common than you might think, or, these goals they have for themselves are not entirely aligned with their life purpose. Hence, it contradicts their beliefs of who they are and as such, they don’t really want it or don’t see how it can help them. If you find that confusing, no problem, I will follow this blog up with one more to explain this concept further.
Lastly, I will introduce you to an important idea (I’m not sure where I heard it first, most likely it was Tony Robbins), but it basically goes like this; Inspiration is an external experience. Someone can inspire you, but no one can motivate you, for motivation comes from within.
A coach or leader can inspire you, to take action, or change something in your life, however only you can change something for yourself. Now, when it comes to motivation, no one can motivate you. Motivation is what makes you do what you do, only you can motivate yourself.
As I discussed in this blog today, there must be enough structural tension to push or challenge you to stay the course and keep doing what must be done to achieve those major goals in life.
I hope you found value in today’s blog. Comment below or message me and let me know your thoughts.
Have a phenomenal day and weekend. Thanks for reading!