An Alternative to Motivation

productivity Dec 16, 2023
An Alternative to Motivation

Motivation is a topic that many gravitate towards today. Many people are looking for ways to get more motivation, but what they don't know is there's an alternative to motivation which we'll be talking about today.

The points we'll be going over are the following:

  • The pitfalls of motivation
  • The alternative explained
  • How to utilize the alternative

The pitfalls of motivation

Raise your hand if you've ever struggled with motivation. Keep it up if you've ever tried to find more or use willpower to push through. While these aren't terrible things to do, these aren't the best things to do for your health or your sanity.

As much as motivation has been praised, it has its definite downsides. Nothing can be all good and motivation is no exception.

The first downside is motivation is finite.

The most common occurrence for motivation is as a tool to get things done. We use that motivation to do what needs to be done, even when we don't feel like it.

However, that motivation can quickly dry up. We end up in situations that leave us in the middle of the process with no fuel to get it done.

The second downside is motivation is double-edged.

Just as motivation is used to get things done, it can also be utilized to not do things. This is why we sometimes feel lazy or why we procrastinate.

The force you use to get your work done can just as equally stop you from doing that same work. In the end, it becomes a battle of willpower which is also finite.

The third downside is motivation fleeting.

As quickly as motivation arrives, it's already gone. Far too often, motivation doesn't last long enough to get us far enough along to sustain the activity.

By the time it's gone, we've already fallen off the path. By then, all you can do is restart the engine when you've got no fuel for it to run on.

Motivation is meant to be used as the catalyst for a process, not the sustaining force. The alternative to motivation is used as the sustaining force.

The alternative to motivation

Think back to a time you wanted to do something not because you were motivated to do it, but because you were so content that you chose to do it. This is the state that many desire to be in, and it's exactly this state that is the alternative to motivation.

Motivation is not exactly a good thing. When we are motivated, we lose control over ourselves in the pursuit of the thing we are chasing.

Instead, we need to use what is known as eudaimonia. This word roughly means a state of well-being, happiness, and flourishing.

The problem we face with motivation is we can't find these things. Motivation is hedonic so the pursuit never truly ends.

When we achieve eudaimonia, we lose the pleasure from our hedonic motivation but obtain something greater: choice. We obtain the power to choose what we do with full consciousness.

This alternative to motivation isn't difficult to obtain, but it does require you to put in the time to cultivate it. Just like obtaining better mental health, eudaimonia doesn't happen overnight.

How to obtain and utilize eudaimonia

It's no secret that everybody wants to achieve more. However, the best method of achieving more isn't to go faster but to remove more obstacles. After all, why do more when doing less gets you the same results?

To become more eudaimonic, you need to follow this simple process.

Don't limit the pleasure you experience. Have as much as you want. However, when you have that pleasure, be mindful of why it's pleasurable and how it's affecting you.

The reason why so many people get caught up in their pleasure is because they indulge mindlessly. As a result, they continuously do them mindlessly.

This mindless consumption of pleasure strengthens the part of the brain responsible for hedonic behavior. When you consume mindfully, however, the opposite happens.

When we are mindful of our activities, the part of our brain responsible for eudaimonic behavior becomes stronger, while our hedonic brain becomes weaker. Once this happens, choosing what we do becomes much easier and we no longer need to rely on motivation to get things done.

This alternative to motivation does take time and investment to achieve, so prepare yourself for the journey ahead. If you'd like to learn more about this topic, check out this video.

An alternative to hustle culture

The whole thing about being more motivated, funny enough, is still part of hustle culture. This idea still pushes you to work harder instead of work smarter.

By becoming more eudaimonic, you are working smarter instead of harder. As the old nursery rhyme goes, row your boat gently down the stream. Stop doing more when you can do less.

- Karl

P.S.: I'll be taking a break until the new year. See you all on the 3rd of January 2024 and happy holidays!