How Motivation Actually Works

productivity Jul 22, 2023
How Motivation Actually Works

In this era, motivation is more elusive than before. The reasons to be motivated are far and few between, and the only ones really worthwhile are found within. Even then, it can be difficult to find your reason to be motivated. This is largely in part to the fact that almost nobody these days knows how motivation actually works.

The most common practice you see when it comes to motivation is to use fear. A perfect example of this is when a strict parent disciplines their kid through strict rules.

These rules end up suppressing the child's natural tendencies. As a result, the child doesn't learn discipline, they learn how to get around the rules without getting caught.

To properly motivate somebody, including yourself, you must know how motivation actually works. Here are three tips for the proper utilization of motivation.

1. The Game doesn't run off gratitude

Far too often we hear people complain about how others don't appreciate the kind things they've done. We hear this most often from husbands complaining about their wives. What they don't realize is they are in the wrong. To expect special treatment just because someone is ingratiated toward you is delusional.

It is improper conduct to expect somebody to give special treatment to you for something that is more or less expected of you. However, this doesn't stop people from harboring this mentality.

When you sign up for a position, you are taking on the responsibilities that come with it. This includes any work that is outlined beforehand or associated with your responsibilities.

An example of this would be a parent having to provide for any kids they have. You had the kid, it is your responsibility to provide and protect them.

To expect special treatment because they are ingratiated with you is being ungrateful. Sure, you put in the effort, but you also get to spend time with them.

For as much as you are giving them, you are also receiving. All the moments you share together with that person are valuable; to expect special treatment expressly for your efforts undermines this.

This is not to say that you can't push for what you want. This is to say that using gratitude to leverage yourself will only lead to disappointment on your end and resentment on both.

2. We like winning

It's no secret that everybody loves to win. It makes us feel so good about ourselves. This aspect of winning also applies to motivation. When winning is a likely possibility for us, we are more motivated to push for a certain outcome.

There are two primary ways winning applies to motivation. The first way is in achieving our goals, the second way is in receiving from others.

When it comes to achieving your goals, you want to aim at a good target. Not too high, but not too low either.

Aiming in this way allows you to more easily make progress while keeping yourself engaged. 

An example of this would be if you wanted to get in shape, but start out overweight. You wouldn't set your aim as just getting in shape, that's the equivalent of aiming straight up with a bow and arrow.

Instead, you would set a primary goal, such as losing fat, then you would set a smaller goal, such as adopting a healthy diet. Following this process lowers the stress and load of having to achieve something that is doable yet a little out of your way.

This combination of doable yet somewhat difficult is what will keep you motivated to keep pushing as you rack up wins.

As for receiving from others, we only like receiving from others when it benefits us. 

Going back to the first point, the game is not sustained on gratitude, but it is still possible to get it. The way to get that gratitude is to make them feel like they are winning if they keep you around as opposed to feeling like they aren't losing.

If all a parent provides is funny stories, food on the table, a roof over their heads, and maintenance of the house, if the child is capable of receiving more then they will not express gratitude for what they have.

However, if a parent provides all of that AND more, then they will receive gratitude and not only for those things. The fact that the parent is able to provide more than what is expected is what compels the child to express gratitude in the first place.

Getting only what is expected leads to feelings of not losing. Getting more than what is expected leads to feelings of winning. Remember this next time you are dealing with people or yourself.

3. Clear, concise, & concentrated

The old saying "spread too thin" is a saying for a reason. If you spread resources you need to too many causes, you will end up making no progress while being down a lot of resources. To make the most of motivation, you need those resources. To make the most of motivation, you cannot spread yourself too thin.

This point applies mainly to goal setting, but can also be applied to things like talking and decision-making. The more clear, concise, and concentrated your mental energy, the better.

Going back to the example of somebody wanting to lose weight, rather than saying that they will adopt a healthy diet, they may say that they will start cutting junk food and sugar from their diet.

Or if you want to start reading more, rather than saying you will read more, you could say you will read one chapter of your chosen book each day.

The point here is that your goal needs to be specific enough that you can take action without needing to check where you need to go with it.

Planning and direction are a big part of masculine energy, so getting this down will lead to you becoming naturally more masculine.

Take control of your life

To live without proper motivation sounds like a scary life. Doing things just because somebody told you it's the right thing sounds absolutely miserable.

Of course, keep your morals in check. Don't do anything that will uproot your life and create misery for yourself.

Instead, use this information to more efficiently make yourself into the best version of yourself possible.

- Karl

P.S.: So sorry about the website being down, I had to resolve some issues with the service provider.