Less Motivation, More Determination

Anyone remotely alive- and that means all of us- know what it is like to feel like the wind has been taken out of our sails and we are sitting, to take the metaphor to it’s natural conclusion, like a rudderless rowboat in the centre of the Doldrums.

We want to do something, start something, make something, create something, change something, shake something up and yet. Sigh. The spirit is not stirring. Maybe we try and wake it up. Chocolate, masturbation, strong coffee, legal or less than legal stimulants. Perhaps we lay very still and wait for lightening to strike. Maybe we fill the space with that time consuming self-doubt talk where we convince ourselves that we were imposters all along, or maybe we distract ourselves with the minutiae of tidying something up or writing lists hoping that at any minute, the thrill of motivation will hit us and all the lights will turn green!

We compare ourselves to others, even though The Desiderata warns us not to. Sure, it’s easy to strive to be happy when everything is working out as planned, Max.

The other day, whilst attempting to hide from the midday heat, I watched one of those YouTube offerings designed to make Yoga poses look attainable, and I heard the ridiculous rubber woman say, “achieving your goals isn’t about motivation, it’s about discipline”.

Huh. I turned off my lap-top and let that concept wash over me again and again and again.

This was not new knowledge by any means, I have engaged in self-discipline for certain aspects of my life to great success. When something of ‘value’ needs to be done, I can do it.

But never when it comes to what I see as ‘creative’ things. For those I have always relied on a certain level of motivation and crippling perfectionism.

This has created ‘stall’ more times than I am comfortable admitting. I think hearing it put so bluntly woke me up from a kind of world-weary listlessness.

I totally get it. It is easier to wait for motivation because many of us believe that that’s where creativity and power comes from. But this is not true. Great artists and thinkers WORK at their craft. They have days when the writing or painting or whatever just isn’t coming…and they don’t stop for the day. They write and paint and whatever for the hours they’ve set aside, and they get up and do it every day.

Kernels of greatness may form from this disciplined approach, or they might not. However, waiting for inspiration generates even less energy than giving something uncomfortable 2 minutes of your time.

It’s that whole idea of ‘showing up for yourself’. Be hard enough with yourself to ask why you aren’t worth the effort, and then make the effort. Because you are worth it, and your ‘not so amazing’ is 100% better than your 0% invisible motivation.

Perhaps to you it seems obvious. In fact, it is obvious, but sometimes it is hard to see the wood for the trees.

If you want to achieve something, start small- there is another article on MGN about that- and just be consistent and disciplined until you get there.

Stop waiting for that magic moment when it all falls into place and unicorn farts fill the air with rainbow perfection. If that does happen, and you are already on the road through determination, you can ride those unicorns into the sunset like a boneless yogi.

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