How strong is your inner force?
14 July, 2011, by Seema Bhatnagar
Many a times we feel like doing something but somehow we are not able to get ahead. Even on knowing the importance of that task/activity we somehow feel compelled for not doing it. This goes true in almost every area of our life be it a health, relationships, jobs or personal growth. We start some work with full enthusiasm initially but somehow leave it in the midst and later on start cursing ourselves for not completing it on time. Let's say, you know that being a diabetic patient it is very important for you to have a daily walk or some physical activities, even on knowing this you keep on procrastinate and never go for any physical activity which eventually leads to a deteriorated health.
In office, you know that completing a particular task in time may fetch you a promotion or may be a handsome annual raise, but somehow, you do not do that and later on regret of not doing it on time and may be rushing to complete it at the eleventh hour.
In another example, you want to get up early in the morning for a morning walk or may be for a meditation and you promised to yourself a night before. You are all set to get up in the morning with the alarm set in your clock, but when it is a morning time to get up and alarm is ringing, you keep pressing the snooze button and beg yourself to sleep for another 5 minutes and this goes on and on until you press the stop button and somehow you convince yourself to get up at the same regular time.
Similarly you can count hundreds of such instances in your life when you wanted to do something but could not do it. Have you ever pondered why we behave in this manner and what is that inner force which drag us from doing the things which we want to do.
Motivation: A great inner force
My experience tells me that majority of the tasks/activities we do in our lifetime are due to burning compulsions created
by society or some out of our insecurity and for our survival. There are very few tasks/activities which we do consciously by
making choices. Behind all the conscious choices we make, there is a common factor of motivation. Motivation is that zest, inner
force or energy which drives us in all endeavors of our life.
Our personal or professional success entirely depends on the motivation factor. Our success in relationships, job, and career is completely driven by the amount of motivation we have.
The root of English word motivation is "motive" which is originated from the Latin word "mōtīvus" which means "serving to move". This word has a deep meaning and essentially it tells that anything which makes us to move from one state to another, which is actually very close to real meaning of the action attached to this word. Basically, we need motivation to keep us moving from one emotional state to another.
Reasons for demotivation
If motivation is such an important aspect for us then why do we experience its deficit? Following are some of the reasons which I personally feel are responsible for our lack of motivation towards anything which we want to pursue but could not progress or may be partially progress.
- Lack of purpose
We human beings are so wired that we seek purpose, logic and result for everything we undertake and when our mind does not see any end or any logic of doing a particular task it stops providing the required level of motivation or attention to that particular task and as a result we end up feeling demotivated.
- Lack of appreciation
Some people have a constant need of appreciation for whatever task or any achievement (how little it may be) from others. If they fail to see any appreciation coming to them, they start feeling demotivated. You would find such scenarios when you work in a team. Some team members have this need of constant appreciation and if a leader is unable to satisfy this need the members feel demotivated and the project timelines starts falling behind the schedule.
Similarly for children, if they are well appreciated for each and every achievement or any job well done they feel more motivated about doing more and more.
- Lack of direction
Walking in a direction without knowing the destination is another factor which demotivates many. Some people want clear cut direction for each and every task/activity they are performing without investing their own time and they expect others to provide the direction to proceed in. If the clear directions are missing such people feel demotivated or completely out of gear.
- Personal pride or Ego
There are times, when you feel that doing such activity is not matching your skills and undertaking this task is not a challenge at all and if you undertake that task people will make fun of you that you are doing such an activity which is below your level of expertise.
- Lack of recognition
Whether you admit it or not, we all have an inner urge for recognition. Recognition plays an important role in keeping us motivated towards our commitments. May be, some people need much more dose of it and lack of it results in a demotivation.
This is true in all areas of life be it relationships, studies or job etc. At home, we want to be recognized by our spouses, family members for our commitments towards each other, at work we want to be recognized by our bosses and teams for the good work done and in studies we want to be recognized for our results in exams. So recognition has an important part to play in keeping us motivated in all areas of life.
- Lack of control
There are certain situations when you feel yourself completely out of control, in all such situations you feel like getting yourself detached and want to feel more at peace with yourself. Many people are control freak and want to have everything under control and if they lose a grip over situations they feel irritated and out of control.
I admit, personally I am also a control freak and when things are out control I feel very irritated and find myself completely demotivated about doing that particular task and find myself more in a fire fighting mode.
- Reluctance to deal with complexity
There are times when things go ugly and complex. Some people have a proclivity to deal with complexity with immense ease while many feel distracted by it and prefer to work on a well defined work. So, sometimes complexity injects demotivation in us and we simply feel out of mood or disinterested in doing that particular task.
This is a single most reason due to which many important projects fail since very few people enjoy working in a complexity. In simple words it can be explained when complexity of tasks is not matching the skills of people involved results in low degree of motivation.
- Lack of liveliness
When the task or activity fails to induce the newness or any challenge,monotony sets in and it triggers demotivation buttons. You pick up any task which you do regularly and see how motivated you are to do it every day. Sometimes, we do it because we do not have any choice and we are supposed to do it.
- Lack of trust
Trust plays a significant role in keeping us motivated. Whenever we are working in a group or interacting with others we want to feel trusted and when you feel that others are suspecting your intentions and questioning your skills than it can completely demotivates you and you would feel like detaching yourself from the group or from that situation.
A trusted environment is a backbone of any group of motivated people.
- Fear of criticism and failure
There are instances when you feel that doing a particular task may invite criticism or as a worst case you may fail in that situation then it may put you off and as a result you would feel completely demotivated.
Patience is a virtue, well, we all know that but we seldom practice that in our daily life. You must have experienced that when a particular task/activity gets prolonged you feel impatient and want to complete that as early as possible. If not done in time, you feel impatience and lose your motivation to complete it.
- Lack of respect
When you are not respected for your opinions and differences in your environment you feel demotivated towards undertaking more challenging tasks and feel like detaching yourself from the situation or group.
Human behavior is extremely complex and it is difficult to predict what could be the right reason for demotivation, sometimes we ourselves fail to know the right reason of our demotivation and continue to live in that state forever.
State of being motivated vs. demotivated
When you are demotivated you do not feel good about yourself and it is accompanied with the feeling of guilty and
lack of commitment towards self and others, which also means that you stop trusting yourself for taking up new tasks and
challenges. This ultimately results in a dent to your confidence and also, other people will find you less trusting for
giving you more responsibilities.
For motivated people, you would find them brimming with confidence and positive energy. You would feel like getting associated with such people and would also feel energized in their presence. Most importantly, people have more trust in them
Why do we need it?
Imagine yourself as a person who is controlling things in life and making choices and executing plans to achieve the personal goals. How would you feel about yourself? Don't you think, it triggers a high level of confidence in you and you feel more energized and confident to handle more complex tasks than merely becoming a puppet in the hands of your bosses and other circumstances.
"People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents." ~ Andrew CarnegieWithout motivation we feel as if we are being dragged by a force and starts having poor relationships with others and live with mediocrity. If you look in the life of great personalities you would realize how self motivated they were. They did not need any external force to drive them to get results; it was their own commitment towards themselves which kept them motivated throughout the life.
Look at Thomas Edison, it took him approximately 10000 experiments to have a perfect set up for an electric light bulb. Well, he had all the reasons to feel demotivated after facing so many failures but his inner motivation kept him going to become successful in his experiment.
Dig in deep and find out what is that which keeps you motivated. As we mature and experience life our inner drive for motivation also changes and it becomes harder and harder to keep ourselves motivated. There would be a stage when even money, power and recognition will not motivate you even a budge. So it becomes very important that you keep a pulse of your emotions and understand what are emotional changes you are experiencing inside. It might be that certain things/activities which you used to like 10 years before are no longer appearing in the list of your favourite activities and you do not feel yourself motivated enough to do those.
How to enhance your motivation?
As stated earlier, we humans are complex entities and sometimes we fail to know the reasons for not feeling motivated or good enough about ourselves. The very important thing to remember about getting motivated is to understand your emotions whenever you are feeling demotivated. Try to see what is that which you are missing from the current situation, maybe it is your ego which is playing or may be the task is not matching your skill level or simply you do not see the purpose of doing it. Keep in mind the reasons of demotivation, discussed before.
Goal setting and purpose
The first and foremost about motivation is to have a goal or a purpose. If there is no goal or purpose behind your efforts,
it is most likely that you will feel demotivated very soon. Goal setting is an important skill to learn. While
learn to set SMART (Simple, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) goals. If you set some unrealistic goals for yourself,
again, it will drive you in a demotivated state very soon.
You must understand what is that interest, desire or dream which can engage you in a current activity or task. If you fail to
get an idea about it, then you will not be able to channelize your energy in one direction and will soon lose your motivation.
I would suggest to do this exercise for every little task you are doing, it is very simple, before you start any task ask
yourself, why am I doing this and what are the results I am looking for once I complete this activity.
So motivation is more about getting into action and making yourself more confident each day by deciding the goals and associated plan to achieve those. You would feel more in control and while doing so you will also get the details of the tasks and your opinions and interests about the task. Overall, it is a win-win situation for you as you get motivated and would also understand your own emotions and interests.
Remember, your motivation can determine your professional and personal success. Rather than getting externally motivated try to get inner motivation as it is this force which always remains with you. It is important to sharpen this force so that it works for you and make you successful. Be committed toward the goals you have set up for yourself. Even a small commitment will make a big difference to your motivation level. When you would start seeing the results of our commitments your motivation level will start touching the peaks and only then you would feel and appreciate the inner force of motivation.
Wishing you a motivated and happy life.