You don’t have to be “motivated” in order to do something. You really don’t.
Don’t get me wrong— it’s much easier to do something if we’re motivated to to do it.
We’re generally much happier doing things if we’re motivated to do them.
But it’s not, strictly speaking, necessary to be motivated or enthusiastic about it in order to just get it done.
That said, a lot of people seem to have bought into the fallacy that we need to be “motivated” to do something in order to get it off our plate. They think we need to have “drive” to do it.
What these people are really saying is, if I don’t want to do it, if I don’t feel like it, if I’m not “motivated” to do it or experience “drive” to do it…that’s going to be my excuse not to do it.
You can see the problem here— if we only did things we were “motivated” to do at the moment, then there is a large subset of things that wouldn’t get done at all. More specifically, there is a large subset of intermediate or steppingstone tasks that are the building blocks of our bigger goals that aren’t particularly “motivating.”
Lots of people are motivated, in the abstract, to lose weight. They’re not particularly motivated to keep a food journal or undertake a new exercise program in the moment.
Lots of people are motivated, in the abstract, to set goals. They’re not particularly motivated to define the daily tasks that need to get done en route to those goals.
Lots of people are motivated, in the abstract, to develop expertise at a particular skill. They’re not particularly motivated to work, every day, at getting better at that skill.
The good news is, the necessity of “motivation” is a myth.
People do things they’re not “motivated” to do every day.
People accomplish things they don’t experience particular “drive” toward, every day.
They figure out a way to keep their eyes on the ultimate prize while getting through the momentary inconvenience of doing the intermediate thing they are unmotivated to do.
What we have, then is essentially a problem to be solved. How do I harness the motivation I experience toward my larger goal, and keep that in the forefront of my mind as I hack away at this intermediate goal?
How do I mentally kill time while I get this intermediate task off of my plate?
How can I direct my focus such that the little, everyday tasks involved in this larger goal don’t defeat me?
The answer lies in learning to control your focus.
And controlling your focus is all about controlling what you say when you talk to yourself; what you see on the movie screen of your mind; and how you intentionally filter incoming data and stimuli.
The real truth of the matter is, we’re doing this all the time already. We’re just not particularly aware of what we’re doing.
Every day, we manage what we say to ourselves to produce certain states of focus, motivation, or un-motivation. The level of motivation you feel to do anything, right now? Is a direct result of what you say to yourself.
Every day, we manage what we allow to be shown on the movie screens of our minds. The level of excitement or enthusiasm you feel to do anything, right now? Is a direct result of what you’re watching on the movie screen inside your head.
You can take control of it.
You can notice how you talk to yourself, what those voices in your head say.
You can notice what’s on the movies screen inside your mind…and you can change it.
It takes a little practice, is all.
Think about this: you ALREADY do things you’re not terribly enthusiastic about or motivated to do. I guarantee that not everything you choose to do in a day, you’re terribly jazzed to do. You ALREADY know how to push through periods of low motivation and low enthusiasm.
Your task now is to take this skill— which you already have— and apply it to the thing you’re supposedly not motivated to do…but which is attached to a larger goal that you ARE enthusiastic about.
Not motivated to do the thing?
Lost your “drive” to do it?
Do it anyway.
You know how.
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