Motivation definition is one of the widely searched keywords, and that means that even after centuries of studies we haven’t come to the common conclusion on what it is. Looking through the accounts of our friend on social media, watching sponsored advertising videos on Facebook, or analysing the suggestions on Instagram, we see a lot of people who’ve spent the life motivating themselves and others, and many those who deservedly or wrongly call themselves a motivation speaker, or a personal motivation coach. All of those motivation memes and motivation music, that can be effective, sometimes overwhelm us and make us feel confused about whom to trust. We want to be motivated. The motivation for life and work means much to us. So, in general, many of us want to know what the motivation is, others offer their own knowledge and experience on the topic.
Struggling to improve our productivity and to develop our attention management techniques, sooner or later, we face the obstacle of motivation deficiency, or just a false motivation, which triggers laziness, neglecting values, and kills our attention towards the tasks we want to fulfil. In other words, sometimes what we call motivation, on the contrary, makes us lose any kind of interest and inspiration towards the work we have to do, even if we used to like it before. Let’s analyse a bit deeper what is the false motivation, and how it works to conclude what can be the real motivation for us:
I know you can!
I’m sure that at least once in the life you’ve heard this phrase from your parents, friends, colleagues, bosses or even personal coaches. The problem is that this motivation phrase has only a short-term impact (if it does have any), and in the end, we start feeling the pressure of others’ expectations. You start thinking that they know you can, so why you yourself don’t think so🤷♂️
If you do it, you’ll prove/ show your devotion/ professionalism
Recently I met an old friend of mine and found out that after 2 years of the Ph.D. program, he left the position of the economy teacher and started a small business as a real estate broker. I asked him when he decided he didn’t want to continue his scientific career. The answer shocked me a bit. He didn’t like to continue education from the first day he got his MA. But his parents would say that they had spent a lot of money and effort on his education. So to show the devotion to the family, he should continue studying. The first two years of his parents’ and relatives’ praise, the beauty of how it sounds to become Dr. Blablabla, and cues on how difficult it was to raise and educate him, would have some results. But when it came to the necessity for writing a paper, he found out he had nothing to say in it, and he just didn’t want to reinvent the wheel and copy what others found a thousand years ago. As a result, he’s 32 now, has a very good business (even despite the challenges of quarantine and social isolation), good income and plans for future, own flat and car… But he’s not a good son for the family.
Everybody is a leader, you just need to believe
Almost all the motivation training sessions preach how to live a good life in harmony with everyone and everything, but moreover, they want to grow and raise a leader from you. The problem is that, maybe, we don’t have to be leaders all the time and everywhere. I can be a good leader for my fitness team. But I really enjoy working as a deputy, or a secretary. I’m OK about being a social worker or volunteering. I might not need to become a big boss or to rule a big corporation. I have to be me and work on my own talents that may bring me some financial profit in the future. But becoming an entrepreneur is not for me. After graduating from Tehran University with my MBA certificate in the pocket, I started a couple of business projects, and they were successful. I still get bonuses out of them, though almost all of them have other owners now. But having spent about 3 years as a CEO and a big boss, I came back to the thought that I can be more productive as a business counsellor and adviser. Here are two reasons: I love my freedom, and having my own big company is a bit heavy for me, and why should I concentrate on one business when I can make 5 or 6 companies successful simultaneously? So, to become a leader, you, not anybody else, need to want to be a leader!
Look at you! What a shame!
The phrases above are hard to be called motivating, but people use them much to stimulate themselves or their nearest and dearest. We’ve got used to shame ourselves when we don’t want to get up early in the morning, clean the room, iron our clothes on time, send emails or make lunch for our family. We think that if we feel ashamed, it will motivate us to do something. For sure, it will add emotional suffering and drama to our lives, but you may not pretend that it’s safe to open THAT stuffed wardrobe! Again, this kind of motivation doesn’t bring a long-term effect.
If you do it, I’ll buy you a new dress/a bar of chocolate, etc.
Self-praising and self-rewarding is a good technique until it becomes a condition. Our mind is like a good trader, it is extremely professional in bargaining. At first, you set a condition, and your mind facilitates attention and productivity for a certain task, but a bit later, it starts asking for the reward in advance. So, in the end, you have a new dress/ box of sweets and so on, but you are still not motivated to do the job you were generously “paid” for.
If you add other false motivation techniques and examples in the comments, I’ll strongly appreciate it. But at first, let me share the motivation definition I believe in. We often contrast motivation to inspiration. But I would ask you to think of these two as synonyms.
Motivation must come from our inside world. People may help us feel more confident by praising, providing life hacks, and simply believing in us. But only we ourselves can start the motivation process following a small set of tricks:
- Who said that your job is boring? Think about this question. Often prejudice and negative attitude towards the task, make us annoyed by it, even before we’ve started. Think, whether you don’t like the things you have to do, or somebody else makes you think so. Provide evidence.
- If that’s really you who don’t like the task, look deeper, what exactly demotivates you, and how you would work, if this negative attitude didn’t exist.
- Analyse all the stereotypes that can demotivate you, and all the errors occurred in your habits like if I start reading 100 pages I’ll soon get bored.
- Give yourself a proper rest more often. It’s not about travelling or watching favourite movies, just let your mind rest passively for a couple of minutes, just to feel found if you are lost.
For more hacks, knock on my LinkedIn profile. Let’s inspire each other and spread positive vibes.
PS: Special thanks to Lidia S., Anastasiia K., Anastasiia P., and Anna M. for inspiring me to write this article.