This article does a deeper dive into Motivation. It describes how we can optimise our motivation to live a happy and successful life.
A Deeper Dive, A Deeper Understanding
As we discussed in a previous article 'Understanding Motivation", most of us know what motivation is and how it affects us. But often, despite this, we still get confused by the concept of motivation. So what is it that causes all the confusion? Why do we fail to totally understand motivation?
Well, the basic function of motivation is quite simple - it is primarily to fulfil a value. A value is anything that we regard as important - for instance 'having a roof over my head' is important to most humans. Most people will 'move mountains' to put a roof over their head. Thus, when we fulfil a value, we become happy and the pain associated with not having it leaves our life.
Likewise, if having million dollars is a value (actually it's a goal, but we'll skip that distinction for now), then someone who holds that value will spend a lot of effort trying to achieve that goal and hence fulfil the underlying value.
By contrast, someone who does not hold that value will not expend any effort towards it and may even sabotage their own efforts to achieve it.
All personal development gurus know this, and it is the basis upon which they build their motivational talks, sessions or books. What is a problem, however, is the inconsistent, outcome of many motivational materials. Some things will motivate people, whereas others will not. Most people search high and wide looking for 'the right' motivational materials.
So why exactly is motivation the main factor behind our success? Why not intelligence or hard work, for instance? These are important to success, but the reality is that whenever we perform a task, accomplish a goal or simply do some work, we need something that provides the impetus to do so. That something is motivation.
A Deeper Dive Into Motivation: How Do We Become Motivated?
Basically, there are three important ways in which our mind functions, and from which motivation can arise. Often this sequence is called a 'metaprogram' - it is a predefined way of responding to a stimulus.
In general there are 3 dimensions of the mind that can lead to motivation. These dimensions are perceptual, conceptual and emotional.
Many things we perceive through our senses can motivate us. For instance, we may smell the aroma of a spicy meal and want to eat it (or to reject it!). We may see something tragic happen on the street and rush to assist. We feel the cold and put on a jacket.
'Conceptual' relates to our inner thoughts. These can be values (i.e. things we consider to be important), beliefs (things we hold to be true), and rationales (preset sequences of conclusions based upon a line of reasoning.) Motivation can arise from a session of contemplation of an important issue or belief.
The emotional dimension of motivation is usually the last in the sequence that leads to some kind of action. Whereas the previous two are optional (any one of them or both), the emotional dimension is almost always involved.
The emotional dimension has many faces - as many as there are emotions. These may be fear, happiness, excitement, apprehension or anything else.
The role of positivity in motivation
In general, we set ourselves belief systems that are either positive or negative. In other words, we believe things to be either true or false, or 'good or bad' - that is to say, a polarity of outcomes. This flows on into our motivation. We motivate ourselves 'away from' things associated with negativity and motivate ourselves 'towards' things associated with positivity.
Therefore, when setting goals it's important to think in terms of what you want, not in terms of what you don't want. Indeed, your subconscious mind doesn't process negatives, only positives. Focusing on the positive greatly assists your motivation to achieve a goal.
A Deeper Dive Into Motivation: Summing Up
To conclude, motivation is an asset that is conditioned by the way we think. Despite what some say, it is actually within our control to condition our minds to be motivated. We must do this by having healthy and positive values and beliefs that generate this motivation.
Further Reading: 16 Things You Can Do To Stay Motivated
Next Article: We conclude this series - 'How To Live A Happy And Successful Life'
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