“Faith in oneself is the best and safest course.” – Michelangelo
When we do work that is meaningful or that serves an obvious purpose, we feel empowered and connected to our life. However, mindless work with no explicit purpose or observed results make us feel disconnected, bored and in some cases depressed.
People love things that challenge them. Challenges force our creativity to flourish. When we come across obstacles, we kick into high gear to overcome them. This is where deliberate living comes into play.
In the previous posts i have shared about how we need to lock in and be intentional about the way we want to live life. Deliberate living is kind of the icing on the cake. Many of us are going through life and not actually living life. We are not really in control of what is happening but we react to our environment and circumstances.
Let me introduce you to internal motivation or intrinsic motivation. It is the driving force behind your thoughts and choices regarding your career, hobbies, relationships, and other activities. It doesn’t concern itself with outside influences or external factors. Instead, internal motivation is centered on your personal desires and needs. So if you want to learn how to motivate yourself so you can begin achieving your goals and being a better you, keep on reading.
Internal motivation occurs when you act upon your impulses without the need for external rewards, such as money or recognition. These actions are, instead, inspired by happiness, exploration, or knowledge. It could be a hobby, like gardening, or it could be a fulfilling career, such as teaching.
When you pursue an activity for the sheer joy of it, you’re doing so because you’re intrinsically motivated. You engage in the activity simply because you choose to. It means something to you. And that, in itself, can be its own reward. However, when you’re driven by external motivation, you do things to gain external rewards. In this case, you’re motivated by factors outside of you. Parents, colleagues, friends and society come into play here.
To put it plainly, here’s the difference between the motivators.
Internal: singing as a form of creative expression and passion for music.
External: singing to gain fame in the music industry.
Internal: becoming a medical doctor because of your caring nature or interest in medicine and the human body.
External: becoming a medical doctor to earn a high salary.
Internal: reading a resourceful book for enjoyment.
External: reading a resourceful book as part of a school or work assignment.
Although there’s nothing inherently wrong with being guided by external factors, it’s important to understand that external situations aren’t always permanent. They tend to be far more fickle. And sometimes, external motives can also be counterproductive. For instance, you may need to switch companies, or your salary may decrease. You might have to relocate to another city. That’s why, in spite of what’s happening around you, you need to be aware of the internal motives behind your actions. Deliberate living needs to be exactly that. Deliberate.
So how does one get motivated into deliberate living? Three things are key: Purpose, Mastery and Autonomy.
It’s perfectly natural to want your work and efforts to mean something. But your craving for purpose may be more important to your wellbeing than you realise. Injecting a sense of purpose into your life increases productivity and engagement. The happiest people are the ones that feel their efforts serve something greater than themselves. When you feel like your work has meaning, you become more invested in it. You care about the quality of what you produce. And that care shows.
Believe me, after a certain amount, money doesn’t buy happiness. What does consistently make people happy, however, is the ability to create or contribute to something that will outlast themselves and that makes the world a better place. And luckily, there are so many problems that need solved in the world, there’s plenty of purpose to go around!
Think back to the last time you really struggled to master something but finally did. It was exhilarating, right? You probably felt confident and proud of yourself, and like you could overcome anything you put your mind to.
Overcoming challenges and mastering new skills feels good because it’s what you’re designed to do! As people we are deep, creative thinkers; we love to solve problems. But mastery requires constant and consistent engagement.
You may not be able to change your environment but you can absolutely increase your own ability to engage with your environment.
Autonomy in the business world is the ability to work unsupervised. When you’re autonomous, there’s no manager hanging over your shoulder, judging your every move, waiting to punish or reward behavior. You’re free to work at the pace that suits you.
Now i believe that applying this concept in your day to day life will also bring great results. Working autonomously might seem like it’d be a sure gateway to laziness but studies show this couldn’t be farther from the truth. If you learn to keep yourself motivated, you will achieve goals on your terms.
As a gentle reminder, try using the following techniques to help you rediscover your internal motivation:
- Visualise. Ignite your passion through visualization. Close your eyes and visualise yourself achieving your life goals.
- Rest. Even if you’re pursuing something that you’re passionate about, rest is vital. Take breaks and recharge when you need to.
- Focus. There’s no competition when you’re focusing on yourself. Ignore the competition and focus your energy on becoming your very best.
- Listen. Push your passion further by listening to uplifting audiobooks, documentaries, or lectures.
Control. Take your control back. Only you have the power to create your dreams and generate motivation.
Circumstances may change. Your external environment may not always remain the same. So if you really want to learn how to motivate yourself, it must center on the one constant throughout your life: YOU.