Motivation is fickle. It can be compared to the attention span of a Jellyfish. It comes, motivates you, and leaves your body at an incomprehensible speed. And if it manages to stay longer, for months, or even years, it is still bound to end or die at some point. This is because it is a phenomenon that happens to you. It is not internal to your system, rather it is imposed on you. So, you have no control over how it will affect you and how long it will stay with you.
Before starting a project or a task, we start the ‘infinite search’ for motivation. If you tell me you haven’t been on this journey, I will simply assume you are lying. Motivation has trickled into our daily lives as a glorious concept to reach success.
When it does work at times, we need to understand that it is unreliable to be put into our routine.
If you are into the self-help/self-development/self-growth niche, you will be familiar with motivational content such as videos of “gurus” and success quotes. And most of you would have noticed no change in your couch-potato self even after watching hundreds of those videos. This is because motivational content is like an escape. It is a trick. You feel productive while consuming self-help content. But, what you are really doing is running away from other responsibilities and tasks that you have, all in the name of “feeling productive”.
So, what do you need to grow, start and thrive? If the secret potion is not motivation, then what is it? Here are some things you can build rather than a motivational drive:
Self discipline is what will kick you out of your bed, early in the morning, in the absence or presence of motivation. It will separate your tasks and responsibilities from any external drive. Self-discipline is deeply internal, reliable, and long-lasting. When motivation fails, self-discipline saves!
Motivation will wake you up at 3 AM to do squats to get your dream body. This is a fleeting emotion. This fleeting emotion might come to you every once in a while, but it is not enough to see a change in yourself. What you need is rational systems. If you struggle with communicating your thoughts, then you need to develop a strong system of learning the skill instead of relying on the “Read 100 Books a Year” resolution you made on December 31. A rational system looks something like this instead - “I will read for at least 5 minutes every day. It can be a newspaper article or a Twitter thread. But, I will understand the writing styles, tones, and audiences. This analysis system will help me make my written and verbal communication better”.
So, we want to end this blog by clarifying - Motivation is not your enemy, but it is not a reliable friend. So, to see growth in yourself, replacing motivation with self-discipline and rational systems is a reliable plan.