Motivation seems to have become one of those inspiration trigger words that gets thrown around, especially on social media. Everyone is a spiritual guru on Instagram. Every girl on FaceBook that you went to highschool with is trying to pump you up to sell face cream with her. Your racist aunt Martha is spamming your family chat group with politically charged memes. Everyone is trying to motivate you to do something or feel some way, somehow.
We know motivation comes from the word MOTIVE, which is defined by Merriam-Webster as “something (such as a need or desire) that causes a person to act”. Simply put, that which propels you to do what you do and conversely, that which keeps you from doing what you don’t do.
We can examine our motivations for literally EVERYTHING we do on a micro level. Why we get up early or why we sleep in. Why we grab a salad for lunch instead of a greasy burger. Why we choose a certain outfit over another. There’s always something informing every tiny decision we make. Ok, that’s easy to make sense of. There are tangible things driving our actions.
But what if we look at motivation in our lives on a macro level? How we choose a partner. How we decide on a profession. How we decide whether or not to start a family. What informs our decision to propel forward into a major life decision or to step away from one?
The answers are FEAR and THE PAST. If you’re a thrill seeker at heart and there’s been nothing in your history that’s informed you to be weary of that, you’re more likely to go bungee jumping. If you or someone you love was ever involved in a car accident, you’re more likely to be a nervous driver, or rider, since you’ve been close to the negative side of driving in the past.
The trick is being able to look at the root of your motivation. To look at the root of what drives you and your decisions. And watch how your decision making changes. Once we’re able to see past fear and negative experiences, our motivation will likely change. We’re more drawn to taking a risk to better our lives. We’re more apt to take that vacation we’ve been thinking about, knowing that we only live once. We’re more likely to get up and go for that run, knowing that the pain lasts 45 minutes but the effect on your mental health lasts all day.
When we step away from fear of the unknown and whatever from our past is holding us back, we’re more likely motivated to go big for the dream. The career you desire. The partner you desire. The life you desire. Not the one you think will be the quickest or the safest or the easiest.
This sounds like some big time, next level spiritual stuff, but really it’s not. If you’re ready to change your life, think about what you really want and why. Simply. How long have you wanted this change? What could it bring you? How will you feel when it’s done? Those are the things that should inform your decision before anything else.
If you’re focused on the tiniest impetus of your desire, a decision should be easy. Don’t let that fire go out from the winds of fear and the ties that bind us to the past. Dig deep, look clearly and go for it.