What if we can redefine motivation?
I live on a hill. You can tell who lives on a hill in San Francisco because they usually have strong legs, and I think we have some nice butts here in the city because of it. Every day I have the option to take a longer, less inclined route home or a steeper, shorter hill. I usually pick the longer, easier hill. This got me thinking about motivation.
The body and mind want to conserve energy and do what’s easier. The harder the physical obstacle the more energy we burn and our body lets us know that this is not the easiest path.
The harder a math problem, the more our pupils dilate and our brains burn up energy. Our cells and microbes want all of our resources. They really don’t care about our ability to figure out an algorithm or sing and play guitar at the same time.This may be why it’s hard to feel motivated even when we wish we were. Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing — that’s why we recommend it daily.”
We often think of motivation in terms of what we feel like doing. Like that, “Yeah, I’m definitely in the mood to go to the gym,” feeling.
Well, I don’t know about you, but personally I’m not in the mood to workout well over 50 percent of the time. Exercising is hard. Sometimes it gets the better of me and I don’t go. And that’s even though I know I will usually feel great afterwards and that exercise is important for my long-term health.
We should stop depending on “feeling” like doing it. When you have a goal, don’t wait until you’re in the right mood to take action. The motivation should be the fact that you want to accomplish your goal. Basically your want is going to be way more consistent than your mood.
A lot of people come to Jaunty with the goal of wanting to meet new people. Awesome. Our free social intelligence workshop and six week course offer tons of practical tools for making genuine connections with people. But having that goal doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily feel like going out and saying hi to a fun stranger.
A lot of us feel social anxiety around approaching people we don’t know. (“What if they don’t want to talk to me?” “What if I don’t know what to say?”) At Jaunty we give our students homework to go out and practice the social intelligence skills they need to meet new people.
Everyone gets an accountability partner to help motivate them, even when they’re nervous. By focusing on the goal of meeting new people for friendship, romance, or work, we can push ourselves to take the first step and talk to someone even when it’s hard. And just like our legs get stronger the more hills we walk up, the more we flex our social intelligence skills, the easier it gets to connect with people. Let your “want” lead your motivation rather than your mood.
Written by Eric Waisman and edited by Fayette Fox