Is motivation a myth?

Self-help book author Robert D. Smith believes there is no ‘secret’ to this force we call motivation, and that we should stop searching for it and simply start doing things.

How to bring happiness into your life

You may have been there before: you know the task you need to do, you’ve thought about all the positive things that will come out of doing it, and you’ve even given yourself time to do it. But then nothing happens. You just can’t do it.

And why? Because you’re waiting for that click, that little spark of motivation to fly out of the stratosphere and whir you into motion. According to Smith, if this sounds like you then you have a long wait ahead of you – because motivation as we know it is entirely a myth. And here are his reasons:

Productivity comes before motivation

Consider this for a moment: when do you feel more motivated, before you start a big project, or once you’ve spent some time organising what you have to do? Often when we think about all the things we need to do it can feel a little daunting. However, once you start chiselling away and making some progress, you can start to feel riled up to complete the project. That energy you experience is real motivation.

Motivation is a product of productivity, and not the other way round as most people think.

You are in control of your own feelings

William James, father of modern psychology once wrote: “I don’t sing because I’m happy, I’m happy because I sing.” In terms of getting things done, productivity doesn’t come because you’re motivated, motivation comes because you’re productive.

Motivation isn’t some magical external force. It comes from within you and only you have the power to feel it. When you wait to feel motivated, you paradoxically cut yourself off from the potential to feel motivated.

The only way to coax it out of yourself is with sustained action.

There is no ‘secret’ to motivation

There have been many articles written about how to motivate oneself, and there will be many more. However, motivation is actually a lot simpler than that. It’s not hidden behind a mysterious curtain – it’s there, right inside you. All you need to do is work hard and keep working hard.

Break everything down into bite sized chunks – don’t look at the whole task. Do 15 minutes and then 15 minutes more. Before long all the 15 minutes will add up and the task will be done. Once you get into the swing of things the motivation to carry on will hit you and you’ll find it so much easier to keep going.

The ‘secret’ of motivation is doing something, even if you don’t feel like it.

To find out how a life coach could help you find motivation, please visit our Motivation page.

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Written by Zoe Thomas
Written by Zoe Thomas
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