“Stewart you dummy, what’s wrong with you!?” Uh oh, what did I do now?
In my younger days I had the great fortune to have completed Basic Military Training, courtesy of the United States Air Force. If you’ve been through that experience, you know that fear is the primary means of motivation. And it works - at least for the short-term. Survive and get out! Fear does motivate, but does it last?
I’ve also heard some great motivational speakers and their tactics are often the opposite of a drill instructor. Instead of using fear, they appeal to your “positive” emotions. Good speakers connect with the audience. They validate you and make you feel understood. They can make you feel pumped up and ready to go. Positivity motivates, but does that last?
Being in a leadership role, I’ve thought a lot about motivation, reading many books on the subject in an effort to be as effective as I can be. When leading a group of people, one must consider many things: How can we motivate others to achieve a shared goal? Can you really motivate someone if their heart isn’t in it? How can I help others reach their potential and feel satisfied with their life?
The most successful people I’ve seen are those who do not need to be motivated from the outside. I would describe them as individuals who have a deep motivation from within. I’d also say that motivation alone is not what characterizes them. Rather, they have used their motivation to develop discipline, and from that discipline comes hard work, and from that hard work comes an attitude, and that attitude shows a commitment and purpose. I like being around those people, and I really like when they work for Bethany because I know that I can trust them. They will work hard, they understand the mission, they bring a positive attitude every day. Quite simply, they just plain “get it”. I am glad that we have many staff members at Bethany who “get it”.
I’d like to offer a suggestion: If you have no one to motivate you from the outside, do not fret because that doesn’t work for the long-term anyway. If you’re not feeling self-motivated to take action to reach a goal, such as losing weight, eating better, or exercising, perhaps you should give up on “self-motivation.” Skip that step and go straight to discipline. For each goal you may set, there is a natural law that will govern the result. You want to lose weight? Throw away all your junk food and buy only healthy food. You want to exercise? Go for a walk. You want to help others? Volunteer. Whatever you choose, do something. Take action, start small (really small). Be consistent, be kind to yourself, and at some point, you may feel motivation from within.
“You will never always be motivated, you must learn to be disciplined.”