What is it that drives us to get things done? It is our thoughts or more specifically our motivational thoughts, so what are motivational thoughts? They are probably not what at first springs to mind.
At a guess I would say your answer to this question is something along the lines of positive thinking and some cheesy quote taken from a book. These two things are inspirational not motivational. Inspiration has its place and that place is not at the point when you know what you need to do but can’t find anything within yourself to do it.
Motivational thoughts are designed to get you to take action when you need to and they are different for everyone so unfortunately there is no magic pill, no secret sauce for this one. You’ll need to work out for yourself what motivates you and that is what I hope to show you now.
Designer Motivational Thoughts
You will need to design your own motivations. It’ll take a lot of trial and error at first but the more you do it the easier it will become. When taken down to its most basic level there are two principles of motivation and these are pain avoidance and attraction to pleasure.
When attempting to motivate yourself and others a combination of pain and pleasure works best. Let us have a look at how we go about using these principles to motivate ourselves.
Step 1 – Questions
The next time you find yourself in a situation where you really can’t be bothered you need to elicit strong feelings of pain and pleasure surrounding the situation, to do this stop and ask yourself the following two questions.
What will I lose by not doing this?
What will I gain by doing this?
Continue to think about it until you come up with at least 10 reasons for each question.
Step 2 – Vivid Imagination
Once you have your 20 answers to these questions pick out the worst outcome of not achieving your goal and the best outcome of achieving your goal.
Step into each in your mind, really live the experience, what can you feel, see and hear, make it as vivid as possible. If these imagined experiences don’t trigger powerful emotional responses they’re not good enough and you need to find something else to motivate you or make it more vivid.
Now commit these emotionally charged imagined experiences to memory and visit them often, especially when you need to do something toward achieving your goal
This is how you create motivation within yourself. Actually stepping into the situation and living it in your mind makes it more real. Studies have shown that the mind has a hard time distinguishing imagined experiences from real ones. The more vivid your imagined experience is, the stronger the positive and painful feelings will be which in turn will increase your level of motivation.
Step 3 – Preferred Motivation Style
To help you in creating new motivational thoughts you should identify the ones you already have. Ask yourself why you do all of the things you do? Using work as an example, why do you go to work? Is it because you fear losing your home and family? Is it because you enjoy the things you can do with your pay check after all of the bills have been paid? Is it because you don’t even consider it work and would do it for free if it was not your occupation?
Do this for at least 10 different parts of your life. Fill in the blank after this question. Why do I ____? Here are a few suggestions, they can be as fun, serious, silly as you like as long as the question results in you doing something and not just thinking about doing it.
• Go to work
• Drive a car
• Buy my spouse/partner a present
• Get up in the morning
• Pay the mortgage
• Go to school
• Buy myself clothes
Even though some of these questions seem a little silly they will reveal much about what motivates you. Once you have your answers look for patterns in them. Are your answers generally pain avoidance or pleasure attraction. Your primary motivational driver is the one that appears the most in your answers.
Now you know your primary motivational driver you should spend more time creating motivations for yourself in this way. You do still need to create motivations for both pain and pleasure but there will always be one of the two that is more powerful so it makes sense to get these just right.
Motivation is driven by pain and pleasure. For the best results in self-motivation create vivid emotionally charged imagined experiences of both the pain and pleasure surrounding your goal but remember everybody has a primary style that will have a greater effect on them so concentrate more of your effort on this style.
Getting stuff done, get things done, productivity, productive