Motivation is an odd little thing. We all need it, having built our society around it. In it’s basest form, it’s driven by hunger or need for shelter, and yet it can be directed in incredibly complex ways to achieve projects and remarkable magnitude. Some people find motivation in ego, others in fear, and others still in both. Yet, despite our need for motivation, it is fleeting, disappearing sporadically for brief moments or long periods of time. Stress, anxiety and depression can suck motivation away, but so can contentment or complacency.
Now, it’s been beaten to death that sticking to a schedule can help combat the lack of motivation to work on projects by making the task a typical part of your day-to-day. Also, plenty of people have discussed the importance of exercise, sleep and diet to help relieve some of the things that may caused a lack of motivation, like depression and anxiety. However, what people don’t realize is that sometimes it extends beyond these things. What happens if the tips and advice no longer work? What happens if we are not depressed, but still can’t get near our art? What if we sit to write and the words just don’t come even though we’ve perfected our sleep cycle? What happens when projects or chores or work goes unfinished because despite feeling focused we just simply can’t?
Well, then we have to dig deep and find our motivation.
Now, I understand that digging deep might seem like just another “face your demons” angle of handling missing motivation, like dealing with anxiety and depression. However, I don’t want you to focus inward and discover some hidden anxiety or fear that is the root of the issue. If you do, then perfect, but we’re specifically talking about what if there is no emotional distress holding us back. In this case, the best course of action is just that: action.
Take a moment and take a breath. Close your eyes if you need to, look out the window or at a piece of art if need be, and just think for a moment. Listen to whatever music makes you warmest in your core. Latch on to whatever emotion feels most natural and comfortable to you. The goal here is to eliminate any sort of precautionary worry as you approach my next question. Dive deep down and get yourself to your most imaginative, impulsive state. For a moment, don’t be a being who analyses everything against the backdrop of experiences and memories in your life. Don’t address every issue weighing the outcomes. Just exist for a second, in a blissful and organic natural state. Now ask yourself the following:
“If I could do absolutely anything right now, what would it be?”
Again, just react. Whatever you come up with is okay. It can be lofty and expensive, or it can be as simple as getting an early lunch or taking a nap. Feel what your body wants, what that core, capricious you wants. Because THAT you is where motivation hides, and that you has been asleep. So, whatever you came up with just now. Go do it. As soon as possible. Sacrifice whatever time necessary to do it. Call in to work (responsibly), spend a bit of money, cancel some unimportant plans. Take one magic moment and satisfy the most organic part of your mind, the one that lusts and yearns and craves. It goes without saying, don’t do anything destructive or illegal (and if that’s where your reactive mind went, then find someone to talk to and work through whatever may be going on). Also, if the thing your mind picked was too extravagant, then talk to that part of you (yes, talk to yourself, seriously everyone should be talking to themselves from time to time) and find a compromise, something more achievable. If that thing is literally impossible because it involves fictional creatures or superpowers or any number oof things that extend beyond our reality, then, well, you may have already awoken your motivated self. Bravo.
Hey, it might be risky. It might cost you some money or some PTO or some social credibility. It might be way out of your comfort zone. It might overtake time you wanted to use for something else. Hell, it may even take you away from that project that you’re trying to feel more motivated about. Fuck it. It’s worth it. Go DO. Take action and go out and do whatever it is your primordial self wants. Imagination, creativity, motivation, they’re all tapped in to the same part of our mind (I AM NOT A DOCTOR), and we constantly filter that area of our brain though the area of our brain where our prejudices and inhibitions lie. Oh, that isn’t a good enough idea. I don’t have that kind of time. Brent said that wasn’t any fun. I got hurt doing that once. I failed that already. I shouldn’t. I can’t.
Live the life your creative and instinctively driven self wants, even just for one day. Dig into yourself and rip that motivation straight out into the open. Let that part of you dance in the sunlight for one day and remind how to navigate past the dank filters of pragmatism and worry. Live illogically for a day. Laugh louder than is acceptable. Dress down. Stop counting carbs. High five a stranger. Live without second guessing yourself, without predicting the outcomes.
If you’re reading this, try it. Dig down deep and pull out the one thing that floats to the surface. What is it that the motivated you is missing? What does it wish you could do right now? Throw caution to the wind and live for THAT part of you. Show it that you still need it and that you want it to enjoy life just as much as the rest of you. Be impulsive, because impulse is nothing more than the most basic type of motivation.
(Just don’t do anything exceptionally wrong…. Seriously, I am not condoning violence and self-destruction)