We all know these days were just want to do nothing because you don´t have the energy or motivation.
But the question is, why are you not motivated? Has it something to do with the type of motivation that drives you? And can having ambitions help? And how to get more motivated and do more meaningful things?
Why are you not motivated?
With motivation, you can archive the things you want in life, anything from pursuing simple daily goals to lifelong dreams. Not only can deeply motivate people to reach their own goals but also motivate others on the way.
There is always something stopping you from being completely free, and this is where we become frustrated easily. When we don´t have personal freedom, we can´t realize our full potential as an individual or in society.
The problem if you stop demanding the freedom you need, you rapidly lose your drive and purpose. And then you become a slave of the wants and expectations of others.
This lack of freedom can easily get out of control and do serious damage to people and entire societies. Most of us worry about what other people think, which makes us afraid to pursue the things we really want in life.
But the question is, how can you defeat these obstacles to get more fulfilled and more joy?
You need to overcome fear to get your personal freedom. Fear is a part of our human psyche and served us well in the evolutionary past fear by keeping us from danger.
In the modern world, people say fear is natural, and it makes you work harder, Yes, this may sometimes be true, but in most cases, it isn´t.
When you pretend fear is your friend, it is like having a predator as a pet. Sooner or later, this wild animal might turn on you and eat you alive.
The different types of motivation
Throughout the year's people were driven by different motivations:
Motivation 1.0 was the search for food and drinks, shelter, and the desire to reproduce. These were the basic needs and the main driving force of humanity up until a few centuries ago. But as production cycles got more complex, there were other needs.
Motivation 2.0 is extrinsic and based on rewards and punishment by a third party or also described as a stick to the carrot. The strategy is that rewards help to get a desirable behavior for the company. When prospects have higher wages in mind, modern employees are quicker to respond to emails work more efficiently.
And the punishment is used to prevent undesirable behavior. Someone who is constantly late will be criticized in front of the whole team. And a person is threatened with losing their job if they steal materials from the workplace.
Employees who rely on this extrinsic motivation work have no enthusiasm for their work and will try to shrink any responsibility. Therefore, those in a management position must always direct and supervise employees.
While some modern companies have relaxed things like dress codes or variable working hours to keep their workers happy. Motivation 2.0 still continues to dominate the world. Most managing parties of the majority of firms are sure that when it comes to motivating employees that the only important factor other than basic human needs is to use rewards and punishment. And they manage their workers according to this concept.
In many repair garages, mechanics are promised a bonus for a certain number of repairs within a specific time frame. Many think that motivates the workers to provide results that satisfy their customers.
But instead, the strategy can backfire when they want to get to target the number of repairs so they can secure their reward. They may make unnecessary repairs that annoy their customers and damage the company as a result. The goal was to promote efficient work, but instead, customers lose faith in the garage despite delivering on time.
In India, an agility test was made where different sums of money for hitting targets were promised. The result that sus would get the most money performed the worst. The financial motivation put higher pressure on the participants who failed to improve their performance but actually made it worse.
The reward system can be effective for a routine task like a packaging bag in a supermarket. But if the work requires more creativity, then this stick and carrot motivation can lead to bad behavior and a decline in performance where work takes longer and isn´t as good.
It was assumed that human and animal behavior are controlled by inner drives and exterior motivations. Until 1949 professor of physiology Harry Harlow made a discovery that disproved this theory.
He gave eight monkeys a mechanical puzzle to solve. The primates didn´t get any reward, neither food nor praise if they solved the puzzle. So he was convinced they wouldn’t concern themselves with it.
But the monkeys tried it found out how it worked without any encouragement, and they solved it with great enjoyment. This behavior is also typical for us humans.
Something similar happens with the online encyclopedia Wikipedia where tens of thousands of people write and edit articles voluntarily out of pure enjoyment. They invest valuable time without receiving not even the lowest material reward in return. And now it is one of the most used sources on the internet and only this with the help of voluntary writers.
Both the monkey example and Wikipedia used motivation that is not driven by rewards or punishment. So why does it work?
There is another force that drives us; it is the intrinsic Motivation 3.0. When a person has a fulfilling job, no further reward is necessary. It lets people publish a recipe on the internet or program a free application as long it has a benefit for others; it gives them enough motivation.
Intrinsically motivated people want to be able to dictate when and what they work on what they are responsible for. They don´t need to be directed or rewarded because they enjoy working voluntarily without demanding anything in return.
For motivation 3.0, there is the inner urge to archive perfection. It allows people to improve an area important to them, which brings passion and commitment to the pursuit of goals.
Many only fulfill their duties but lack passion because they have few opportunities for personal development.
Indifference creative people have driven to perfection, so they work in a flow state, which is when you do tasks with the highest degree of concentration and passion. It lets you forget the world around you.
The flow state doesn’t last for very long periods, but it can appear frequently. When you are in the flow state, you more likely to experience a drive of perfection. Where the concept is that continual improvement is enough to motivate us in all areas of our life.
While some people think skills are determined at birth, they are very difficult to motivate. However, those who believe that they are able to develop further will work harder to improve their skills.
Of course, perfection is something we can never archive it but nevertheless something you could strive for by being ambitious to become the best version of yourself.
Finding your ambition
So why are some people just having full of energy and purpose and life? You might think they are just born this way, but this is not true.
To get more motivation, you need to reflect on what your true ambitions are.
With ambition, you simply choose to seek out something greater in life through more experience and higher achievements. If you don´t have ambition, your life is like a ship drifting aimlessly over a sea. But with ambition, you can set goals you want to reach.
To discover your ambitions, you need to ask yourself the right questions. For example, if you only feel stressed in your job, “Is this the best job I could do?” Or when you are unhappy with your relationship, “Is this the best partner I could have?”.
These questions can draw your attention to ambitions you might otherwise ignore.
Remember, ambitions are different than having hope; it depends on your expectations. So what does this mean?
For instance, if you dream about completing a marathon. You always have the hope you have enough stamina so you can archive it one day. But with this perspective, you´ll never make it.
Hope isn´t enough! You have to visualize yourself in your new running shoes, actually participating, and crossing the finish line.
Expect that you will succeed; this will truly spark your motivation. You awake your motivation. So now is the question can keep it burning?
Your motivation needs fuel, and that fuel is continually taking action. Of course, we all have these days where we rather stay in bed all day long and do nothing. But with developing solid routines and having a strong support system, you will be able to jump out of your bed into your running shoes.
The motivation of children
Children have a dedication to striving towards small goals; they have great curiosity. Kids use their hands, mouth, eyes, and ears to learn about anything. They are highly intrinsically motivated.
And live in the moment and seize every second to explore, play, and push boundaries to look at the world as it is now. This is an exciting and freeing perspective on life!
However, over the years, it changes; they search for lesser challenges. When a person is confronted with a world in which everything relies on extrinsic motivation, then they might lose their childlike look at the world.
As an example, if a child gets a certificate when they draw a picture, they might do it only for that. But if the painting is made out of pure joy, the child more likely does it again. If they only learn to draw for a reward, it destroys their instinct motivation.
Children are driven by inner desires to learn to discover and to help others. Though when we grow older, we are programmed by our society to study harder, work effectively, and we will be rewarded with friendly praise high grades, and better paychecks. Towards adulthood, we more and more lose this natural motivation to see the world in this way.
The problem is too many are obsessed with the past. Some people look backward for the time where they were happier. And thinking, “if only my life could be like that again, I would be happier.”
Others see the past as a cause of today´s problems, while thinking if only this hadn´t happened, I would be happier.”
Such perspectives make the present moment tainted by the sadness of what could have been. If we are obsessed with the past, it closes us off from the world and drains our motivation.
How can you break this cycle of sadness and regret?
Try repeatedly to ask yourself, “Where you could focus right now on to feel enthusiastic and appreciative?” The more often you consider this question, the easier it will be to truly live in the moment.
With this approach, you can practice being happier, live life to the fullest, and becoming more joyful and curious.
Don´t think happiness is just something that happens because if you do, you push you’re towards negativity or dark feelings that communicate with others. But in comparison, when you show more happiness, it can also brighten up other people’s moods.
Ask yourself what if you tried to have more curiosity and presence like a child?
We all experience inner demons. If you start a new project, there are often the questions “is this really a good idea?” Or can I really do this? When doubt takes over, motivation can disappear.
To cure this problem, you need a humble kind of faith that lives in you and give you strength when you are in doubt. You can tell yourself, “If I work hard and dedicate my effort to the right tasks, I will archive my dreams.”
If you shape your thoughts like this, it will get easier to work steadily toward your goals.
How to get more motivated to do meaningful things?
A University of Rochester asks graduates about their meaning in life. While some named extrinsic profit targets and want to get rich and famous, others had more meaningful intrinsic goals to help others and to develop personally.
Years later, the same participants were interviewed to find out how things had turned out for them. The students with profit goals were no happier, even having reached a position as managers in large firms. More frequently, they suffered from depression and anxiety than students with meaningful goals.
The other participants had archived greater joy in life with their goals and only rarely suffered from mental health problems.
So the result was that striving to change something in oneself and society was much healthier and satisfying. For more and more people having meaningful goals becomes their driving force. Many are increasingly committed to doing voluntary and unpaid activities.
When you have larger goals in mind, it is more motivating and activating than money could ever be. So don´t strive to get the highest profit possible but pursue something meaningful in your life and give something back to society. It will help to get more personal strength and overall happiness.
Not only your happiness grows when you love what you do. You can also bring good energy to inspire others. Everyone has the potential to become a positive motivator for others, and this is a role you should strive for.
So how can you do this?
Simply you need to do what you are passionate about.
Most people answer I’m fine when they asked how they are feeling. But is fine the best you can do? Why aren´t you feeling fantastic great, or phenomenal?
When you do more things you really enjoy that make you feel proud of yourself, you can be more than just fine.
Do the closest people your family friends and colleagues know what your true passions are? If they don´t know, it may mean you do not realize who you are truly inside.
Don´t let other people dictate what you want to do with your life because when you let others keep you from your passions and your integrity, you will suffer. Say “No” to anything that goes against your passion no matter the price is important.
Be patient! When you are impatient, it drains your energy and motivation. So ask yourself why this kind of situation makes me impatient, and how can I calm myself down? And as a follow-up, “How can I handle this situation when it happens next time?”
Then take a deep breath, and you will feel the energy flooding back again.
While some goal seems impossible, perhaps a little crazy keep in mind no great innovation has ever been made by taking the safe road. To make something great, you need to be a little reckless, and perhaps a little bit crazy.
Challenge what you take for granted and seek out new opportunities. You can bend your reality to your will. But only if you put your mind to it and change it.
Many men and women have pulled their motivation from this realization. Only think about the moon landing; everybody thought it was impossible, but when the project was a success, it changed the world.
Today’s world is full of conflict and poverty; lack of interest is widespread. This is why our world needs role models and inspiring leaders. So why do you need others when your self can fill the void?
We can all play that role and inspire others.
Many think a leader only needs to be able to tell other people what to do. But this is wrong: Great Leaders don´t tell people what to do; they inspire others to find their own Path!
It all comes down to forgetting the past, life in the now, fueling your motivation, having faith in yourself, and striving for fulfillment.