Being motivated isn’t pleasant

“It’s never as good as it looks and it’s never as bad as it seems.”

The 16-17 year old students I work with often ask me how to get more motivation.  They believe that it is some kind of fairy dust capable of turning you an accomplishment-machine, realising all your potential and aiding you in changing the world.

Perhaps. They forget that motivation resembles hunger. You may feel energetic but also increasingly agitated, nauseous and sore. Your mind is focused on getting your gullet filled, that’s it. You feel unsettled and uncomfortable. You feel anxious as you mightn’t last long enough to find food. You think of all the different ways to satisfy the hunger – doing nothing is just not an option.

Being motivated isn’t pleasant.

Sometimes, we all feel excitement at a new beginning, at how much we are going to accomplish. This pleasant sensation differs from what I would call motivation. We all need such an elated state sometimes to carry us through, but we borrow it from the emotional bank and will have to pay it back with interest. This loan covers over the obstacles that will get in our way and helps us to get started. If you want to feel elated, all you need to do is ignore reality.

Not a sustainable solution.

I think all productive people oscillate between feeling hungry and transiently being satisfied with what they accomplished.


21 thoughts on “Being motivated isn’t pleasant”

  1. The experience of accomplishment – the ongoing pleasure at being able to be more today than yesterday – IS the motivation to keep achieving. As well, letting go of the maintenance necessary brings about even greater hardship to reattain what one had but then lost. These two factors far outweigh the immediate difficulty of doing.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Actually, yes. 102 should be an expected death, don’t you think?

        But the palliative stuff I am involved with outside of family never ceases to amaze me how the end of year so often coincides with so many end of life events. That can be tough on all the survivors during the ‘festive’ season especially when religion is involved. I have no clue where the idea that religion is a comfort at end of life comes from; maybe for the dying (?) but almost always a dysfunctional condition behind so much complex grief I have found. And that’s the kind of stuff that wears me down because it’s so unnecessary compared to deaths that are accepted for what they are: natural, inevitable, conditional, and that’s okay and a position from which survivors seem to cope so much better and in such healthy and life-affirming ways in a shorter amount of time.

        ‘Tis the season.


  2. Wise words Doc.
    Complacency is comfortable. To be driven, one must feel a certain angst, an unscratchable itch. Unfortunately, for your youngsters, they’ve got a doubly hard road ahead when it comes to maintaining motivation. Their world is now hyper-tuned to distract them. “Sure you could stay on task, that really hard task, but LOOK OVER HERE at this amazing new thing!”
    The internet has kill us. We’re just slot machine slaves in the casino of the age of information. Singular task motivation might now be our hardest goal, which may well be out of reach of today’s youth.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. My Mam was telling me that she saw this idyllic photo of families skating on an ice rink, people having fun and an all round wonderful time together. The caption? “The internet’s down”. I sometimes think that the world would be a better place without it. Without social media anyway. Just old school blogs 🙂💪

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Motivation is a curse. I envy the contented people. Not a day goes by when I don’t question myself to the point of exhaustion. Is this right? Is this enough? Should I do more or better?
    And the only relief I have is when I close my eyes and for that very first second imagine it might be the last time, and I’ll never have to open them again.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Every night I hope is my last.

    But, until then, do quit complaining about if you’ve done enough or not and invite us all over for a long weekend of wine, hors d’oeuvre (is there a worse spelled word in the world?) and gay frolicking amongst the flowers and vines, topiaries and sculptures; because I’m ready for some great vino and fromage and pan. (to mix a few languages together…) (All said in the most deferential manner possible.) I’m sure Martina could join you and report back.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Motivation is just what moves you … literally (motor and motivation, same roots). It doesn’t have to be a blazing hot passion or an ache to succeed, but it is emotional, not so much intellectual. many people ascribe this to will power but I think that is too intellectual. A mild warm fire in the bely will do for almost anything. Think about it as a burrito of life.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My surprising motivating factor? Boredom. I’ve transcended fear, hunger and greed. I am in Nirvana. I desire nothing. How’s that for the ultimate boredom? I don’t like reality any longer, so I meander forth and create my own.


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