There’s something you want to do. Or something you want to change about yourself. You want to lose fat. You want to build muscle.
I hated looking in the mirror when I was younger. I wanted to be everyone but myself. I was filled with so much discontent that my psyche was A Christmas Story leg lamp fragile.
Geez. This is getting depressing. I should write about something funny here to lighten the mood. I was never one to recognize and respond to stock social cues for the sake of custom. Sorry.
Despite wanting to do this thing you know how to do,
despite the discontent sweeping the canals of your cranium on account of not doing this thing
despite an idea of how much better your life would be if you did this thing,
your brain — the same one causing you all this anguish, the same one filled with such a suffocating hope for what could be,
can’t push you to do what you need to do in order to accomplish what you want to accomplish.
It’s a strange phenomenon.
Humans are storytellers. We like to explain why things are the way they are.
Thanks to culture (and the availability bias), there’s a stock story as to why a lot of people (myself included, at times) get stuck in Shit Creek:
I don’t have the motivation. I can’t Get Shit Done because I don’t have the motivation. Other people do. I don’t. Makes sense.
But this is a dangerous story to tell yourself for reasons you’ll soon understand…
…even though it’s probably true.
Motivation is a complex phenomenon tied to our hopes, fears, experiences, and more. But good way to think about it, a shortcut (for now), is in relation to Resistance.
(Resistance being capitalized in honor of Steven Pressfield’s book, The War of Art. You don’t have to be an artist to read this book. Read it. Now.)
When there is little (or no) Resistance towards a behavior, when a behavior slips out like diarrhea, consider motivation to be high. And this usually happens when you want to perform the behavior.
When there is a lot of Resistance towards a behavior, when a behavior is met with great constipation, consider motivation to be low. And this usually happens when you don’t want to perform a behavior.
Given this shitty (lloolololol) idea of motivation, it’s safe to assume you are, indeed, stuck in Shit Creek. Otherwise, you’d be out doing whatever you wanted to do and not reading this.
But don’t feel bad.
here’s a little secret:
Most people won’t have motivation to accomplish their goals.