The Perpetual Motivation Machine

The Perpetual Motivation MachineMotivation is about being in the moment, and being fully present; in that state, deciding what you want and then taking steps towards it tend to happen naturally.

How often do you hear of a baby that failed to learn to walk?

The strange thing about motivation though is that it can often feel illusive. Why is this the case?

To understand where things may have gone wrong, let’s start at the beginning.

The education system is valuable in many ways but it is also designed to provide students with the illusion of progress.

Students are almost always advanced to the next level even if they have failed to grasp basic concepts (this rarely happens in the workforce or in start-ups or in life).

Students are also forced to study a broad range of subjects, even ones which they find boring, difficult and pointless (people who tend to excel in later life usually pick activities that they find easy, interesting, and useful).

In short, one of the key lessons that the school system teaches young people is that they should persevere in the face of boredom.

And having learnt that lesson, many of us continue to do so for the rest of our lives.

Evidence of this fact is that there is an entire industry dedicated to helping people stay motivated.

Famous motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said that “people often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”

This is good advice in that it is helpful for people who find themselves trapped in difficult, boring or meaningless jobs. And if this is the case for you, then following Zig’s advice is probably a very good idea for the time being.

The problem with Zig’s advice though is that lack of motivation is probably a symptom of an underlying problem.

Society and our families often place subtle or direct pressure on us to shoot for the high paid or prestigious job options, even if these are not the ones which are the best fit with our interests and aptitudes.

People often talk about “selling out”, and what I think they mean by this phrase is that when we allow ourselves to accept more money or more prestige for a job which we don’t enjoy, aren’t good at, or which has little positive impact on the community, then we have sold ourselves drastically short.

Selling out costs us our time, and with it the freedom to create and produce things that we can really put ourselves into.

It can also sap our motivation, making future success just that little bit more illusive and harder to achieve.

We now live in a world where it is possible to connect and collaborate with more people more easily than ever before; all you need to find is the motivation to do so.

What are you waiting for?

Go, hurry, we need you.

(Image source: Flickr)

Building An Asset

Or just getting paid?

IF you continue with your current line of work, will you be more capable, better known and have a stronger network in 12 months time?

Or will you just be one year older, one pay grade higher, and one step closer to that “promised” promotion? Financially richer, yet one year poorer at the same time.

When your author was an undergraduate student people used to joke about corporate jobs and “selling out”. It wasn’t entirely clear what that meant at the time or what was so bad about earning a wonderfully high salary. After all, isn’t that why people work? To become wealthy?

The problem is an insidious one, and easy to miss if you’re busy, or ambitious, or afraid.

The situation at work, in your industry and in the broader economy may change. In fact, it is constantly changing, evolving and improving.

But are you?

Constant personal and professional growth should be the norm, but all too often it becomes the exception.

How does this happen?

Well, take a bright eyed graduate fresh out of university, for her securing a job at a reputable firm is a great opportunity. The firm offers training, a nice salary, opportunities to network, and there is a lot to learn. So far so good.

In the second year, she is loving the corporate life. Her salary has never been higher and her expenses are low, there is still a lot of training, she is getting a good handle on her role, and she now knows lots of people at work which is fun. Life couldn’t be better.

In year three, our bright eyed graduate has now become a battle hardened grunt, she is in the thick of it. She knows her role and is incredibly busy with work. There is no time to attend training sessions, and besides these are mostly for the junior staff. Her pay is high but not nearly high enough to cover her mortgage and car payments and she hopes for a raise at the next salary review. She has no time to meet new people and barely time to see the ones she already knows.

A slippery slope.

Nobody plans on becoming a sell out, and it doesn’t happen overnight. But if you’re not expanding your capabilities, reputation and network, then it may be time for a change.

A new project, a new opportunity, or a new way to solve a problem for people who care.

Are you building an asset, or just getting paid?