MOTIVATION… Or why we don’t have it.
Hi! I‘m writing this as a script for a video I am making for youtube, but I understand some people will prefer to read, so I am putting it here as well. Today I am going to talk about motivation and what motivates people, and probably bring up my lack of motivation at times.
The reason I am talking about this, is because today someone asked me on Facebook about “Weight Watchers”. They knew that I had tried the program before and they asked my opinion on it. I told them it was great, but the person needed to find out why they needed Weight Watchers in the first place. They asked me, “what did I mean?” You see, I have tried Weight Watchers four times now, each time I have lost weight but after a while I had put it back on. At the time I would have called that a success, but if you look at me now, then I am pretty similar to how I was before I started. It’s important to look at yourself to see why you are in the position you are in, and only then can you start to change things.
For Example, I started a YouTube channel because I wanted to make videos. I like to create things and to tell stories, and YouTube allows you to be creative in such an amazing way. I thought I could take some video, add some music, be witty and eloquent and gain a following. I really believe I probably could, though I think it would bore me after a while. So, for this i needed to find my “real” motivation. Only then will I be able to truly succeed.
I was watching Gary Vaynerchuk, I had seen him on another vloggers channel, and he said, you need to find your you and be it. This is a guy that does what he wants, doesn’t care what people thinks, and is incredibly successful. He believes in hustle and hard work, and he walks the talk. The thing that amazed me the most was the amount of people that he helps. He genuinely cares about people, I don’t know if he gets paid for helping but he seems to enjoy what he does, and what he said resonated with me.
It got me thinking about myself, in a semi critical way, about a few different things and I realised that I am a pretty happy and successful guy. I have a great job, a house, wife and two kids, but sometimes I feel unfulfilled. My wife always tells me that I am never happy with what I have, I want to have something better or do something more. Now, to examine this better I want to use a motivation frame work created by a guy named Maslow.
Maslow created what he called the “Hierarchy of Needs”. In this hierarchy you start at the base of the framework, its a pyramid, and you have the base things you need to survive in life. These are the “Physiological” needs. They are eating, breathing, sleeping, reproducing, going to the toilet, the things we need to purely exist. Now you might think why am I talking about fucking and shitting, but these things are required to exist! We cant live with out them or we wouldn’t be here, so they are the first need that we have to meet. It seems pretty primal to me.
The next needs on the framework is “Safety”. To meet this need you have to feel safe. For some that might mean you have shelter, money, or you are strong enough to protect yourself. You have “control” over your existence. As you can see this is still a pretty basic need in life, but sadly I can think of places in the world where this need doesn’t get met, Think about that next time you are complaining in about your life!
The next need is “Love and Belonging”. Now think about this, if we look to 100 years ago, when life was simpler, A lady would not leave her parents house until she was able to go to her new safety, in this case their husband. Now time has moved on, and people are more independent but it demonstrates the need for safety before you can have love and belonging. If you do not feel safe how do you expect to feel love? We are starting to get to the point where our simple needs are met and the things we are trying to meet are more complex, especially in modern times where we have different expectations. Think about this, do people who don’t feel love, feel that way because they don’t feel safe? can they not let down their barriers enough to feel safe with someone enough, to let them love or be loved by someone? What would have happened to a person that doesn’t feel safe enough to be loved. Luckily I don’t know, and I can only feel for someone who can’t get to love.
Now, we are starting to get to what I think are the good needs, They are still important, but we are at the stage where life is getting pretty fun. We are now at the “self esteem” part of the framework. We are starting to get to the point where we do things to make ourself feel better. At this point you are able to build YOUR EMPIRE! Now I make it sound like this is just going to happen after you are safe and loved, but it might not be that simple. YOU are just in a POSITION in life where you are able to look to these needs. Some people may not be interested in building an empire. They might have their self esteem needs met by family and their current position, and this is ok, BUT they may not be at their true potential. By this stage you should have skills, education either formal or informal, and you can use them for the benefit of yourself and other people. People will look to you for help because they know you are a BOSS and can do what needs to be done, but even with this need met you may not be happy. Because there is still one more need.
The last need is “Self-Actualisation”. I can only think of a glowing Buddha or an angelic choir here, because you have found your purpose in life and you are living it. People who have found Self-Actualisation are happy. They are living their life exactly how they want to live, and they are getting stuff done. Now, I’m not saying that this state will last for ever, but when you have found your purpose, all your needs are met and you can get on with your life how ever you want. I WANT to be here. I am still at the self esteem part, building that respect from others and for myself.
Now, you might think, what the heck does all of that have to do with Weight Watchers or me starting a YouTube channel? It is important that we have some understanding of why we do things when we critically look at ourselves to try and better understand why we do the things we do. If I were to be honest with myself, the reasons I am overweight is because I enjoy to eat and drink more then I like the idea of me being skinny. When I went to the doctor for a health check he scared me into saying I had diabetes. I can tell you I was motivated and changed my lifestyle for three weeks, until I went back to the doctor and was given the all clear. Now I know I am in a higher risk category for health issues being bigger, but I am pretty comfortable with the skin that I am in, so its not a massive priority of things I can improve about myself.
Like many other people in this world, I would rather go and have dinner with friends, or go out drinking when I know its not in my best interest. My health and my finances would be better off if I could say no, but wanting to keep appearances at that time won out over doing something that could have been in my better interest. I can tell you, I am awesome of thinking up reasons to do something, but not often on why I shouldn’t, at least with any conviction. I am still stuck at the “Self Esteem” stage, because I can’t get to point where I don’t care what other people think. Some people will call it Keeping up with the Joneses. I want to get to where I don’t give a fuck.
Starting a YouTube channel is confronting in many different ways. Being an IT Educator and having to address various size audiences I am ok speaking with people, but for me holding a camera out in front of me and talking to it is still confronting. I think putting myself in a situation like this will build my resilience to caring. Swearing in an article that people will read is another way to curb that feeling of what people think, this is how I speak and I need to be me if I want to get to my self actualised state. Picture that, me glowing like a Bhudda with a choir of angels built on cuss words!
Now, its not all grim, because there are ways that you can hack yourself to do better. You can put yourself in a sink or swim situation where your forced to grow and become more then you were. Or you can do something extreme like get a tattoo which will remind you to “DO MORE”. I did that, and its positioned that when I am sitting in my spot on the couch my shorts would fall down and it would show. I can tell you I do not sit on the couch anymore. Casey Neistat has a “DO MORE” tattoo on his forearm, and after watching a lot of his videos on YouTube I wanted to try and get a bit of that energy from him. Now I’m not saying you need to get a tattoo but you need to find what it is that will work for you, you need to find your hack.
I just want to finish by saying, as we get older it gets harder to get higher up the needs pyramid. As children most of our meeds are met, and we can see this if we look at a lot of the entrepreneurs and when they really made it. As we get older we lose relationships that we had with people, and we might find we fall down the framework and struggle with things like “Love and Belonging”. We need to remember this when we judge our success as we get older, or judge other people who do not meet our measure. Its important that we are able to keep things in perspective, and make sure to count all our wins no matter how small.