Motivation: universal solvent

One factor separates spinning my wheels in life and making exhilarating progress: motivation. How motivated am I to do the thing that I’m trying to do? How yummy does it feel?

You can try all the psychological tools, productivity techniques, or rationality strategies in the book, but if you don’t feel motivated to do the thing then you’re going to suffer and the result will disappoint. Conversely, when you’re starving and seek food, you will reliably surprise yourself with the kinds of challenges you can overcome.

In the same way that water can dissolve more substances than any other liquid, motivation can dissolve pretty much any problem you can think of.

The best part is, it doesn’t matter where your motivation comes from. It doesn’t matter how it works and you don’t need to try to control it. You can pretend like it’s magical — some combination of past experiences. Given the hand you’ve been dealt, what can you do with it? Find what’s yummy and allow yourself to become an expert at that. If you’re not doing what’s yummy or trying to get yourself to find other things yummy (“wanting to want”), you are torturing yourself. This is a choice you’re making.


Originally published at Gary Basin’s words.

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