I’ve never met a person who can function properly without any motivation to live. Have you?
Without a reason, it’s hard to keep waking up every day. Sure, many meaningless things in life give you pleasure. You don’t need motivation to chase pleasure.
Most of us overcomplicate the concept of motivation. We turn it into some kind of esoteric quest. “I have to find myself!”
What do you mean? You’re right here. You don’t need to go on a quest to find yourself. You just have to look within. We’re really playing mind games with ourselves.
Every time I write about the purpose of life and why we do what we do, I get messages from people who try to convince me of their beliefs.
It doesn’t work. We can’t convince others to change their beliefs. That’s why I never expect readers to listen to what I say. People who have a different view on life probably won’t read this stuff at all.
When you change, you decided to change. It’s like a superpower if you really think about it. You have the ability to decide HOW you think and WHAT you believe.
Now, you can use that power to destroy yourself by blindly believing everything and everyone. But you can also use that power to focus on yourself and improve YOUR life.
Why? Well, if you improve your own life, you might just help others to do the same. But it doesn’t work the other way around.
We All Have Basic Needs
At a primal level, I believe that we’re all motivated by survival. The American Psychologist Abraham Maslow stressed that point with his hierarchy of needs theory:
At the bottom of the hierarchy, you can see our basic needs: Physiological, safety and friendship/love. That’s our motivation.
How do you motivate yourself once your basic needs are satisfied?
Motivation Is Different For Every Phase Of Your Life
That’s what I’ve learned over the years. In the beginning of your career, you might be motivated by status and money. But later on, that will not do it for you anymore.
When I look at myself, I’m still motivated by money. Granted, I don’t have the same desire to make money as I had 10 years ago because I have more certainty now. Mostly because I trust in my skills to make money.
But yes, I want my family to be comfortable. And you need money. But it’s not my sole motivation and I never want to overemphasize money. In recent years, I’m more motivated by the quality of life. I’ve never been a status guy. I don’t care where I live or what kind of car I drive.
I want to eat good, sleep well, work out, and spend time with the people I love. I’m more motivated by growth. I want to see progress in my business, skills, relationships, and health.
What’s your motivation? It really depends on where you are in life. Look, if you are honestly motivated by status, don’t feel bad about it.
One of my friends pursued status for years. He’s now in his mid-thirties. He recently told me that he absolutely needed to pursue status to realize that it didn’t fulfill him. Some things in life we must find out by ourselves. We can’t read it in a book.
We often think we know ourselves because we’ve faced some difficulty or kept a journal for a week. That’s just not true. We’re so complex that we don’t know what motivates us.
We can only try to figure it out. And that requires self-awareness. Just the ability to be aware of your thoughts will help you to understand yourself better.
And you know what? Do more difficult things in your life. One of the best things you can do is to travel alone. How do you hold up? Will you lock yourself up in your hotel room or will you seek out others? Connecting with people is hard. Being alone is hard too.
The funny thing is that we all know it. We just pretend to run away from it. And so it is with motivation. We’re afraid to admit to ourselves, “I’m motivated by X.”
But as long as you’re not honest with yourself, how can you expect to be at peace with yourself?
You see, the truth hurts. But it also liberates.
So here I am, asking you this question for the third time in this short article: What motivates you?
If the answer scares you, you’ll be fine.