Motivation is Outdated, Here’s Something Better

Studio 13 Magazine
Published in
3 min readApr 19, 2022


Now I’m not saying that motivation is completely useless, I just think that there are far better methods to fuel your goals and dreams. Most people think that watching motivational TED Talks instead of watching topics that actually interest them on YouTube makes them a smarter person than most people. It really doesn’t, you forget stuff you force yourself to remember. Think about it, do you remember what you learned in biology in your freshman year of high school? Most likely not, I don’t, and you probably don’t either if you are not passionate about biology. Just as that, people are most likely to forget what they watch and read if they are not passionate about the subject. And sure, you won’t be passionate about every subject in school or work you encounter in life, but for the things you are passionate about, I think using ambition is far better than using motivation.

What is motivation?

A simple Google search tells me that it’s, “the general desire or willingness of someone to do something”. The example given is, “keep staff up to date and maintain interest and motivation”. If your staff needs motivation, just know they are definitely slacking off. This word is often used in interrogation rooms too, “what’s your motive?” or “What was your motivation behind this horrifying act?” (I’m not really sure I’m just going off of movies and TV shows). Motivation isn’t the right word to be used when we are talking about something we are passionate about, if you were actually passionate about what you needed motivation for, you wouldn’t need the motivation, you’d get to work because you are ambitious.

What is ambition?

Ambition is “a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work”. The example used is, “her ambition was to become a pilot”. Doesn’t ambition sound a lot nicer than motivation. They could have switched the two words and it would still make sense, right? Sure, but the definition for the two words is still different and ambition makes a lot more sense in most context revolving around our goals. Most people still switch up the two words and end up getting confused and get nothing done, which is fine they will figure it out eventually. Now it’s fine when you use motivation for smaller things like walking your dog, but when it comes to bigger things like your dreams, motivation won’t get you too far if you’re not ambitious.

The whole point of me writing this is to share my thoughts on why we should use ambition instead of motivation when we are talking about our big goals. Motivation is an old and confusing road; it can be smooth for one mile, and rocky for the rest of your ride and will probably leave you with a flat tire. Ambition though, once you find that road, it will be the smoothest road you travel on for the same journey. In other words, ambition will take you a lot farther than motivation ever will.

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