A certain phrase has been rattling around in my head for months now:
Motivation is merde.
I first heard Gary Vaynerchuk (GaryVee) say it in one of his billion or so videos, but I like the French-ish version better. You can use it in polite, monolingual company, AND it's alliterative. ;-)
When I say that "motivation is merde," I mean that BY ITSELF, divorced from action, is garbage. It's planning with no action. It's planning to plan, actually. I'm not totally discounting the sometimes incredibly helpful phenomenon of motivation, but without action, it's incomplete.
I re-re-re-re-learned this lesson on our recent move to Oklahoma. I was packing up some old business-related stuff and came across an old legal pad. (One of many...) It was from 2013. Scrawled across several pages was a multi-tiered and detailed plan for the moving company I used to run. It had goals, objectives, and to-dos all aiming for this One, Big Vision. I vaguely remember the morning I wrote it, sitting in the warehouse, undoubtedly after one crisis or another. I remember feeling a sense of peace and, yes, motivation. We were going to get out of this!
I came across a work journal in the same box. This was from 2018. It had virtually all of the same notes and plans. That was the year it all fell apart.
In other words, it was a lot of good intentions and ideas I didn't take action on. I was motivated, of course, but in the end there wasn't enough action.
Motivation is a FEEEELING
My biggest problem with motivation-in-itself is that it's a feeeling, and in my now-voluminous experience, letting feelings or sentiment take control is disasterous. It's only proactive, intentional ACTION that gets anything done. Acta Non Verba.
Stephen King tells a story in his magnificent book, "On Writing," about writing groups he was a part of in college or soon thereafter. Early on, he discovered how would-be writers would either "Wait for the Muse," or try to "summon" it through chemical means. You know - drugs to "get creative." The result was usually some kind of revolting emotional disgorgement.
Same thing with motivation that doesn't go anywhere.
Waiting for motivation is unproductive
To the extent that "waiting for motivation" is a literal plan, it's merde. How about instead of waiting, you (we) DO? While we're waiting for the motivation, we could be, you know, doing the things that we need or want to do. (And as a side note, if you're not taking massive action, you're likely never going to get to the things you WANT to do. More on that in a minute).
Some cliches come in handy here:
"No time like the present."
"A rolling stone gathers no moss."
"Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle."
It's reactive rather than proactive
Something I noticed not so long ago, but I wish I'd realized decades ago, is that I'm far happier plunging ahead, aggressively pushing into uncomfortable territory, and crossing the border of my so-called "comfort zone." When I'm reacting to the chaos (which I often create for myself), I'm miserable. I'm checking boxes, phoning it in, or simply not doing the work. The creative spark or, as it often seems, divine inspiration that comes from aggressively tackling your goals, is just gone if I'm checking boxes and waiting around for something to change.
In other words, if you feel lethargic, unmotivated, sluggish, etc., you're going to continue that way indefinitely while you hope for something to change. Or, more likely than not, you'll be "motivated" by the consequences of pusillanimity. ;-)
By the way, a former boss once told me, "Life is found at the edge of your comfort zone." I made a notebook for him based on that phrase. It turned out pretty well.
So, this is a little bit of a random rant. I can assure you, it isn't because I'm avoiding work. It's because I'm working from home...as I do every day now. I'm easily distractible.
Here's the summary: "motivation" is merde if it's just a feeling without action. It's especially bad if you mistake it for actual work. Hah.
Gotta run. I'm feeling motivated.
Maker of Things, Eastern Catholic, family man, experimenting with entrepreneurship. These are my opinions. Feel free to disagree, but you don't have a right to my compliance. ;-)