When it comes to motivation, there are three categories our mindsets falls into:
1. Fear – “If I don’t do my homework my parents are going to beat me!”
2. Incentive – “If I do my homework my parents will buy me sweets.”
3. Growth – “If I do my homework I can become a doctor and help others”
If we re-apply this same philosophy to employment it looks a little something like this:
A Job – You do for money.
A Career – You do for advancement or prestige.
A Calling – You do because it’s intrinsically fulfilling.
The problem most people face when trying to maintain motivation is that it’s much easier to stimulate our shallow senses through fear and incentives because the dopamine or adrenalin rush comes quickly and often.
“Our emotional brain has a hard time imagining the future, even though our logical brain clearly sees the future consequences of our current actions.” – David Laibson
Unfortunately, like any high that’s short lived, we then have to find new ways of upping the ante. This can lead to people becoming money-motivated or career hopping, creating a false sense of purpose/progression.
“The ability to discipline yourself to delay gratification in the short term in order to enjoy greater rewards in the long term, is the indispensable prerequisite for success.”― Brian Tracy
There are several effective ways we can trick ourselves in to feeling motivated for short term results but real motivation that lasts comes from our ongoing relationship with the task at hand. Finding a ‘why’ that is bigger than ourselves is the ideal way to maintain focus long enough to push for a goal that may in fact have no finish line – yet you’re comfortable just enjoying the middle.
“Regardless of the level of the profession whether physician or janitor those who find or create meaning in their work are the happiest.” – Jonathan Haidt
So what’s your why? Why do you do what you do? Share your answers in the comments below…