Motivation is a tough nut to crack, even for the best of us. When I was young my mother always used to criticize my lack of motivational focus: “Why isn’t your bed made”, “I told you yesterday to clean your room” and my personal favorite – “stop stalling and get your homework done.” I would like to think that as I grew older my motivational skills increased naturally but that was not the case.
Motivation is a skill and like all others skills it is perfected over time. In my experience motivation typically attached itself to a task associated with a particular outcome. I wanted the outcome but didn’t want the work necessary to get there. The rationale behind why my tasks weren’t completed was numerous but they all stemmed from the same root…tasks are uncomfortable.
We are creatures of comfort as well as creatures of habit. Anything seen which contradicts our current environment, even if we do not like our current environment, is considered a threat. The goal we set may be the best thing for us but the hard work needed to get there may be too unpleasant to deal with.
My grandfather always said you can have anything in life, nothing is beyond your reach but you have to be willing to sacrifice for it. He should know he was the poster boy for motivation and goal attainment. He started his life as a Sheppard on the Isle of Skye in Scotland; he even had a little lamb that followed him to school every day. Realizing the opportunities were limited, he immigrated to America. He worked hard, saving his money so he could go to school. He became a successful lawyer and later CFO of a major steel corporation. I don’t have to go far to remember my grandfather, he helped build the city that I live in today.
Why do I use this article on motivation to talk about by grandfather? Well, because he had a practical, working understanding of exactly what motivation was all about. Motivation is not about wanting something that makes you feel good and then releasing up into the Universe for others to give you. Motivation is about wanting and working towards your goal. It was very hard for grandfather to leave his family and start a new life. It was hard for him to work and go to school. It was hard for him to change careers mid-life but he did it…he did it all and much of it during the Great Depression.
The times in which we live don’t matter, our personal situations don’t matter. The only things that matter are the desires in our hearts and the acknowledgement in our minds that all things are possible. Hold onto your dream, work hard, be ready and willing to make sacrifices and understand that all things worth having take time. Motivation is just another word for doing the right thing…not the easy thing.
It took a while grandfather, but I’m listening and I finally understand.