Motivation Is A Myth
September 12, 2021
Until a few years back, whenever I was unproductive and wasting my time, I would tell myself a story that I was not motivated. My view was that I needed a dose of motivation to work on or start something- working on some project, or creating a long-term plan or any personal goal. Motivation was this mystical burst of emotional energy that would be the spark to get me started.
My idea about motivation completely changed when I read the Book Motivation Is A Myth by Jeff Haden. This book was instrumental in giving me a radical perspective on how I could live my life without worrying about motivation to become happier, healthier, and more productive.
You Don’t Need Motivation To Do Something
We all seek external sources of motivation to give us that emotional boost to do something. Many of us look at motivational YouTube videos or read motivational quotes or books and feel that surge of positive energy. But, while these external sources are good to help us with a motivation rush, Jeff Haden in the book says that motivation is like a sugar rush that never lasts.
The core thesis of the book is that progress is what creates motivation. Jeff describes motivation as the Dopamine rush we get when we observe ourselves making progress. So the motivation loop looks like this.
Today, I don’t seek motivation to do anything. Instead, I focus on the process of what I have to do without letting the idea of motivation come in the way. When I focus on the process, It always starts with an action. I keep that action so small that it doesn’t need any motivation. Once the action begins, there is progress, and when there is progress, there is the dopamine rush of positive energy, which motivates me to take more action on the same task.
So wearing my running shoes is the first action in the process of running. Keeping my kindle on my desk and picking it up to read two pages is the minimum action I take to read a book everyday. When it comes to learning the musical instrument, Practising for 5 min everyday is the action I commit to. Sitting in front of my computer at 10 pm is all the action I take in writing my blog.
You don’t need motivation to start something. Motivation is a myth. You just need a small action that creates progress and motivation becomes a consequence.