We hear a lot of talk today about motivation. People are motivated to reach a goal or not motivated to do something. In the speaking industry, the term motivational speaker is now considered somewhat out of date or at least a misnomer for what many of us actually do. My focus here though is the how of motivation: how to find your purpose or passion so that the motivation comes naturally.
As a child growing up with Tourette Syndrome, I was only motivated to get through the day without completely exhausting myself from the many motor tics that I experienced in a 24-hour period. I was not motivated to focus my attention on my teachers or the lessons and information they were trying to give me. As I got older, however, I developed a “thirst for knowledge” that continues to this day. I don’t know where it came from but I now realize that this can be highly unusual for most students. The vast majority of students are in school because they have to be there, not because they choose to be. But real motivation came for me in ninth grade when a teacher magically pulled a half dollar out of my typewriter and the “magic bug” bit me. It was then that true motivation for me kicked in.
Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation
There are two basic types of motivation. The first is intrinsic motivation or, as I like to call it a “fire in the belly”. This type of motivation comes from within. It is doing something for its own sake. The pleasure derived from the task or activity itself propels the person forward to continue doing it. This is actually a rare form of motivation. Greatness only comes through intrinsic motivation. When I started learning the art of magic as a teenager I was spurred on by the sheer joy of performing. I didn’t care at the time about how much money I could make doing sleight of hand but rather I was enthralled with doing the trick itself.
I wore my friends and family out by continually asking them to either “pick a card” or “watch this”. My passion for magic overrode any negative comments, ridicule or my simply not doing a trick right. I was driven. I was passionate. I didn’t care about outcome. I was only focused in the moment about doing magic.
This was pure intrinsic motivation.
The second type of motivation is extrinsic motivation. This form of motivation is why the majority of people go to work each day. We all know people who don’t like their jobs and some just plain hate going to work. But the paycheck is their ultimate motivation to continue to show up every day. The reason most people who are extrinsically motivated participate in a task or activity is because of some external reward at the end.
But how do you find motivation? More specifically, how do you find your passion and your purpose? I firmly believe that everybody knows what their passion is. You just have to dig deep to see what it is. I have a friend who’s first and major love is music. He’s a guitarist who owns about 6 guitars, has a shelf of concert DVD’s at least 12 feet long and a record and CD collection twice that big.
I asked him, if he could do anything he wanted to do, had all the money he needed, all the resources, etc,, what would he do? He pondered a minute then said, “I really don’t know.” He did know. His fear is what kept him from saying–no screaming–“I want to be a musician in a rock band!”
The question I asked my friend is what you need to ask yourself: What would you do if you could do anything you wanted to do? Let yourself dream big. Don’t censor yourself. Don’t limit yourself and don’t deny yourself. And DO NOT let fear get in the way! You KNOW the answer. And when you admit to it, the motivation cannot not come. You’ll have it automatically because you’ll be tapped into what you’re truly passionate about–your purpose! Then, doing it will be effortless.
What do you want to be or do?
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