Can Anyone Learn Motivation?

When it comes to becoming that prolific, successful, thriving person we all want to be, the question quickly arises; can anyone learn to be motivated? Or are we stuck in our lazy ways? That’s exactly the question we’re answering today. Looking at redefining the way you view motivation, and getting you started working towards the things that really matter to you, here’s how you and anyone else can learn to be more motivated.

What is Motivation?

Everyone has some idea of what it means to be motivated, driven and inspired. To wake up in the morning and immediately want to pursue the things we value. We all see motivated people working tirelessly and getting after it all the time. Those people are motivated, right? Are they motivated all the time? Of course not. In fact, most super motivated people you see are going to be struggling with themselves as much as the worst of us when it comes to getting started, but the reality is, they get started, and push through this.

Fundamentally motivation is a balance of competence, interest and desire to improve at something. If you’re truly engaged by something, you feel capable of doing it, intrigued by aspects of it, and you want to get better at doing it. The trouble is, how do you summon those attitudes when it comes to something like filing your taxes? Doing the washing up? You don’t, this is where discipline steps in.

The fact is, every motivated person you see out there isn’t dependent on motivation alone. They’re utilising discipline, negative and positive motivation, as well as an understanding of themselves. Often, they still work way too hard and burn out, and then you have to question whether this pure motivation is actually a good thing or not. The real way to view motivation is the cherry on the cake of hard work, diligence, tenacity, and discipline. Motivation is catching a wind to keep doing something you value, but it’s really not much more than that.

Is Motivation a Skill?

With this definition of motivation in mind, you’ve got to start thinking about whether motivation is a learnt or in-built skill. Is this something people are born with or something you install in yourself? It can be both. Some people are more capable than others at submitting their time and labour to logical purposes. Others of us struggle with committing to doing seemingly endless punishing labour, with the end goal seeming hard to visualise while in the trenches of hard work.

Let’s get the brutal truth straight here, if you don’t have motivation and hard work built into you, it’s a skill you need to learn. The alternative isn’t feasible and makes for a stressful and unrewarding life. We live in a world where we need to earn and function, and if you’re incapable of even making yourself do the dishes, you’re not just going to fail to progress in your career, it’ll damage all your relationships too. So, you’d better get learning!

The good news here is that motivation is absolutely something you can learn.

The real risk is viewing motivation as some airy, nebulous skill only a few lucky people have. Akin to magic, this view of motivation treats it like some superpower, when, in reality, it’s a series of sub-skills worth investing your time and effort into.

These skills are things like self-discipline, organisation, self-awareness, foresight, self-care. All things that when you invest thought and effort into, are easy to get on top of. If you can make yourself do a task once, you can make yourself do it again, only this time it’ll be easier. Self-discipline. If you can read up on tricks to be more organised, and put them to use, you’ll become someone in much more control of their life. Ten minutes of meditation a day will see you building the self-awareness and foresight to really take care of yourself and see what’s important. Hey presto, from the outside, you just became a much more motivated person. Use these new skills to get started on that all important new project, and at some point, motivation will appear and take over.

Why Motivation Isn’t Important

Essentially, motivation isn’t important. It’s a fun, useful part of hard work that sometimes can help you out, but nine times out of ten, isn’t going to be there when you really need it. It’s an ephemeral boost, something to be glad of but never, ever relied upon. This is where all those other skills we were talking about come into play.

Depend on your self-discipline, commitment, work and on yourself. Learn to trust yourself to get the work done and work hard on becoming the kind of person you can rely on. This is key. If you can do this, motivation will absolutely take of itself. You can forget about the importance of motivation and inspiration, it doesn’t matter, because you’re already getting after it and getting it done. You don’t need it. The instant you find yourself waiting for motivation and inspiration to randomly appear is a completely wasted instant. You cannot waste your time expecting hard work to find you, it’s up to you to get it done.

The Key Limitations of Depending on Motivation and Inspiration

As far as quotes to inspire you go, you can’t get much better, in my opinion, than this by Pablo Picasso: “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”. This motivation quote really does say it all. This is the reality for almost everyone, unless you’re working already, you’re not going to get the benefits of inspiration and motivation.

The real issue here is the way people understand and view motivation and inspiration. It’s not some magical state that settles on us, making us do the work we’ve been needing to do for weeks. It’s nothing to be envied or depended on. It’s something that happens when we’re already hardworking people. The main thing that matters is first off, working, second off, simply being open to inspiration striking. That’s it. Apart from that, just get on with it.

If you sit around waiting to be inspired, the reality is, it’s probably never going to happen. Click To Tweet

If we’re honest, a good percentage of the time you’re working, you’re probably not going to feel inspired. However, that one time you’re on the exact right track, you catch that wind, and you get that boost of inspiration and motivation, you’re going to know about it and it’s going to be beautiful. If you’d never started working at all, you’re not in the running to feel that at all.

Five More Important Skills Than Motivation

Self-Discipline – As the old motivational quote goes: “When motivation fails, discipline prevails”. You can’t count upon motivation; you can count on self-discipline and yourself. Simply forcing yourself to do things and get on with it will callous your mind and get you building that self-discipline.
Self-Awareness – Once you know your pitfalls and shortcomings, you can build around them, reinforcing yourself against them and stopping them from limiting you. If you can identify a problem, you can beat it.

Organisation – If you know what you need to be doing, its way easier to do it. It doesn’t matter how you do it, calendars, to-do lists, meticulously planned out weeks, just get on with it and start reaping the benefits of proper organisation.

Self-Care – If you’re ill, tired, hungry, thirsty, whatever, you’re not going to be working very hard. Without proper self-care, our ability to get work done becomes extremely limited. You’re putting hard limits on how long you can pursue work before the issues of neglecting yourself take over you.

Foresight – It’s not enough to just organise yourself properly, you need to know that the tasks you’re doing are the right ones. If you want to be starting a business, what do you need to be doing to get that working? The foresight to plan ahead and learn from your errors is an important skill, and unfortunately, quite a tricky one to build. Just relax and think ahead for now, learning to work hard and diligent will come with time.

What Are You Waiting For?

Having outlined everything you need to be doing to start building that lasting, potent motivation, the last question always remaining is “what are you waiting for”? This is a question we all need to be asking ourselves whenever we catch ourselves wasting time. Staring at an empty page, scrolling through social media in bed, whatever. What are we waiting for?

Because the hard work, and the reward that comes with it, isn’t going to come to us.

The hardest part is always starting, and simply getting moving and forcing yourself to do exactly that will always make you feel one hundred percent better. Put pen to paper, do those push-ups, start that business and you will feel better about your goals. Break that inertia and get after it, let motivation take care of itself.