How to Uncover Your Real Motivation

What’s driving you? Why do you want what you want?

Hint: “Because I want it” is not an answer.

“Because I want it” will not motivate you for long, especially if you begin to encounter difficulties. “Because I want it” will not sustain you for long in the face of numbing boredom, one of the greatest killers of dreams out there.

The answer is not as simple as it may seem, and the correct answer for you can mean the difference for you between success and failure to achieve a meaningful, happy life. You have to be really careful and really clear about getting the correct answer to this question.

People usually move either towards pleasure, or away from pain. So the next level to go beyond “I want it” is to ask yourself if you want it to escape an unpleasant, or even intolerable motivation, or to achieve something pleasurable?

For instance, you might want to escape a job where you’re not appreciated and are financially strapped. That’s moving away from pain. Or you might look at it as finding a job where you are a valued member of a team, and earning more than enough money to meet your needs. That’s moving towards pleasure.

As you might have guessed from the above example, it’s best if you can combine the two into a dynamic that both pushes you away from what you don’t want and pushes you towards something you do want.

But there are some other levels that should be investigated:

Do you want what you want because someone else wants it for you? If you’re doing this to please your parents who always wanted you to go into business, or be a lawyer, or a skilled tradesperson, and not because it’s what you really want to do, enjoy doing, and can see yourself doing as a career year after year, that’s not a path that will ultimately lead you to a life of fulfillment and joy. If it’s not your own choice, that’s a form of emotional servitude.

Do you want what you want because you think it would please someone? This is a little different from the last point. It’s not so much that someone is pushing you in a certain direction, it’s more that you believe that if you make certain choices, certain people – your parents, your significant other, your peers, the media, whomever – will admire and respect you.

Do you want what you want so that you can be who you think you should be? Or maybe you’ve always had this idea that certain choices are what’s “acceptable.” What’s acceptable should be what’s acceptable for you. No-one else can live your life or decide for you, and that includes society.

Do you want what you want because you really don’t know what you want, but you don’t know what else to aim for? If that’s the case, you need to spend some serious time uncovering what turns you on. And not rejecting it automatically because it’s “not realistic.” You might start by making a list of what you don’t want, and go from there. But making important choices in life without any real passion or “juice” behind them more often than not leads to an empty life.

These kinds of decisions are not by any means limited to career choices. They apply to every choice in life, from what kind of car you drive, to your choice of romantic partner, to your hobby or the food you eat.

Choose carefully and mindfully, and you can have a joy filled, fulfilling life. Choose without being clear about why you want what you want, and you could find yourself on a path not to your liking, and never really understand why.

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Source by S. James Webb

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