To me, motivation is something peculiar. It can be very intense and strong at one moment, and in the next be gone. It does not matter what it is about, something I really like and want, or something I ”have to” do (even if I believe that have to is a choice each of us makes).
Countless times I have decided to do something, exercise, work out, change my eating habits, start a new writing project, start a new hobby, and have had a lot of energy and motivation in the start, only to find myself low on motivation after a while and not completing what I set out to accomplish. (The answer to this vage rhetorical question is far to many times, more than I’d like to admit to myself).
When I start to think about this phenomena I have found out that each time I have really wanted to do the things I have set out to do. So why did I not follow them through? The answer I have got (and often blamed, as in not my own fault) is lack of motivation. Another rhetorical question: isn’t motivation like a feeling that only happens and exists, something with its own lifecycle that comes and goes by itself, completely natural and by itself?
Well, it might be like that, but then again, why does some people seem to have a big pile of never ending motivation, and are able to do great things? I am thinking of great authors, sportsmen, company leaders, and other people capable of inspiring others. Are they som kind of elite people, blessed with a big reservoir of motivation?
The Swedish skier Ingemar Stenmark once said (roughly translated from Swedish) in respons to a journalists question implicating that he seemed to have a lot of luck in every race:
”I know nothing about luck, just that the more I practice the more luck I seem to have.”Ingemar Stenmark
This statement and other things I have found in various books (mostly about mental training) got me to change my own thoughts regarding motivation. I now believe that motivation (like many other things) is something you can practice, develop and master. And if that is true, it is also a choice. A choice to maintain my motivation, or to let it go (loose motivation).
But (why is there always a but?!), perhaps it is not quite that easy, just to make an active or passive choice? Well, yes, in the long run it is that simple, but not until you have practiced on doing so. The more you practice on something, the easier it get.
My journey in finding and strengthen my motivation started with questioning it.
I took inspiration from a radio commercial I heard a few years ago, from Toyota, who uses 5 Whys in its production, even if I did not follow the method by the book.
This is a short version of my journey towards the first iHappy journal.
I want to create a journal that helps myself and others to develop as persons and get a more positive experience of each and every day.
I wish to build a passive income over time.
Questioning above statement 1: If I do not make money or gain a passive income over time, do I still want to do it?
Answer 1: Yes.
Because I want to help others develop as a person.
Questioning above statement 2: Even if I do not help others to develop as a person, do I still want to do it?
Answer 2: Yes.
I want to challenge myself, develop myself, learn new things and become a better version of myself.
Questioning above stament 3: And if I create this journal and do not developer myself, learn new things and become a better version of myself, do I still want to do it?
Answer 3: No.
Ok, then I know. It did not take five whys, only three to get a now. My process is done.
What did I do in this process? Well, I defined a statement as to why I want to do something. A statement that explains why and will act as my motivational anchor. Then I question this statement by turning it to the opposite, and ask myself if I still want to do it. If the answer is yes, then I continue and define a new statement and question it yet again. Over and over again, until I get a no as answer to the opposite of my statement.
The latest definition of my why is the true motivation and the strongest. This is something I can use as an affirmation to keep my motivation, or a trigger, before I set out to work with the project.