The Trick to Maintaining Your Personal Motivation
Sustaining your personal motivation is paramount to achieving your goals.
But doing this is not always easy.
Our following article explores how we can use our thinking to influence the release of key endorphins to affect levels of personal motivation.
The Cyborg Dragon
There are many things you can say about billionaire tech-preneur Elon Musk, but none can question his level of personal motivation. Whether it’s putting humans on Mars or computers in our brains, the guy ain’t short on wild cards. One of his projects, however, has really had me questioning my own contribution to humankind:
A cyborg dragon. Really Elon? I get the electric car thing, but does the world really need an actual flesh-and-blood dragon with technological enhancements?
After the initial confusion, I was left in awe of the man’s level of motivation. How does someone worth £15bn maintain their thirst for technological tomfoolery?
Motivation – The reason behind our actions
There is a Cyborg Dragon out there for everyone. The next goal or achievement in your life –the acquisition of your first big client, or joining the local amateur dramatic society. Whatever it is, it can feed your sense of worth and drive your emotional and physical wellbeing.
However, it is not a given that we will choose the path to achieving our goals. The inevitable challenge and failure littering the way can be demotivating, and consciously working on your level of motivation is paramount to maintaining direction.
Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm
As Charles M. Schwab once put it: “A man can succeed at almost anything for which he has unlimited enthusiasm.” Fortunately, we now live in a world where women too can be respected for their achievements, and I’m almost certain the reference holds true for us all.
A sense of enthusiasm is key to your feelings of personal motivation.
If you are excited by what you do, you will naturally feel motivated to work hard, take risks and think creatively. Your drive to succeed will come from within, providing a long-lasting and self-sustaining energy to achieve your goals. Mihali Csikszentmihaly referred to this as being in a state of flow, in which “people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it."
If, however, you are no longer or never have been fizzing with excitement at the thought of your daily endeavours, do not fear, there is another route to enthusiasm that is no less authentic. When your work does not provide you with intrinsic motivation, as with our first example, you must identify influences outside of yourself for motivation. This is known as being extrinsically motivated and is often associated with basic reward systems like pay or grades. Although this seems like a less honourable route to feeling motivated, it alludes to a deeper truth.
Dopamine – learning to use your reward system
It is unrealistic to expect ourselves to exist in a constant state of flow. So how do we maintain motivation through the more trivial times? Money may provide all the motivation required, but this comes with its own moral and ethical complications. Instead, let’s look at our body’s approach to regulating feelings of motivation.
Dopamine is a chemical acting as a neurotransmitter in our brains. One specific dopamine pathway plays a major role in the motivational component of reward-motivated behaviour. Low levels of dopamine have been linked with procrastination, self-doubt, and lack of enthusiasm, whilst high levels motivates us to take action towards our goals and gives us a surge of reinforcing pleasure when we achieve these goals.
Neuroscientific research now believes we have the power to influence the release of chemicals in our body such as dopamine. How do we do this? With our thinking.
It is one thing that sets us apart from all other species. We can create worlds within our mind, worlds that have not yet and may never come into fruition. The power of our imagination is vast and is now proven to affect us physiologically. By cognitively experiencing a future event, we are effectively experiencing it with our bodies too.
This is how I manage my levels of motivation. By visualising a future in which I achieve my goals, I flush my body with dopamine, boosting my drive. The anticipation of pleasure is pleasure itself – base your thinking on this idea and you will observe the power of visualisation.
Interested in learning more? Join us for our Concannon Connection workshop on 17th May where we explore in more depth the power of our thinking and its effect upon our levels of personal motivation. For more info or to reserve your free spot…