What motivates you to excel in your job? What motivates you to pursue someone who attracts you? What motivates you to train and take care of your body?
There is a lot of talk about what you do it should do and most of the guys I talk to have a good idea of what they should do, but it’s the motivation which is somehow problematic or doesn’t work for them.
So I’d like to point out some of what I call “limiting motivators”. These are motivations that I see in myself and that I see in my clients. If I have any real understanding of these it’s because I’ve worked with them before and I’ve probably still come across them from time to time.
These are the motivators that will keep you from living a life of passion and purpose, no matter how hard you try.
The first I call “motivation of the punisher.” This is where I motivate myself by punishing myself for not being where I think I should be. This can manifest itself as thoughts like “Stop being such a lazy loser and get to the gym!” or “Stop procrastinating and complete report!” This motivation usually has the energy to “suck it” and “stop being such …”.
To be honest, this motivation works pretty well. It can take you quite a long way in life. It can lead you to a decent career. It can get you in decent shape. But it probably won’t get you into your ideal job; you will not achieve any real sporting achievement (if you do competitive sports) and you will definitely not succeed in romantic relationships.
This is because this motivation is essentially getting you out of self-hatred and, to put it simply, it sucks. It’s exhausting. It is the kind of motivation that requires a lot of recovery and affects the body and mind a lot. Most any professional athlete will tell you that this type of motivation will not work for the sport because it prevents you from truly believing in yourself (usually the difference between being average and being fantastic).
The “motivator of the punisher” doesn’t work in romantic relationships either because it completely closes you out of love. In fact, it is in direct contradiction with love. If this is your main motivator in life, feeling loved by someone else will feel like an attack on your toughness, drive, and sense of purpose in the world. Allowing yourself to love would totally kill all the motivation to do anything in life. It will be extremely difficult to open your heart to abundant love. It will be extremely difficult to cultivate deeply meaningful relationships.
Does it sound familiar?
The next limiting motivator is what I call “acceptance motivation.” This is where I am motivated to believe that if I achieve a certain thing, I will be accepted, loved, admired.
This motivation, again, is a bit functional. Feeling lonely and unloved can be a hell of a motivation to get my ass kicked and do something meaningful in the world. I could work to get a job that would allow me to buy a house and a nice car that would get my friends approval and show a potential partner that I am a worthwhile investment.
But this type of motivation also has its built-in limiters. On the one hand, it tends to create need and insecurity by making you dependent on other people for your sense of self-acceptance. When I find myself “trying too hard” I’m usually in “acceptance motivation”. At work or in sports activities, failure may seem like a near-death experience. In dating and relationships, it leads to insecurity, jealousy and codependence due to implicit inadequacy.
If I’m doing something to be accepted, if I fail, I feel like a rejection of who I am. Even if I succeed, it is only reaching a kind of status quo that is not deeply satisfactory.
So what other options do we have?
There are many words for the type of motivation I recommend, but for discussion, I will call it “passion motivation.” That’s when you work on something because you love it, when you chase someone because you feel wonderful in their presence, when you do something because you’re passionate.
In contrast to “punisher motivation,” which is acting out of self-hatred, “passion motivation” is acting out of self-love. Go to the gym because you love your body and want to cultivate and sculpt it. It’s about doing the best you can at work because you’re happy with a job well done. You are creating the relationship of your dreams because you love the person you are with.
Unlike “acceptance motivation” which is doing things so that they can love you, “passion motivation” is doing things BECAUSE you are already loved. This motivation is generous and abundant. This motivation creates confidence and a sense of calm in dating and supportive and supportive relationships.
So how do you cultivate “passion motivation”?
The first step is to recognize that it is an option. I work with a lot of guys who never gave him credibility. I talk to a lot of guys who raise their arms in the face of the futility of all their efforts. But if you look for it, there is a chance that you will find it.
The next step is to work on identifying when you are in the other types of motivation.
The problem is that most of us have developed years of habitual motivation for punishment and a desire for acceptance. We have complete belief systems about who we are and how the world works that support these motivators. We have neurological pathways that are directed toward these limiting motivators unconsciously and out of our control.
It can be difficult to turn this boat around.
It takes time, reflection and support. It requires an embodied sense of living from a place of passion and love (not just a concept in your mind).
So what would you do?
My next tip will sound like a boring old commune, but stay with me and I’ll give it a new meaning.
Do what you want.
I know you’ve heard it before and you’ve probably lost all sense, but think of it this way: Practice motivating from a place of abundance and self-love. Do what you love because it’s a way to train your brain to respond automatically that way. So not only are you building yourself up for a better “you” but you’re also having fun doing what you love.
Finally, you may want to work with someone who can support you on your journey. It can be a coach, a therapist, or a mentor. This would be someone who can offer much more than a friend can offer. They will help you to identify and break these limiting beliefs and to develop habits towards a life of passion and purpose.
I hope you found it useful, and if you want to learn more about my work and coaching, you can follow this link here.
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