The truth about motivation


There is much said about motivation. Why do you think that is the case? Why do we need someone else telling us how to stir up our own initiative to do what we should be doing anyway (or more that is expected)?

There are three key principles of motivation that we need to consider:

Motivation Principle #1: To be motivated, you must want to be motivated

Motivation is self-induced. Sure, what others say and do will influence that, but true motivation comes from within. A person that simply does not want to be motivated will not be. So, even when you don’t think you can be influenced to do something you do not want to do, most of us have an internal desire to achieve, to please, or to fulfill. So, we need to stop sitting on the sidelines waiting for someone else to motivate us to do what is right. That starts with us… right now!

Motivation Principle #2: Things that motivate us define our character

Let’s face it… sometimes we are motivated for the right reason and sometimes for very selfish reasons. Young children often must be motivated to tangible things, such as popsicles, candy, or fun activities. As people mature, motivation should come more from those intrinsic, more noble reasons, such as a desire to help others. Eventually, our motivation defines our character. A person of character is motivated by:

  • Compassion, not expectations
  • Excellence, not expediency
  • Kindness, not threats
  • Service, not mandates
  • Collaboration, not narcissism
  • Truth, not “narratives”
  • Honesty, not compromise
  • Inspiration, not desperation
  • Loyalty, not money
  • Commitment, not demands
  • Opportunities, not obstacles
  • Honor, not platitudes
  • Love, not riches

We need to examine our own motivations… why do we do what we do? Are we doing it for the right reasons?

Motivation Principle #3: Motivation without action is merely emotional stimulation

Anyone can be motivated! Just take a look at Facebook. You won’t have to look long until you find a “motivational quote” or story or video or photo to stir you emotionally. As good as many of these make you feel, unless they move you to action, they are just entertainment. Motivation only becomes valuable if it results in positive action. Being motivated, by definition, drives a different result… a different direction… a different response. Unless we are moved in such a way to achieve something we otherwise would not have achieved, we are not truly motivated. Motivation always results in an observable result. So, when you seek to be motivated to do more than you might otherwise achieve, you must get off the couch and take action.


So, to sum it up, motivation is within all of us; it defines our character; and it results in positive action. I recently ran across a quote that says it better:

“Stop doing what is easy. Start doing what is right.”
― Roy T. Bennett

Today is a great day to start doing what we know we need to do!

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