I have a surprise! Motivation is a myth. Well, let me give a clarification albeit I think the article I read it
from did a good job in extrapolating the concept. I’ll link it down below and do give it a read. But to
summarize, the article suggests that humans need not motivation to get things done if they just cultivate a good discipline.
Perhaps at this point, it is crucial to get everyone on the same page of the terms’ definitions. Motivation,
broadly speaking is a set of right moods or feeling before starting an action. Student who says “I don’t
have the motivation to study chemistry” can be loosely translated to “I don’t have the mood to study
chemistry”. Similarly, if you were to say “I don’t feel like doing anything today”, “I don’t have the
motivation to do anything today” is implied. Whereas discipline disentangle any set of presumptuous and assumptions of having the right mood or necessary emotional state to evade an action by simply making a practice to improve on doing the action every day. Now, let that fact sink in because the implication of such conundrum is revolutionary. This a paradigm shift!
Again, if motivation is dependent upon having the required yet correct emotional state, it is a no-brainer
of its insidious form of procrastination. You wait and wait for the mood to kick in and while you are wasting the time which could have been productively utilized, you become a complete waste-man. The article further argues that motivation often time, has a short shelf-life. Only when you are inspired, you feel motivated or pumped or psyched to work on it. Once the adrenaline (read: motivation) subsides, you would no longer have the same attitude towards the action at hand. Imagine all of the things you could have achieved if you have a good discipline (perhaps even more in right mood, ironically). I hope at this point, you are pretty convinced that motivation is just a myth and discipline is the substitute.
However, this concept essentially does not sit right with me. I have had a few weeks to internalize the
concept by now since I first stumbled upon it. And something about it felt flawed. How I wished the notion earlier was true in all my cases and then I would not have excuses to fall out of sync with my discipline or routine. More often than not, I find myself struggling to keep the habits and now I have no one to point
the finger at. People generally do not feel unmotivated to do things and they are not eager (read:
motivated again) too. Oftentimes, responsibilities take precedence. It is just another day of hustling and churning. Perhaps the idea that motivation is quickly reduced to mere feelings is erroneous. Or maybe this the case of limitations of words. The closest of “I am not having it today” or “Oh no, not another day!” is unmotivated. In my opinion, motivation is a strong word, if I dare say. Motivation should be more nuanced than it deserved in the former since it is still scrutinise up until now, ironically. And to say that motivation is a myth is equivalent to saying having the right feeling is irrelevant (What is right even?).
Note that earlier conundrum also suggest discipline, which disregard emotions as a driver towards
completed action. From one angle, it sounds nihilistic and from another it seems like the bigger elephant in the room here is the word ‘discipline’.
I think the right take to when you’re feeling unmotivated, if I dare say so is to first recognize the feeling.
Acknowledge that you are just a human who will be swayed by all sort of emotions and denying such
emotions would mean to deny our humanity as a human. You know the whole spiel of emotion is what a
human, human (given the rise in mental health issues). Then, do a quick analysis as to whether the
emotional valence is worth succumbing towards. If it is worthy of giving attention to, evaluate the action plan. Maybe all you just need is a boost or a recharge. Take a duvet day, for instance. If it persists, please remember that motivation is just a myth! A surprise indeed. On a serious note though, in all honesty I wished I could give you a concrete straightforward solution to this rabbit hole. Obviously, ‘screw motivation, discipline is what you need’ deserves merits and it is always good to cultivate a good discipline – hopefully the compounded interest will pay its dividend in the future. However, the essence of motivation is a constant turmoil to life. It is easier to be objective when you are out of the spiral, not so when you are not. And I am not going to tell you what to do in these situation. It is time to put your adult pants on (thinking cap too) and take charge of your life.
PS: Please read the article I linked below. It is a game-changer. Read its part 2 too to better comprehend
get more context.
Written by: Nur Fasihah Mohd Khairuddin