Have you ever wondered just why some people seemed to be highly motivated no matter what’s going on their life while others struggle to find enough energy just to get by? Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a way to tap into an unlimited reserve of mental, physical and emotional energy anytime you wanted to?
Well, the great news is that not only is this possible it is something that you can easily learn to do. But firstly lets look at what motivation is. Motivation can be described as an energy that comes from internal and external factors that helps stimulate desire and action.
Sometimes we are being motivated by these factors to take massive action towards achieving those things that are important to us, while other times we are being demotivated because of factors that dull our enthusiasm or willingness to take action.
The Twin Powers of Motivation
There are two main powers that drive our motivational energy… the Power of Pleasure and the Power of Pain.
We will almost always be driven to move towards those things that we believe will bring more pleasure or joy into our lives and conversely be motivated to move away from those things that may cause pain.
If you think about how motivation can best help you build a happier, healthier, wealthier and more productive life then the answer is to simply decide what you do want so you have something to move towards. The more specific you can be about what you want, the more clarity you will have, and the more energy you will have to achieve what you want more rapidly.
We also must learn to tap into both these driving forces. The reason why is simple. There are going to be times in your life that you need to make a change that will improve the quality of your life. This could be to start a diet plan, exercise regular, stop smoking, give up an addiction, leave a dysfunctional relationship or any number of things that will help you to have a better life.
While there may be a certain amount of ‘pleasure’ associated with these changes the other side of the coin is that the journey towards achieving them will not always be easy. A part of us knows this and so an internal struggle arises between the benefit of achieving our objective versus whatever changes we need to make along the way to making it happen.
Most people associate change with pain because it means getting uncomfortable or they fear the unknown that the change may bring. They know they really want to change, yet they just can’t seem to get themselves to do it.
That’s why motivation is so important to making changes in your life. Without it, it’s never going to happen. If you want to make any lasting changes in your personal or professional life then you will need to be comfortable using both motivational forces at your disposal.
How To Find The Pleasure In Pain
The way I have learned to do this is to re-wire my thinking around change and pain. In other words, I link so much more pain to staying where I am instead of what ‘may’ happen by changing that it creates a super strong sense of urgency and gives me a compelling reason to keep moving forward.
For example, I recently started a new martial art. It’s something I’d wanted to do for years but had a thousand and one excuses why I never got started. Then, once I started I felt like quitting every single night for the first 6 months because of how ‘hard’ it was physically and the fact that I felt like I wasn’t getting it and how frustrating that was.
Instead, I used the pain of ‘failure’ to keep me going. I told myself that if I stopped now then that would be a massive failure and for me failure is not an option especially if it’s something that I’ve always dreamed of having, being or doing. I also hooked into the pain of regret because I have a belief that it’s better to do what you love now, while you can, rather than wait until ‘tomorrow’ because tomorrow may never happen and this directly hooks into the pain of regret.
If you’ve ever regretted not doing something in your life, then you’ll know what I mean. Time is something we can never get back once it’s passed us by so for me, regret is not an option.
It doesn’t matter what you use to tell yourself that you are going to achieve what you want. You can use the pain of regret, or that you may be letting others down, or anything at all that will help you to raise the level of accountability you put on yourself. Learning to master using the power of pain as a tool to help you achieve what you want is one of the most profound and productive gifts that you can give to yourself.
The upside of this is that once you can do it for yourself, you’ll then be able to show others how they can do it too. Imagine a world filled with people who get what they want because they no longer allow fear of change or the unknown to be the reason why they are settling for second best in their lives.
Become Your Own Accountability Coach
To take this to the next level for yourself and to put into practice what we’ve just been talking about, pick one area of your life that you want to make a change in now. Choose something that you’ve been putting off doing but you know that you must do it sooner or later or your life will suffer in some way (if it isn’t already).
Then write down all the reasons why you ‘must’ change (the benefits it will bring) and all the reasons why you’ve been avoiding it. Now, take all those things in the avoiding column and link them to a bigger pain that you will consciously choose to happen if you don’t make the change.
It could be that you you agree to give away $1,000 to a charity, or go without your favorite treat for a month, or you’ll go without something that you really love like your favorite TV show for a year… it doesn’t matter what it is as long as it will help inspire you to take massive action so that failure is not an option.
I call this using your personal integrity to get results. By associating both the power of pleasure and pain as a motivational force to help you achieve those things that are important to you it helps give you the essential mental, physical and emotional energy you need to keep moving forward.
Another way of looking at this strategy is that you are using pain as a leveraging tool for increased accountability. We all know that we are more likely to succeed if we are being held accountable for something, especially if there is a painful consequence that’s likely to happen if we fail.
When we choose our own consequence and stick to it, then we elevate our personal integrity to new heights of responsibility and when that happens suddenly it starts to get easier to turn your dreams into reality.