Addicted to motivation?

If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you will have noticed the following:

  1. I’m passionate about developing leaders and teams
  2. I don’t conform to the usual expectation of creating content that resonates with everyone or even a “hot” niche
  3. I hate those 20-year-olds who brand themselves as “life coaches.”
  4. I don’t talk about motivation

The last part is important because, contrary to what most people think, motivation is optional. Still, a solid plan with the right systems and processes moves mountains (metaphorically) or wins medals (literally).

My problem with motivation goes deep, starting from the middle school years when my parents and relatives began to motivate me. To study hard and use “common sense” in both common and uncommon situations.

I’ll be honest — they sucked at it. Or perhaps, I realised early that all that motivation would not help me unless the subjects/topics or life became interesting. And when it did, I did pay attention and gave my best. That’s been the theme of my life, and I’m pretty sure yours too!

We all have enough insight and intellect to understand what’s suitable for us and what’s not. Smoking may be bad for me in the long run, but if it gives me pleasure right now and helps ease stress, I don’t care if it gives me lung cancer 20 years from now. It works. That’s all matters.

No amount of motivation or intervention is going to help me unless I decide to quit. Sure, I may be motivated to quit smoking tomorrow, but would I do that? Nope. Part of the challenge is that motivation is temporary. It gives us a dopamine rush and euphoria that lasts for a few minutes to a couple of hours. Maybe a couple of days.

And like all drugs, the dopamine wears off eventually. Sure, you can supplement with more motivation, more dopamine, and more euphoria. But would it make a difference? For all I know, more motivation makes you a personal development addict. (Do you or someone you know tune into life or business motivation podcasts, audiobooks, or YouTube videos?) And like all junkies, they aren’t to be trusted on what they say but what they do, which ranges from almost nothing to way too little.

Significant changes happen when one decides to take a step in the positive direction. External motivation rarely help you make a decision. Sure, it might help you think about the future for a brief while, but what happens after that phase is in your hands.

If you fail after making a decision, listening to more motivation isn’t going to help. Seeking help from a qualified professional — a therapist or a coach (not a life coach, please, I said “professional”) is the right step towards positive results. They know how to guide others through their life’s journey.

I help emerging leaders, senior leaders, and teams achieve breakthrough results by not motivating them to visualise themselves as world champion athletes but as world-class leaders and professionals. Why? Because they’re not athletes. They don’t know what it means to be an athlete. And going to the gym thrice a week to lift a 20-kilo barbell with a couple of ken-and-barbie weights doesn’t make them one either.

Can you see my point here — motivation isn’t a magic pill. You have to put in the work. Following through is what counts the most, and that’s best achieved under either the guidance from a qualified professional (instead of some random influencer dude) or having the foresight to think for yourself.

Please, understand this — you’ve got to do better than motivation. Be addicted to results, not dopamine.

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