The origins of motivation: It‘s not what you think
Mike, my partner in business and private life, has adult ADHD. So, experiencing bumps with motivation seems pretty typical.
But one thing always makes me want to bang my head against the wall.
It’s not procrastination.
It is not time-blindness (what does that even mean?).
And it’s not forgetfulness.
It’s the inability to feel good when he finished a task or did something he intended to do like working out. We probably all suffer from not validating what we do.
Not acknowledging a small step but expecting the marathon. Not feeling proud when we did what we procrastinated on for so long, instead of beating ourselves up for not doing it earlier.
I feel this behavior is especially true for people with ADHD.
But why is that a problem?
The reason motivation grows is feeling good about the journey – not the outcome.
Let me repeat that because it is so important.
Not acknowledging what you do is a problem because motivation grows by feeling good about the journey – and less about the outcome.
You don’t need to feel motivated in order to do something, but you need to feel good that you did it.
Let me explain. And I do that by telling a little story …
Mike has met his accountability buddy Liz at one of Eric Tivers’ “ADHD Rewired” workshops. Since then, they have met once a week to talk about business.
One day Mike mentioned Liz told him she works out for 20 minutes. And he added, she said, I know, it should be more, but I don’t have time.
I looked at him as if he had just told me he still believed in Santa Claus.
I said: You mean she works out for 20 minutes every day? Mike answered: Yes.
And I said: And she finds that is not much?
He said: Yes.
And I said: Do you guys know that this is more than most people without ADHD do? And that this adds up to a whopping of 120 hours a year? Which is quite good?
I will save you the rest of the conversation.
Here is the point:
If you don’t value what you do, why would you do more of it?
If you don’t feel good after doing what is important to you, why continue?
If you constantly devalue what you did because someone does more/better/more excellent – why even try?
Motivation does not come out of thin air. We can’t wait to be motivated to do the thing we are procrastinating on.
We need to get up, do a little bit, then bask in the feeling of goodness because we did what we intended to do.
And then we repeat the cycle.
The moral of the story?
Be proud of everything you do—each day. And when that voice whispers in your ear: What you did is … nothing, it’s not enough, it’s ridiculous … tell that voice to please shut up.
You do your best.
Be proud of it.
Psst … want to know where I get a lot of motivation?
From Team Body Project, where we find a lot of our workouts. And one reason we like this channel so much is that Daniel, one of the instructors, is a master motivator.
Listen for yourself (it starts at 1:15 min.)
What could you do now? Maybe indulge in reading one of these …
Start here – an overview of the resources on this website
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