Sunday, January 29, 2017

Motivation or Action

Does motivation lead to action or does action lead to motivation? Which one is the tail and which one is the dog? Its a bit of both. Motivation can (but is not required to) spark action. But many times motivation only causes me to be motivated and I end up not doing anything about it. Action on the other hand sparks motivation. This seems counter intuitive but I have found that the more effort and real action that I put into something, the more motivation I have. Maybe Newton's law has something to say about this as something already in motion takes less effort to keep in motion. Cal Newport's research in So Good They Can't Ignore You has found many examples of this as well.

This has some great implications. If you are feeling extremely motivated, its important to use it wisely. Realize that it means nothing unless it sparks action. I'd recommend channeling that motivation to do 1 thing. You just want to get motion, get action going.

On the flip side if you are not feeling any motivation (like for myself I've been wanting to write a book for the longest time), try to get yourself to start somewhere. Just take some action. Maybe try to lower the barrier to entry with a "shitty first draft" or get some brainstorming onto paper. Just start. Starting is actually a very difficult skill both personally and organizationally. I believe Seth Godin when he says that it is one of the most valuable skills for success.

I'm proud to have achieved some level of success in starting and continuing to write in this blog even though I'm only sometimes motivated to do so. I've managed to get into a habit of exercise by putting X's onto a shared Google doc with friends. I've manged to make significant long term changes to my diet.

My next step is to apply the same to starting a business. Even though I'd say the stakes are lower than those above, this one seems harder. Probably because its so mysterious and new to me. But I'm going to proceed forward in the only way I know how. By putting one foot in front of the other over and over again, however small (or large) those steps are.