Things that help you motivate yourself

| Wednesday February 9

I know that I am supposed to do a particular activity like a task, cleaning the house, or writing blogs, but I tend to postpone these indefinitely, citing various excuses and doing nothing productive. The major reason why we procrastinate is that we are not motivated enough. Being a mentor for a bunch of young talented students in a leading MBA college allows me in a position where I can see a lack of self-motivation as one of the biggest stumbling blocks in student and professional life. 

And there isn’t one single factor that determines motivation. 

Charles Handy talks about 3 things that are required in motivational calculus:

  1. You should know your needs. These can be the need for security, money, food, clothing and shelter, or need for companionship, approval, or to fulfil a debt to various people. 
  2. You should know the result of which activity would satisfy all or some of these needs. 
  3. You should have the energy or the resources (money, time, etc) to spend on those activities. 

The above is multiplicative – that is if any of the three is not there, you would not be motivated. 

  • If you do know your needs, then no activity would motivate you. 
  • If you do not have the energy or the resources, then you cannot finish the activity satisfactorily. 
  • If you do not know how to satisfy your needs, then you will not be motivated. 

Therefore, you have to link the activity (whether you like it or not) to a need. For example, if you fear that you will fail a business, and therefore have a need to pass it and get rid of your fear, you can link a task to that need. If you need the approval of your colleagues, and the distasteful activity will satisfy that need, then you will try to do the activity. 

Whether you finish the activity or not is based on the resources at hand. If you do not have the time, or you delayed it so much that you cannot possibly finish, then you are not motivated to do the activity, even if you know that the activity will satisfy a need. 

The same principle holds for motivating others. If you do not know the needs of another person, you cannot offer him an activity, the result of which would satisfy the needs. 

If you do know the needs and you can link it to an activity that you want to do, and provide the means and resources to do the activity, you will be motivated. 

Remove any of the three (needs, activity or resources) and there will be no motivation.