What’s My Motivation?
This question might bring up memories of that old commercial where the actor asks, in a smug way, “Excuse me, what’s my motivation?”. This, however, is a serious question that we should all be asking in our chosen endeavors.
“Why do we do what we do?”
What is it that indeed motivates us to push forward in our chosen professions?
The majority of us have hobbies. These are things that we are passionate about. These are things that we are good at. These are things that we often do with the sole intent of taking our minds off of our work. Come with me for a minute as I take you into “The World of Imagination”. Imagine if your hobby was your job. What if the thing that we enjoyed most, were the best at, and received total gratification from, was the very thing that we called our “job”. Even as you’re reading this, I know you’re saying to yourselves that this sounds a little too “Utopian”, a little too good to be true. I will say that you’re right but you’re only right if I take into consideration, your current position of perception.
You see, in order to view things the way I am suggesting you do in “The World of Imagination”, you will first have to retrain your mind. All of our lives, the majority of us have been taught to identify what occupation can make us a decent living, then go about the task of gaining the necessary skills to obtain a position in that field. Let’s think for a minute, what would happen if we were “wired” differently as young kids. What if we were taught that the best thing to do is to identify what it is that we do well, what our strong areas are, and what we enjoy doing, then go about the business of becoming so good that we will eventually gain an income from doing it? We will then have moved from having our hobby be our hobby to our hobby being synonymous with our job.
The result of our current school of thought is a 47% job satisfaction rate in the United States. Less than half of the population is satisfied with what they do for a living. How can you be great at something that you don’t enjoy? The government rolls out all of these grand ideas as to why we are falling behind in innovation to countries like China and Japan. I suggest, they look no further than the issue I have laid out before you. Its the concept of “Meaningful Work”. Its turning our hobbies into our jobs. Its being so good at something that it makes us money and often times an exponentially greater amount of money than if we learn the other way. It is also understanding that, because we are using skills and talents that are unique to each of us and lend themselves to our life’s purpose, our work means something. We are not just a cog in the wheel. Our work is an integral part of the greater whole. What we do is beneficial to people and does more than just keep our cable on so we can watch “Keeping up with the Kardashians” (guilty pleasure).
You might be saying, “Thats all well and good for kids but what about me? I have already chosen my job.” This is where we have to go a little bit deeper and overcome fear and doubt.
Someone once navigated a boat to the edge of the horizon without knowing if they would indeed fall of the edge of the earth. Imagine their eyes and the feeling that resounded in their spirit when they discovered that the ocean continued to stretch out far beyond their awareness and even their imagination. Can you imagine that feeling of satisfaction and the sense of urgency to continue to follow that blue mystic ocean to see where it ended or if it ended at all? They took a chance and unlocked a whole new world for themselves and for generations after them. They overcame fear and doubt and rewired their minds to explore their heart’s desires.
We don’t have an innovation problem or a laziness problem in our country, we have a motivation problem in our country. We use our hobbies to escape our jobs. We come alive on the weekends and use our unlimited power of imagination to engage in self-gratification and become spiritless drones during the week. We walk into work on Monday having left our imaginations somewhere on a bike trail or a beach or in a painting on Saturday.
“Where the needs of the world and your talents cross, there lies your vocation,” said Aristotle 2,500 years ago.
You see, what I have outlined here isn’t new, it is just widely ignored. If you won’t listen to me, listen to Aristotle. He was a pretty smart guy. At least that’s what I continue to hear about him over 2,500 years after he walked into his “World of Imagination”.
Founder of True To Life Concepts and The Solution Summit