Managing Motivation

I had an interesting conversation about motivation with my friend, Tom Richardson, recently. Tom is a businessman that wrote a book about business called “Business Is A Contact Sport”. Tom is a brilliant analyst of human behavior. He cuts through the fat of rhetoric and cliche and down to bones of how people think and act. In the wake of almost every conversation we have I come away with a deeper understanding of something. 

During our last visit Tom and I were discussing motivation and I mentioned how fleeting it can be. Predictably, he begged to differ. He said, “Motivation is never fleeting, it’s always there, we just choose where we direct it. For instance, we can be motivated to go to the gym and train but if something else looks more gratifying or our desire to go to the gym is diminished, we may choose to blow off the workout and stay home and watch a movie.” Tom contends that motivation wasn’t lost, it was simply diverted to staying home to watch a movie.

He has a point. I am always motivated but if I don’t choose to direct that motivation toward something I want in the long term, I may be distracted by something that gives me short term gratification.

 Discipline, and not motivation, becomes the barrier between what feels good now and what will benefit me later. But discipline can’t only mean forcing yourself to go to the gym while wishing you were some place else. There must be discipline in your actions, but there also has to be discipline applied to your thoughts.

If you associate negative thoughts with anything, then the experience will be exactly what you visualize it will be.

 Conversely, if you discipline your thoughts to dwell on the positive, like your goals for instance and how good it will feel to reach them, or how good you will fee when the workout is done, your motivation to workout will remain regardless of the distractions.

If you continually pride yourself in gutting out a good workout even when things aren’t optimal because you are mentally strong, and you also tell yourself that you will not be defeated and nothing will stand in your way; you will have an outstanding workout even if the circumstances aren’t optimal.

Whatever you speak into your life, will most likely come to pass. Choose your goals, then with the same commitment to being your best, choose your words wisely. Speak positively about your ability, how you feel, and about your goals. Make a habit of giving meaning and purpose to what you want in life with your words, because those words, and nothing else, directs your motivation.


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