Why would a reasonable person attempt to do something incredibly difficult?
Why do our cultural heroes have lives that seem a ceaseless procession of self-inflicted hardship and struggle?
Strangest of all, why does pleasure easily gained make us feel hollow, whilst earned victories, no matter how small, make us feel that our souls are firmly rooted in the earth?
Because we can envision the future, and observe the present. Humans beings have the unique ability to consciously conceptualize our ideals. By our own free will, we can determine a goal and calibrate our present actions towards that goal. If that goal is not achieved, we experience frustration and despair.
Failure is the confrontation between our ideals and our actions.
Frustration, despair, and guilt are all facets of the same pain; that of perceiving that our framework for acting in the world is not adequate to meet our goals. Such a perception is difficult to accept and act upon, but doing so is the very essence of personal growth and progress.
Where in this model of human behavior is the need for “motivation”?
Hoping for motivation is putting the cart before the horse. The feeling of wanting to do difficult things is not cultivated out of thin air. That feeling is an inseparable consequence of selecting a difficult, concrete goal and moving towards that goal with an efficacious behavioral framework.
That is why failure is really no failure at all.
If you are failing, and adjusting behavior accordingly, you are necessarily getting closer to your desired outcome.
And not only are you moving closer, but you are actually accelerating.
But goal setting without proper behavior calibration is nothing more than fantasizing.
Action taking without close analysis of results is mindless labor.
Motivation in itself is just an emotional high. It doesn’t help you. It doesn’t bring you closer to what you want. It’s only a feeling.
What matters is how that emotion is applied in action, and from what stimulus the emotion arises.
Are you motivated because you are accelerating towards your goal?
Or because to not be motivated would be to spiral downwards into a depression?
These are difficult questions. How could they not be?
Easy questions are not questions at all, for if they are easy one already knows the answer.
Easily achieved goals are not really goals but whims, shared by drug addicts and toddlers alike.
So expect difficulty. Expect failure. Relish in self-examination. Take pleasure in adversity, and above all, hold onto your ideal.
Because without a clear ideal to move towards, your life will lack more than motivation.
Meaning itself will whither and fade.