What Is Motivation

Motivation: The Scientific Guide on How to Get and Stay Motivated



Motivation is a strong, yet tactical beast. Sometimes it’s really easy to get inspired, and you find yourself wrapped in a whirlpool of excitement. At other times, it's almost impossible to figure out how to motivate yourself and you're stuck in the spark of delayed death. This page contains the best ideas and the most useful research on how to get inspired and how to get going.
It’s not going to be any rah-rah, pump-up motivational speech. (This is not my style)) Instead, we are breaking down science behind how we can be inspired in the first place and how we can be motivated in the long run. Whether you're trying to figure out how to inspire yourself or how to inspire a team, this page should cover everything you need to know.

You can click on the links below to go to the specific section or just scroll down to read everything. At the end of this page, you'll find a complete list of all the articles I've written on inspiration.

I. Motivation: What It Is and How It Works

What is Motivation?

Common Misconceptions About Motivation

II. How to Get Motivated and Take Action

Schedule Your Motivation?

How to Get Motivated (Even When You Don't Feel Like It)?

How to Make Motivation a Habit?

III. How to Stay Motivated for the Long-Run?

How to Stay Motivated by Using the Goldilocks Rule?

How to Reach Peak Motivation?

What to Do When Motivation Fades?


1. Motivation : What it is and how it works

Scientists define motivation as your general desire to do something. It is the set of psychological energy that forces you to take action. It’s great and everything, but I think we can come up with a more effective definition of inspiration.

What is the motivation?

So what exactly is the inspiration? Author Steven Presfield’s book “The War of Art” has a great line in it, which I think got the main part of the inspiration. To paraphrase Pressfield, "At one point the pain of not doing it becomes more than the pain of doing it."

In other words, at one stage, it is easier to change than to remain the same. It’s easier to act out and feel safe in the gym than to sit still and experience spontaneity on the couch. It’s easier to feel awkward when making a sales call than to be frustrated about your dwindling bank account.

This is the main part of my idea motivation. Every choice has a value, but when we get inspiration, it is easier to endure difficulties in action than similar pain. Somehow we get over a mental edge - usually after a few weeks of delays and facing an impending deadline - actually doing the job becomes more painful than actually doing it.

Now for the important question: How can we create more possibilities that we will cross this emotional edge and feel inspired on a continuous basis?

Common Misconceptions About Motivation

The most surprising thing about inspiration is that it does not come often but comes after starting a new behavior. We have this common misconception that passively taking inspirational videos or reading inspirational books leads to inspiration. But active motivation can be a much stronger motivation.

Motivation is often the result of action, not the cause. Starting in a very small way is a kind of active inspiration that naturally creates momentum.

I would like to refer to this effect as the physics of productivity because it is basically Newton's first law in the formation of habits: objects in motion are in motion. Once a task is started, it is easier to move forward.
Once you start a behavior you won’t need too much inspiration. At the beginning of almost all friction of any action. Once you get started, progress happens naturally. In other words, it is often easier to finish a task than to start it in the first place

So, one of the keys to getting motivated is to make it easy.

Before we talk about how to get started, let's just pause for a second. If you enjoyed this article on inspiration, you probably find my other writings useful for performance and human behavior. Every week, I share self-improvement tips based on proven scientific research through my free email newsletter.


Next part will come in next blog.

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