By: Ken Austin
No matter whether you want to motivate others or yourself, the same challenge must be met: getting from inaction to positive action. Even negative action is a better starting point than lack of action.
Directing and leading action is always easier when there is at least some motion. Starting from a “dead stop”, or total inaction, requires an injection of energy that is so powerful that even the most apathetic person feels roused to action.
To motivate is to move to action, either by an incentive, moral force or both together. The actual application of the force or energy to cause action requires an understanding of who, what, when, where and why motivation works. Here’s a key to understanding motivation – all motivation is self-motivation. While someone else may provide a carefully tailored approach to motivate others, those others can only become motivated through their own mind, emotions and physical actions.
This is where a sound understanding of the root cause of motivation is vital. Before you can motivate others, you must master self-motivation. True motivation comes from a clear vision of a desired outcome, combined with a passionate emotional desire that cannot be diverted, quenched or denied. Unless a person has a detailed, focused picture of an end result that creates enthusiasm, motivation will not endure.
Once you develop the skills of making clearly defined end goals and values, and building a passionate desire to achieve them, you will then be able to learn how to spread that motivation to others. Unless and until you can incorporate the necessary focus and fire within yourself, motivating others will be difficult or impossible without the use of force, fear or threats. That sort of motivation never endures.
True motivation is a habit, developed by persistence and action. At the beginning, a person’s motivation is a conscious act that requires applied will power and repetition. After a while, the repeated action and feeling become unconscious or automatic. Anyone who has been trained in war knows that repeated forced acts of courage can make a warrior of a common man. In the same way, repeated acts of nearly any behavior or emotion can be made into an unbreakable habit.
In the end, motivation is the end result of a thought – a clear thought that is filled with emotion and acted upon persistently, repeatedly and faithfully. “First the man makes the thought, then the thought makes the man.” That is motivation.