In 2007 I enrolled in a six week anger management course with my partner at the time. It wasn’t because we needed to deal with anger issues, but instead we wanted to deal with our anxiety and stop allowing things to get on top of us. Several weeks into the course I had the opportunity to talk to one of the counsellors. I had never been in counselling or had any opportunity to talk to a professional before, so I took the chance when it arose.
I believed at the time that my biggest problem was lack of motivation and needed to know how to get more motivation. I knew what I wanted and what I should be doing, but I had absolutely no motivation to get it done. It might seem strange to people who are naturally motivated how hard some others find it to get on with things that they know would certainly make their life better!
So, looking for the Holy Grail of ‘how to get more motivation’, and expecting the answer to arrive in a couple of useful sentences I asked “I seem to have no motivation, what can I do to get it back?” The counsellor proceeded to ask me questions about my life and what I do. At the time I thought that was the wrong thing to ask me. I thought hey, there’s nothing wrong with my life, what I do or how I do it. It’s not my thinking or my daily routine that is the problem, I just lack motivation, so surely there is a simple answer! After all, two years prior to that meeting, I’d set out on a 900-mile distance challenge in my wheelchair, so surely it wasn’t me.
I didn’t get the answer I wanted. I really did expect the counsellor to talk for five minutes, give me some useful tips, and hey presto I would ‘have my mojo back’, and be equipped with everything I needed to be fully motivated and to go out and get the best from my life.
We all go through stages in life and I was going through a stage where I knew everything, or at least I thought I was right about everything and nothing could possibly be my fault. On a side note, the biggest problem with always being right is that you believe you ‘really are right’, and you’re one of those people who has to always be right! So because we are full of all this knowledge, we just believe we lack a small part of the jigsaw so we look for simple fixes, a few instructions or one little trick that will complement the vast knowledge we already have and complete the puzzle.
It took seven years, countless self-help books, the realisation that I was the problem and a massive dose of humble pie to make me realise why the counsellor that day had to ask me questions and couldn’t simply give me a few instructions. This is why there are complete books and training courses; because it is about you, about more than just an article with some bullet points.
So if you’re looking for a simple solution to be more motivated – good luck, it doesn’t exist. You have to find a real desire, something you really want, realise your own potential and start taking small steps towards making that desire a reality. Then the motivation will come by itself.
Think of the motivation you had the last time you wanted a new gadget, dress or car. Think of how motivated you were to get a new job when were so fed up with the last one (or not having one!)
We have to find something we really want, or hate something so much that we want to change it, and then we have our motivation. If you are completely comfortable or have no desire for change or improvement, then you will have no motivation.
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