For the most part, we move through the structure of our days ebbing and flowing with what needs attending. When the going is good we’re faced with small choices and only minor motivational challenges. However, when the waters get murky and ambiguity sets in over which direction to head—or what truly needs prioritizing—the challenge of finding the right motivation can feel stagnating.
Motivation can be a complex puzzle to solve. There are many facets and levels to our goals, ambitions, needs, and wants that can blend together to create a confusing picture of what really gets us up and moving. In his TED Talk, Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator, Tim Urban paints an all-too-relatable depiction of what it really feels like to suffer through procrastination. In many of his points, he creatively depicts the unending battle that exists between stress and enjoyment. Procrastination in this way is often a cyclical process of trying and retrying to find the right type of motivation in the moment to focus on the task at hand.
This effect is known by all and all too familiar to some, but it’s lesser-known by its official concept to most. The Yerkes-Dodson law states that there’s a correlated relationship between stress and productivity. Namely, as stress increases so does our natural attentiveness for being productive. Stress acts as a catalyst for getting things done. However, for most endeavors, too much stress kills productivity altogether. Hanging in the balance here is what we often refer to as motivation and is our way of describing the actual elements that propel us forward.
For many of us, we think of motivations as a means to an end. Namely that it’s an internal drive that creates our ability to perform and complete tasks. The truth is that motivations can be much more nuanced. They are also the conditions that we set for ourselves or are subjected to from our external environments. For instance, does the task at hand require a lively discussion with a fervent exchange of ideas? Or, does it require an ability to take concise direction from another without your input to produce the desired outcome? Because every situation is slightly nuanced like this, having a clear understanding of your unique motivations, can help you navigate murky circumstances when it just doesn’t make sense why you’re not able to move forward.
This week explore what makes you unique in the Motivations module of your Prism Portrait. Consider how the bigger “why” of your motivations fits together with the “how”. It might not seem an easy task at first, but your reward might just be increased self-awareness, time-saved, and decreased levels of anxiety in the future.
“One’s only rival is one’s own potentialities. One’s only failure is failing to live up to one’s own possibilities.”
– Abraham Maslow
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