What motivates you? Your tale must have these two key ingredients to keep your head in the game.
If you already knew everything about your day, much less your life, there wouldn’t be enough tension to get your attention. Which would leave you complacent and lazy, without a heartbeat — and without motivation.
Necessity motivates. In a tale well-told, your effort is urgently needed. Otherwise, why are you here? It’s the gap between where you are and where you’re going that keeps you moving. You need both something necessary and a gap between what you need and what you have. We are motivated when we are pressed to come up with a solution to what is missing. For example: the climber above. What’s missing? His next handhold — and the top.
The guy hanging from the cliff doesn’t want to stay there all day. He is moving from where he is to the top of his climb. The top is his overall destination. If he didn’t have an end in mind — if he were in an endless climb, constantly pressing his ability to the max, without of view of the victory that awaits him at the top — he wouldn’t be much better off than if he had nowhere to go. But he also needs his next grip.
You need both.
So the challenge in finding motivation is to have both somewhere to go and your next handhold to get you there in a way that is, itself, a challenge. In other words, to be truly motivated, you need both the destination and your next move, and both need to be challenging. Both of these — the long-term and the short-term — when both of these are tugging on you, you will keep moving. In other words, you’ll be motivated.
Sometimes it helps to see the opposite of something to see it clearly. So — what is unmotivating? In a poorly-told tale, the long-term goal or short-term steps to get you there, or both, are missing. Without a long-term goal, each day is an endless slog. And without short-term handholds along the way, the long-term goal is too far off. You give up because it’s too far beyond your grasp to motivate you.
Motivation requires both a long-term goal, and short-term objectives that are within reach.
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