Where Does Your Motive Force Lead You?

Where does motivation come from?

What makes you do something?  In the case of something you do as a part of routine, the answer is obvious:  it’s part of the routine, and it didn’t get there by accident.  Things like brushing your teeth or preparing meals just have to get done, so you work them into routine to make sure they do.  Things like working out or walking the dog are things you know you should do, without a doubt, so you make it simple by taking away the guesswork.  You make it part of a daily/weekly routine.  You may not affirm a task’s placement in your routine every time you do it, but it will remind you if you miss it.  Likewise, if you consistently miss something and it does not present you with a significant problem, you may re-evaluate its place in your schedule.

But what about things that are not routine, but you are still motivated to do?  Things like reading a novel, taking a road trip, building a birdhouse, or writing a song?  What makes us do these things?  Here is why I ask:  we, as individuals, are highly varied in our levels of motivation.  Why does one person strive to eat up every minute being productive, when another person does all they can to reach a point where they can stop doing anything?

Perhaps more vexingly, why do some people work so hard for years and years with the goal of reaching a point where they don’t have to work anymore?  If you dedicate your life to working hard, that is your life.  Do you really have your heart set on changing it?  Why would you throw yourself so completely into a way of life that is the opposite of what you want?  Or is the hard working life what you actually want, but you don’t want to recognize that?

I have a bad habit of throwing myself too deeply into what I’m working on.  I get so committed to chasing down that feeling of satisfaction at having done something productive, that I wear myself out trying to get there, and never reap any benefit beyond that.  And once the thing is done, the next is in process.  But why keep queuing up work, if you are never going to finally play?

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