Motivation


Think about how old you were when you learned the word procrastination. You may have learned this while falling behind on a project or assigned reading for school. It was basically synonymous with “inadequate student”. There was a time I thought it was strictly tied to homework and once I was done with formal education, it would cease to plague me. But that turned out to be wishful thinking.

If you google the word motivation you will find a billion how-to articles along with several #MondayMotivation posts. It’s clearly something most of us, young and old, struggle with. Motivation feels like a place you visit and not something you can possess. There are different variants as well depending on what you’re trying to do. For example, I have no issues locating motivation to eat out or binge watch a new show. But finding motivation to work out or make a phone call is like trying to find a white cat in the snow.

Here are some of the types of motivation and my personification of them.

Survival

Survival motivation is like the This Is Fine Dog meme.

Most of us have to work. We live in a glorified fiefdom where we work in exchange for living in a society. Some might say we live to provide ourselves food and shelter, but is that really the case when a person on one side of the country can work 40 hours a week and afford to buy a 5 bedroom house and another person on the other side of the country can work 40 hours a week and only afford to rent a studio apartment? 

Nevertheless, we have to pay the rent or the mortgage and we have to buy food simply to survive. You can always rely on this type of motivation. Like the dog, it has accepted this is what has to be done. It is a solid and steady type of motivation, but it isn’t winning you any awards. It gives you just what you need to get the job done, but nothing more.

Love

Ok here me out. I know we canceled this guy, but Pepé Le Pew is the perfect mascot for Love motivation.

If you’ve ever been motivated by love, you know it can lead to wild things. Unfortunately, with this type of motivation, reason is not a main component. But with love motivation you can do things you never imagined and you might see a side of yourself that doesn’t come out often.

People have been known for feats of great strength motivated by love like when a loved one is trapped under a car. Artists are known for giving their blood, sweet, and tears for the love of their art. It’s like all of your body’s signals for survival like hunger, fatigue, even pain are silenced so you can accomplish your goal.

This type of motivation is great, but can lead to self destruction if not checked as was the case with our striped friend.

Power

Power motivation. This is the super holy shit type of motivation. Similar to love motivation it embodies your every move. It is all consuming. Your only desire is to have power and you will stop at nothing to have it.

This type of power is scary at best and catastrophic at worst. So many “successful” people have this kind of motivation from CEOs who refuse to pay their employees a livable wage to micro-managing store managers who time your pee-breaks to Queens and Dictators who are perfectly happy blowing up their subjects for personal gain.

If you find yourself with this kind of motivation I would advise you to seek professional help and if you can’t be kind, at least be careful.

Achievement

Achievement motivation is like being Leslie Knope in Parks and Rec. This type of motivation is when you are motivated by accomplishing tasks and doing them to the best of your abilities. This is partly intrinsic motivation and partly external motivation.

You want to feel productive and accomplished by completing many tasks, but you also want people to see you as the best in what you do. You’re motivated by doing a good job and as a result work hard, but when people don’t recognize your efforts, it can make you a little crazy.

This type of motivation is pretty good and sustainable, you just can’t put too much weight on whether or not others appreciate what you do.


Finding the motivation to do anything these days is difficult. We’re fatigued from the constant loom of a seemingly never-ending pandemic. We’re fatigued from the relentless demands of a capitalistic society where you sometimes have to fight to be treated like a human. There are pressures and responsibilities at every turn. I hope it helps to remember that most of us struggle with motivation. You’re not a bad parent or employee or friend or significant other or just lazy if you struggle to do things. We’re all doing our best and some days that means sitting in a room that is ablaze and smiling to get through it.

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