Counselling Psychology | Consultant Psychology | Clinical Supervision

The secret ingredient to riding waves

Lately, I found myself thinking about the concept of motivation when faced with another hurdle at the job front and I started wondering- what is it that motivates people and what is it that makes me jump into action?

Do I get moving in order to show that the faith some other has put in me was all worth it or does it spur me into action to be wanting to prove to someone who doesn’t seem to believe I am up for the task at hand that in fact I am perfectly capable?

In other words, is it faith or doubt that move me? Then I realised, in either case it seems to be an Other that I am allowing to influence the way I think about myself- the perception someone has of me, how another sees me and makes sense of me and consequently judges me; the faith and belief another puts in myself appears to have the ability to greatly affect how I see and perceive myself in turn. And both faith and doubt seem to be two sides of the same coin:
the desire to show that I can live up to the expectations someone has put into me. This desire may then work as a positive reinforcement, a nice, encouraging motivational force for me to work hard and show that the faith shown in me was put into good use and that, indeed they were right to believe in my abilities. It is certainly the more positive way than feeling the necessity to prove to haters who seem to say- you are not worth it, you can’t do xyz, that yes- I can, and I will and here, I will show you and prove you wrong.
But in both cases it feels that there is a dependency going on, a need to show who we are in the eyes of others- and exactly who are we then? How do we define ourselves when we just look at ourselves, irrespective of someone else’s opinion?

Is it possible to find motivation independent of someone else’s perception or judgment and irrespective of worldly goods that beckon at the end of a completed task?
Can we find motivation from within, or is the desire to achieve, to accumulate or to accomplish something, still reactive, a comparison to someone else? Then again, maybe we can use this comparison and shift it toward another version of ourselves- can we motivate ourselves to become a better version of who we are right now?

So maybe the question is not: can we motivate in isolation, but rather how do we use what motivates us to our advantage?
Let’s say it is our environment that motivates us, we then need to find out whether it is encouragement or criticism that makes us react, words of kindness or harshness that spur us on.
And what if it is neither but rather the promise of recognition, wealth or respect that makes us go the extra mile and work hard.
In either case though, it is utilising the drive that spurs us on to our advantage- finding out how we define ourselves and using what motivates us to move towards internal growth and fulfilment and in the end we can put the faith someone puts in us and utilise someone else’s doubts and turn it into a force of motivational power that helps us to propel us into better versions of ourselves, find fulfilment that started growing from without but filled up from within, with the knowledge that we gained about ourselves with the help from others.

So, use whatever energy you receive from others and ride the motivational wave to fulfilment- find out what motivates you, don’t judge or try to work against it, accept it and see what comes your way as an opportunity for growth.

How will you make the most of what is given to you in order to live well?
I have faith in you, so you should too!