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The Thought of the Day

Posted by on July 1, 2013

The Thought of the Day:

Appreciating Motivation

So once again I am back at work and surrounded by exceptionally hard working individuals who aren’t working. And then it makes me think…how much of our potential are we really utilising? They always say to live every day to the fullest, but I don’t think this idea can really be implemented in the monotonous environment of daily work-life. There has to be someone to do the admin work. There has to be someone who cleans the office. There has to be a job somewhere that isn’t considered “glamorous” or in any shape or form “interesting”. Okay, sure, you can create a sense of interest in almost anything if you try hard enough, and it is true that the mediocre jobs are often the ones that people benefit from the most (think of refuse control and garbage removal).

This made me think of a few points:

1. How can we motivate ourselves to use our potential doing the potentially exceptionally boring?

2. How can we show our appreciation of others who do the exceptionally necessary?

Now these two points may not appear to be directly related, but I’ve found a few links which I just had to share.

1: A Matter of Motivation

First of all, we should always be motivating ourselves to do whatever it is we do to the best we can. But this motivation is not as simple as it sounds. Who can keep up a higher than average level of performance at all times without burning out? Who can push themselves above and beyond what is expected of them without feeling a slight tinge of annoyance at the lower performance of those around them? Who can force themselves to do what must be done and more just because they want to?

Funnily enough, subconsciously, we always do. Although sloth is an inherant human quality, we still push ourselves to perform. This could be for various reasons; we think we’ll get a higher pay-check if we perform, we think we’ll have more satisfaction out of a job-well-done, we think a lot of different things which all add to our self-motivaton. Motivation can either be done through reinforcement or punishment. This is general psychology. We either reward ourselves positively or negatively, or punish ourselves positively or negatively (I’m not going to go into this too much since I did one module on it and even that was not enough time to accurately sum up all the psycho-babble). But, basically, when we do something, we have already thought out the possible outcomes of our actions and created a reason – or, in this case, a motivation – to do what we are about to do.

So, if we are already, technically, “motivated”, then why am I saying that we are not motivated? Beause subconscious motivation isn’t good enough any more. We can’t sit back and let our super-ego and id fight the battle for control the entire time without us having a say in it. We actually have to voice our motivation now. We have to put the motivation in the public domain and feel the power of society’s expectations weigh down upon us. Then we will be trully motivated to practice what we preach. To prove to the world (and not just ourselves) what our capabilities trully can accomplish. And all this even while we are performing the ordinary. The boring. The mundane. Because with motivation, these ordinary, boring, mundane tasks come alive with untapped potential of their own. As soon as we grasp fully the concept of our own abilities, we can begin to grasp that which lies in wait around us. There we find even further inspiration to motivate us to perform to our very best. And, as such, performance does not become a chore which weighs down on our wellness – whether this be physical or psychological – but it creates a new sense within us – one akin to spirituality and finding meaning. Every act creates another avenue for future growth and enlightenment. This implies that voicing our motivation – our dreams and goals, our pursuits for tomorrows and tomorrow’s tomorrows – leads us to be further motivated. As such, the matter of motivation is solved by motivating being motivated. And I guess that’s where the catch 22 comes in: the matter of motivation is to be motivated in the first place. And, unfortunately, only you can do that for yourself. But you can use the pressures of hypocrisy as a first stepping stone to start the positive cycle.

2. Necessary Appreciation of the Necessary

Now we come to the next point: showing appreciation for the necessary. These are the things which we do not always consider while we run off into the distance chasing our goals. These are the things which we reckon should be available at all times – should be on a certain level everywhere. Things which are done in the background; used but not seen, nevermind heard. These are the jobs which may not necessarily give rise to excellence, but need to be there for the excellence to be realised in others. These jobs don’t just help to build the foundation for future growth, but they are also a part of the maintainace plan; keeping everything shiny and clean so that any sudden burst of activity can take place without hesitation.

But wait, if these jobs are so darn important, then why should we take active steps to appreciate them? Aren’t they already being appreciated? No: because they happen in the background and are only noticed when they are absent. And these jobs are often the very definition of crappy…they don’t give a high pay-level, they involve bad environments, they often have high levels of physical labour which can be taxing on even the fittest individual, and, to put the cherry on top, they get very little appreciation. And now we expect these poor individuals who go about performing these jobs to be motivated to perform them to the best of their abilities? Not bloody likely.

But without them…the foundation falls. The plaster on the walls chips away, the floors get flooded with unwanted debri, and all the while the other people are trying to reach their higher-than-normal goals. But now, those people cannot put their full effort into their chosen direction; they have to deal with all the small problems which were originally hidden from them.

So, while you are striving to be as motivated as possible in your own life, try and rub off a bit of appreciation onto others, and see what sort of reaction you get. It’s incredible what a little bit of thanks can do. Appreciation is also recognition, and recognition feels great! And that feeling of gratitude does wonders to grow one’s self-perception and make one think along the lines of “I can” rather than “I must”. And in a sparkling moment of clarity, we no longer have a person motivating themselves alone, but being motivated by the appreciation of those around them too.

And so we reach the next step in the cycle. What comes after that is completely up to what motivates you.

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WonderWhiteRabbit hopping off

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