I had just finished speaking to a university audience on leadership and goal achievement, and had stayed on afterwards to chat with the students.
“I know exactly what I want,” my young listener proclaimed.
Looking earnest, he furled his brow. “It’s just that I don’t always feel very motivated.”
“I don’t really give a fuck what you feel,” I replied with an equal amount of furling and earnestness.
“If you know exactly what you want… and you want it badly enough, then you’ll show up every day and do what needs to be done whether you feel like it or not.”
He flinched, only slightly, as I jabbed my finger in the air for extra dramatic import: “Motivation is vastly overrated.”
And it is.
I rarely feel motivated to run, or go the the gym, or put on over mitts to go out into the arctic cold to climb. There’s not a whole lot of motivation going on when I think about driving three hours to a ski area or hoisting the kayaks onto the roof of a car. I almost never feel motivated to write. In fact, I’ve put off writing this blog until the very last moment possible, perhaps just to dramatically punctuate my own perpetual lack of motivation!
You see, motivation is flighty. It’s not dependable. It comes… and it goes. Sometimes it shows up; more often than not, it doesn’t. Even when it comes to stuff we like or want.
What’s important is the knowing. Knowing what you want. Knowing what you like. Knowing where it is you want to go. And why.
When you’re clear about your destination, when you know your outcome, then all you need to do is act. You’re pulled forward by the vision of what you will achieve. How you feel from moment to moment is irrelevant. In fact, your transitory ‘feelings’ usually just end up getting in the way.
I know how much I value my fitness and vitality over time when I run. And so I run. Whether I feel like it or not.
I know how much I love the creative process of writing and the sense of satisfaction I have when the words I have written have an impact on someone I have never even met. So I write. Whether I feel like it or not.
Get clear on what you really, really want.
Then get going. And stay at it.
In the meantime, it doesn’t really much matter how you feel.
This is an encore of a post first published on March 20, 2104.