This subject can be looked at from two angles: being motivated or being unmotivated. Both are expressions that we hear about every day, on different occasions and in relation to many aspects of life.
Motivation or lack of motivation affect everyone, including those who have the teachings of a Philosophical Ideal available to them, but fail to maintain the sense of purpose to convert that Ideal into a happy and lasting mode of life.
What is motivation?
It is the motive, the cause that leads us to movement on one plane or another.
The body has quite evident motives to move itself, but the most interesting causes to look at are those that set in motion the emotions and the mind. In general, the emotions and the mind seek satisfaction and avoid worry: these are the two greatest and most illusory psychological motivations.
We say that we are motivated when there are things that we like, that stimulate us to obtain them, that give rise to a feeling of well-being, pleasure and, especially, the appreciation of others. To have achieved what we set out to achieve motivates us to continue with the action.
On the other hand, we say that we are unmotivated when there is no incentive that impels us to action, either because we do not see any immediate results or because we are demoralized by some failure.
Motivation and lack of motivation thus become the factors that determine our behaviour, our gestures, our way of speaking and even our approach to life.
Lack of motivation
This is expressed as discouragement, a sense of powerlessness in the face of difficulties, lack of energy to make decisions, loss of enthusiasm, despair about the future.
Although in the beginning there may have been great expectations, as time goes on and the fantasy-based dreams become diluted and the will is thwarted by waiting for successes to come from outside, the causes of the motivations disappear.
In part, the societies in which we live suffer from a lack of motivation, precisely because they overuse false and superficial psychological stimuli, because they deceive people by suggesting that success comes from nothing more than by buying a certain brand of product, taking a wonder drug or being in fashion.
This results in the presence of many “indignant people” all over the world, partly irritated by the number of lies in which we have been enveloped, like a spell that is difficult to avoid, and partly disenchanted by a lack of opportunities, that is, of valid causes with which to face the difficulties of existence.
Those to blame for the lack of motivation
The false values that predominate mean that continuous effort is replaced by easy success; work by entertainment; healthy activity by stress; investigation by rumours; study by learning just enough to get by.
Today the immediate prevails over the important. We are incited to live in the present, but not with our consciousness present, but rather by taking refuge in the unconsciousness to avoid responsibilities and difficulties.
The past tends to be seen as a series of failures, and the future is not seen in a much better light…
This attitude encourages people to look for others to blame – not the real guilty parties, but whoever is closest to hand. So we blame the people around us, the state of the world in general, the lack of money, the evil of people… and so many other pretexts that lead to a destructive and pessimistic inaction, which we then try to transmit to others.
Inner and outer motivations
It is true that we all need a cause that can give a direction to life.
The key lies in looking for good causes and stable roots.
If the motives come from others and are external to us, we will live in a state of eternal dependence. The world around us will become an atmospheric phenomenon that will determine our sunny and stormy days, our joys and our anxieties. Not to mention our dependency on other people, who are considered as a motive and cause of our behaviour.
External motivations are, unfortunately, transient and unstable and are not useful as a basis for Life.
The founder of New Acropolis, Jorge A. Livraga said:
“Dreams die when they are allowed to die, when we depend exclusively on external motivations to nourish them: if there are people who cheer us up, we are cheerful, if those people are not there, we don’t have any more energy; if the circumstances are favourable, we feel brave, but if things go a little off course, we lose heart. In this way, dreams are not lived and enthusiasm is not expressed. In this way, at most, a disciple becomes the shadow or reflection of the enthusiasm and the dreams of others, the reflection of the circumstances and of the smiling approval of whoever happens to be around us…”
Inner motivations arise from our ideas and feelings that we have chosen and assumed by a process of learning and decision-making, by experience and by looking towards the future.
They are states of consciousness that are not only based on the satisfaction of primary needs, but go beyond the instincts, the senses, the trivial emotions or the ideas that happen to be in fashion.
The best of motivations is an Ideal of Life which brings all our capacities into play, which occupies the whole of our being and offers us short-, medium- and long-term aims, giving a useful, powerful and efficient meaning to our actions.
Psychological motivations and philosophical motivations
Psychological motivations are of short duration because they depend on the instability and impermanence of the emotions, whether these be our own or those of others.
If we put the emphasis of our life on the emotions, it will very easily happen that, after a period of motivation, a period of demotivation may arise which, by its own negative weight, will leave deep traces in the personality.
If, on the other hand, we assume philosophical values, we will be able to understand the great ideas that moved history, that inspired the great figures who continue to be bright beacons on the path.
Philosophy is a permanent motivation, because the search for wisdom is a path that will never end and which, on the contrary, presents goals that are always being renewed, constant opportunities for correction and renewal, for learning and experience, for affirmation and happiness.
Let us go from the outer to the inner and turn the motivations into causes, the causes into roots, the roots into foundations, the foundations into aims, the aims into evolution. This is a true philosophical path, an excellent motive for living.
Image Credits: By mohamed_hassan | Pixabay | CC BY PD