“However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.”
~ Stephen Hawking
This famous quote by Stephen Hawking is one of the most motivating quotes I have come across. And it now feels more relevant than ever, when there is a global crisis going on. The importance of motivation can never be undermined because that’s what drives us towards accomplishments. One of the things that differentiate human beings from other species is motivation. While other species’ only major motivations include survival instincts, human beings feel motivated beyond that. This reminds me of a quote by Walt Whitman where he said that the human race is filled with passion.
So, where does this motivation come from? On a very basic level, motivation comes either from needs or from external rewards. Motivation can be classified into two broad categories viz. intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic or internal motivation is when a person does something for their self. We identify our needs, which may or may not be essential, and work towards fulfilling them. We do them either because we need them, or because it pleases us. Extrinsic or external motivation is when an external driving force works other than the person’s conscience. Suppose there is a reward attached to the fulfilment of a task. The reward may not be material as well. For example, if I do a task to earn praises from my friends, that is extrinsic motivation.
The imposed lockdown has barged into our daily routine and has changed, not only our course of life but also our way of thinking. The uncertainty in unprecedented and has definitely caused demotivation in a lot of people. A lot of people now see their dreams as unrealistic. While a lot of people have changed their career goals and started following a different roadmap altogether. On the other hand, some people have started to live for the present and are much less affected by other situations. So all of us have rediscovered ourselves during this lockdown. The collapse of the economy, unemployment searing, food shortage, loss of acquaintances have left numerous people frustrated and hopeless. This has led to a surge in tendencies of self-harm and channelling the frustration in immoral ways. The least we can do in this condition is to follow a general approach of social unity in times of physical distancing. So that we know people are there for people. That’s one way everyone can feel motivated and believe that everything will be all right.
Now coming to the point on how you can feel motivated. The first step towards feeling motivated is cognition. The step where you identify the goal you want to feel motivated towards. Once you identify the goals, you can ask yourself why you want to accomplish the goal. Human psychology generally has an eye for the prize. You are more likely to work harder and stay focussed when you are clear about the rewards your accomplishment will yield. Another nice strategy is to reward yourself when you complete a few steps towards attaining your target. Firstly, I do want to mention, that while staying motivated and focussed to complete your goals is important for you to reach your success quickly, it should by no means play with your mental health. If you are feeling really heavy, and sticking to it is hurting you mentally, then you should consider letting it go. If that’s not the case, and you want to work towards completing it, but you just find yourself procrastinating, then the words in this article applies for you. Since you are at home more than you have ever been, you have time to nurture your skills. So you can make a list of goals you want to work on and identify the benefits of you moving towards the goal. Then divide each goal into a few steps and reward yourself at the end of each. If dividing it into steps is tough, then divide it by time, like I am going to reward myself after 12 hours of spending time on this particular thing.
The foremost enemy of motivation is complacency. We all have the tendency of getting complacent after climbing only a few rocks of the mountain. When you feel the satisfaction of your progress, enjoy it, but measure how many miles you have to travel before you can reach the exact level you dreamed of reaching. And measure it with a positive outlook. However far it looks, do not feel demotivated, because you can also look back at where you are before and that you have improved. Your vision should generally involve baby steps towards achieving the goal so that the task does not feel humongous. So the moral of the story is, be satisfied and happy with your improvement, but never get complacent. Having motivation during the lockdown would not only sharpen your skills and personality but also help you face the challenge that lies ahead because you would be a more confident version of yourself.