Motivating Factors

I’ve heard it said before that if you have the motivation to pick up a self-help book, then there’s nothing left for that book to teach you. That you just need to apply that motivation to the thing it is that you wish you were actually doing. It’s a saying that kind of makes sense in the same way that everything in a self-help book makes sense. Yes, it’s good to set goals. Yes, it’s good to achieve your goals. The problem is that it’s very easy to know what you need to do, and very hard to actually do it.

I’m not sure I believe people can actually be talked into doing anything, like yeah, maybe you can goad someone into doing something in the short term. Kind of piss them off to the point that they get some pent up anger going, and then they can put that energy into completing a task. But the problem is how do you turn momentary bursts of energy like that into a consistent work ethic? How do you take a guy who does nothing all day and survives just fine, and then turn him into someone who does something all day without actually at some point threatening his survival?

My problem is that doing nothing doesn’t actually have any short term consequences. There are long term consequences, further down the road, but I don’t live further down the road, I live right here in this current moment. And in this current moment, it is actually doing things which brings risk. I do nothing, I have no problems. I do something, I might have some problems. I guess one way to deal with that would be to try to desire problems. To learn to enjoy struggle for the sake of struggle, but that brings me back to the self-help problem, it’s easy for me to know what I should do, and hard for me to actually do it.

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