Feedback and Rewards

Why Do We Find it so Difficult to Motivate Ourselves?

Barry Share asked:

dent and safe to assume that we will spend a significant part of our lives dealing with tasks that do not particularly appeal to us. It is also safe to assume that more often than not, we will find ourselves despondent and with less motivation in the face of such situations and tasks.

It would be foolhardy to deny that given a completely free hand and infinite options, we would only do the things we love. It would, be even more naive to hope that we, through our professional lives, only encounter situations and tasks that provide us with such opportunities.

So why do we find it so difficult to motivate ourselves to apply our skills and abilities with the same enthusiasm and intent to those tasks that we hate doing?

The first step is analyzing and understanding why we find a particular task dislikable.

What is it about another task that excites us? The answer lies in our perceptions and preconceived notions.

We love our old, worn out t-shirts and shorts. We love things we are comfortable with. It is but natural for us, as humans, to dislike being taken out of our comfort zone. What you need to remember is that more often than not, stepping out of your comfort zone has positive consequences.

Think about the last time you were forced into trying out a new cuisine or a new restaurant only to realize that you actually liked it.

How do you push yourself out of your comfort zone? How do you shed your apprehension and dislike for a particular task?

Change your mindset.

Change the way you look at the task. Try not to look at the task in terms of its inherent qualities that make it appear unappealing. There are multiple aspects of any particular task that define it.

We analyze tasks by selectively choosing from among these aspects, prioritizing them, and evaluating them in the context of our mindset and our current state of mind.

For example a task might not be in your area of expertise. Another task involves dealing with people you don’t particularly like or get along with. The returns, in terms of remuneration or reward, associated with a task might not appear to be proportionate with the effort that will be required to be put in.

A task might involve staying away from your family for a period of time. These are just some examples of aspects that we selectively choose from and prioritize in evaluating the task at hand.

What we need to do is consciously force ourselves to focus on the positive aspects of the task. Although each task will have its own particular characteristics and nuances, there are a few broad aspects that you can start with.

First, with every task, no matter what the particular objective, come a challenge and a result. Overcoming the challenge to secure the desired result is an achievement.

Greater the challenge, greater will be the sense of achievement. Focus on the sense of achievement you will feel on the successful completion of the task.

Every task also comes with its rewards.

If the rewards do not appear significant at first, don’t fret. Look beyond the tangible rewards. The recognition among peers and colleagues, the gratitude of your team or organization, the goodwill built with your customer.

These intangible rewards last much longer than immediate pay-offs and will fetch you far greater returns in the long run. What matters is the way you look at the situation. If you can convince yourself of the benefits of a task, you can easily pursue it.

Finally remember that with every task comes the opportunity to learn.

To learn new things that broadens your knowledge and expertise, expertise that will provide opportunities in the future that might not have been but for the experience of performing this task.

The experience will also provide valuable lessons that will help you understand yourself your motivations and what drives you. The experience will bring you closer to truly understanding your real goals in life.

It is fulfilling and important to do what we love. But the more you go through life and all the challenges it throws at you, you will realize that it is equally important to love what you do.

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