We all hear how we can be motivated by other people. Whenever I coach one of my clients or speak in front of a group, most of them have said that I’m a good motivational speaker. The truth is, I cannot motivate anybody else except for me. I may help to inspire people, but I do not motivate them. People will motivate themselves for their own reasons.
The old “carrot in front of the horse” trick is a motivational tool that gets the horse to want to move towards it. It wasn’t something external that motivated the horse, but its internal drive to wanting to eat so it doesn’t starve. What people perceive as external motivators cannot get somebody to really want to do something unless they want to.
So what are the reasons that people motivate themselves? It starts with a person’s values and beliefs. Whatever we want out of life and want to get it, what we value and what we believe in has a major influence on our behavior. That’s one of the reasons that a person who wants a lot of money, but their values are based on the assumption that “money is the root of all evil” will not truly be motivated to earn a lot of money. Externally they may think they can, but internally is what counts.
In fact, our top five values are what drive us to do the things we do. Those values can come from many areas of our life. That includes our parents, our culture, our community, our religion, our friends, our experiences, and so forth. Probably the main area where our values come from is from our parents. We looked up to them when we were children and what they believed in and valued usually became ours.
The good news is that many of our values do change and we have some control over when that happens. Our beliefs also change. What we may have believed years ago may not necessarily be what we believe in today. That’s one of the reason we will see politicians change political parties.
Who we associate with will have an effect on our beliefs. It has been said that we are the sum average of the top five people we associate with the most. Think about your friends you have today, are they the same as the ones you had in high school? If you went away to college and many of your high school friends stayed home and worked at McDonalds or started a career as a mechanic, did you see them in a different light when you visited with them afterward? How about if you went away in the military, did your perception change? We developed different associations when we went away. What we believed in changed. And even some of our values may have changed.
Everything counts. Everything we do, who we hang around, what we put into life, the actions we took or didn’t take – all counts. Think about what got you to where you are now. What are some of things in your life that motivated you to do the things you did? What motivates you now?
If I were to ask you if you only had 6 months to live and $1 million dollars in the bank, what would you do with the time you had left?