Have you lost your motivation mojo?

by Paul Goodchild on November 29, 2010

Which way is the way I wanna go?

It was barely 3 months ago I was practically running around Southeast Asia with a fire under my ass!  I was driven, focused, and making a difference (debatable?).  I was out there; studying the Thai language to the point I could read it enough to give a 2yr old a run for his money.  I was motivated with direction and goals; teaching deprived children, making friends from Burma and Thailand, learning of the history and plight of the Burmese and ethnic minority groups, visiting refugee camps and installing computers in a couple of schools.

But something changed.

Knock! Knock!

Who’s there?

Opportunity is always knocking!

And I haven’t answered.  Yet…

2 months or so ago I returned home, cutting my travels in 2010 short, and in the mean time it seems that I’ve regressed to something resembling a man-beast-couch-potato-mutant. Several pages of to-do lists and ideas have amounted to a huge pile of nothing. I even signed up for the cheapest monthly gym membership in the world, and I’m actually losing money comparatively if I’d just paid-as-I-go.

I haven’t hit the road again since I can’t afford to and then have to come back for a family Christmas. I chose to tie up a few loose ends in my finances, taxes, etc. so that I would be structured legally to do business and consultancy jobs if the opportunity arose in the future.

But all forward motions seems to have stopped.  Motivation evaporated off somewhere and niggling fears have started to take hold.

So where did it all go wrong?

It wasn’t down to one reason in particular that my motivation waned, but a few different factors.  Chiefly among them, or rather the lack of them: direction and decision.

Direction – too many or too few

It’s not so much lack of direction, as having too friggin’ many!  Some readers will know by now of my volunteering aspirations and goal of social-responsible enterprise.  But there is also the desire to travel, explore the world and its people through voluntary community work.

I’m torn – between continuing the travel by booking a flight out of here to somewhere crazy (with no snow!) and exploring my long-standing business aspirations.

Both goals have the effect of satisfying my need to contribute to socially beneficial causes, and also that I’m not stuck in an office doing someone else’s bidding – I’m in charge!  But I can’t do them both at the same time and this has created an impasse.

It’s a little like having your motivation hung, drawn and quartered, though a little less detrimental to your attachment of bodily limbs.

Decision is the father of destiny

Check out this little clip, from one of the best episodes of Star Trek, ‘Tapestry’, to see where I’m headed with this…

The need to make conscious decisions isn’t new to me – it forms the basis of a firm belief in self-determination and the ultimate tapestry of our lives.  But sometimes we just can’t decide.

I have reached the proverbial fork in the road and my inability to choose which path to take has allowed the past 2 months to rot, eroding at the foundation of confidence, motivation, and increasing excitement with which I’ve been living most of my adult life.

An analogy that isn’t new, your decision making skill is just like a muscle that becomes weaker through disuse, and stronger when you exercise it.  Even making wrong decisions isn’t all bad, so long as we’re flexible enough to adapt to the results.

What’s the really serious problem that comes with not making a difficult decision?  It spreads, infecting your day-to-day life and eventually you reach a point where nothing gets done!

And that’s precisely where I’ve gone wrong.

Fear.  Again.

For the last couple of months or so I’ve played it “safe”; not making the tough decisions that would see me down one path or the other.

  • What if it doesn’t work out?
  • What if I can’t get funding?
  • What if no-one buys it?
  • What if I run out of money?

What if … ?

And again, we’re right back to the cause of nearly all problems in our lives… fear.  By becoming careless with my thoughts and not taking time to recognise the signs, fear crept back into my mind, like a long-ago parted lover.

And just like thoughts of the lover, often difficult to banish.

Through decisive action we become the sculptor of our lives; we are no longer back-seat drivers on our journey. We learn how to be creative, and ultimately responsible for results.  And while there is some luck out there to be had, only the truly resourceful individuals will find it in significant amounts.

It’s a little simplistic, but there’s no other way to address motivation slumps… the only cure for indecision is to starting making decisions!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

noch January 27, 2011 at 12:06

totally agree. i made a decision for buenos aires and it’s felt good since then!


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