When in a motivational slump we often look outside of ourselves for inspiration, putting our 'heroes' up on pedestals and dreaming about having the qualities they possess. But in fact we need to look closer to home for true inspiration, inside of ourselves, and recognise our own accomplishments in overcoming life's struggles...
In my blogs I put forward ideas from Adventure Psychology to help people figure a way to thrive in uncertain times, and make sense of the crazy world. By adopting an Adventure Mindset (I'll gradually reveal how) you can approach the challenges of life with an adaptable resolve, and embrace the chaos knowing full well that it's a wild ride so you might as well enjoy it!
“Intrinsic motivation is reliable, robust, always there as a resource to dig into, especially when the going gets tough. When the pressures of the outside world become too much to bear, you have to draw upon your internal structure to push back, like Atlas with the weight of the world on his shoulders, but strong and able, and shrugging it off! "
Up on the pedestal
Sometimes it’s hard to get out of bed in the morning, to be enthusiastic, motivated. Or to strive towards a goal that elevates you above the humdrum and mundane. Life stuck in a rut, feeling like you haven’t really achieved what you set out to do and now it’s too late, why bother....
What we often need is a source of inspiration. It may be a short video clip on Facebook (People are Awesome!!), or a soundbite witnessed in passing from someone that really resonated. Picking up that autobiography that’s been gathering dust on the shelf for some time and suddenly becoming gripped by the message your ‘hero’ is promoting. “Maybe, just maybe I could also achieve what I meant to after all” you wonder...then go back to sleep.
What we often overlook in our lives, is that we have the greatest source of inspiration right here on our own doorstep. Family, friends, sure, they all can give you impetus to push on, to strive for betterment all round. But actually, YOU are your most reliable, accessible, and empowered source of inspiration!
What is it that resonates with us when we hear someone speak and it motivates us? When we read that autobiography and become caught up in the trials and tribulations of the heroic figure we hold up on that pedestal?
It’s most likely that we are drawn to inspirational figures because we sense a connection, something in side of us that has affinity with that other person. We relate to them. Because they have characteristics and traits that in fact we already possess, but for some reason have ignored, failed to notice, or brushed under our own carpets, only recognising such traits when they are manifest in another’s personality and accomplishments.
The most powerful of motivators is that which is intrinsic. Yet we rely so often on extrinsic sources of motivation. Whether that is seeking the approval of others, or being rewarded for achieving small goals, even likes on social media can become major drivers. But extrinsic motivation is a fickle church to subscribe to.
Intrinsic motivation is reliable, robust, always there as a resource to dig into, especially when the going gets tough. When the pressures of the outside world become too much to bear, you have to draw upon your internal structure to push back, like Atlas with the weight of the world on his shoulders, but strong and able, and shrugging it off!
Some words of wisdom imparted to me from a couple of different sources in my life said the exact same thing. “Don’t ever put your idols on a pedestal.” One from a yoga teacher of my parents. The other from a somewhat once world-renowned figure who had seen and done it all, travelled to far off lands to seek the wisdom of the ‘masters’ and had come back both disillusioned and empowered, realising that the masters were, if not fake, were simply flawed human beings, held up as icons but bereft of real substance (who could in truth live up to such expectations anyway?).
The lesson is that we can inspire ourselves. We hold the key to our own motivations and drives. We just have to look inwards and see what we have accomplished, recognising the struggles we have overcome day to day since inception. And that means looking honestly at ourselves stripped bare. Only we can really see that for ourselves. In those dark and lonely moments in the middle of the night when sleep eludes us, or when we feel anxious and out of our depth as life’s stresses and challenges intrude, these are the times when the lesson is delivered.
I got through it. That is the lesson.
The more honest one can be with one self, and the more one can take stock of the moments where a victory, however small, has been achieved, one can realise that source of inspiration is readily available.
If anything, when next seeking an external source to place unwittingly upon that pedestal, inclined to worship the feats of others, one should seek to place a mirror there instead.
Take a good look at yourself. You have elevated yourself up there. You are capable of motivating yourself, for you espouse those traits that you look for in others. You are the one who has come through your life struggles.