Anyone who knows me well will tell you that I have the occasional habit of using “BIG” words in conversation but completely out of context! This has left me blushed and embarrassed more than a few times. The problem was that I would hear others using these words, like the way they sounded (smart or creative) and thought I understood it’s meaning, but obviously I didn’t! Luckily for me, it always ends in a good laugh. Needless to say, I have developed a close relationship with the humble dictionary and I now check definitions before adding new words to my vocabulary.
So as I was reflecting on the concept of motivation, I thought I would drop it into the dictionary and see what it had say on the subject. The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way, or a desire or willingness to do something; enthusiasm. What caught my eye, however, was the BusinessDictionary (2017) website, which discussed internal and external factors that influence motivations as well as the conscious and unconscious (subconscious) awareness of a person. It was this conscious and subconscious idea that got my brain cogs turning. Motivation, typically, is painted in bright colours of positive, inspiring, good, and a necessary ingredient for success. But is there such a thing as negative motivation? This is the question that sparked the thought of Mindful Motivation.
Here’s some food for thought: Is everything you do for good reasons? The honest answer is a big, fat NO! Many emotions, such as anger, hate, jealousy, and lust, can motivate us to do some terrible things. But can seemingly good outcomes be the result of negative reasons? Lets consider a simple scenario for context: a girl eats a salad. On the surface, this is positive action; she is making a nutritious choice for her body. But lets take a look deeper at two possible thoughts that motivated her to choose a salad over the burger and fries.
1: I value my body and I want it to serve God and me well for the length of my life. To top that, God has created a huge variety of foods for me to enjoy, which taste delicious!
2: I’m fat and ugly, I don’t deserve to eat anything other than this boring salad. I wouldn’t dare let anyone see me eat anything else!
Now this isn’t a health blog, and I’m definitely not out to be a burger killjoy, its just the first example that popped into my mind. Lets refocus. You can see the outcomes are the identical, but the motivating reasons are polar opposite! Research shows that actions and goals tackled with a positive approach are more successful and long lasting, and overall better for our well-being and happiness. And seriously, having a positive drive is a million times more fun and tempting for our creative juices to help us stick to it. Basically, what I’m trying to encourage here to for us to be more mindful and self-aware when we make choices and goals. Take a minute for reflection, feel the emotions of the moment and determine where the motivation is coming from. If it’s negative, chances are you will be miserable and struggle to reach your goal. But when it’s coming from a positive and uplifting place, that will shine out, produce real results and also inspire others. So go on, put the theory to the test and see where mindful motivation takes you!