by Justin Deschamps,
Motivation is an essential part of life. But not all forms of motivation are sustainable or conducive to a healthy mind and body. In our modern-day world, we have been trained to use reward and punishment techniques (behaviorism), but these ultimately come at the cost of long-lasting motivation.
The most successful and happy people in life didn’t seek pleasure, they sought purpose.
This is an important distinction to make because seeking happiness alone often distracts or demotivates us with respect to goals that more challenging, but also more rewarding.
In our fast-paced technological culture, we tend to set aside goals and pursuits that pull us away from our pleasure-seeking entertainments. We’d rather watch a movie than learn a new skill. We’d rather read something fictional than learn about something that expands our skillsets. But if we can work through the initial phase of detoxification from distracting entertainments, so to speak, we can develop a motivational system that becomes progressively more powerful and rewarding.
Additionally, our biology is designed to enhance our motivation through focusing on purposes and goals, known as the reward system. This mechanism provides biological rewards (positive feelings and emotions) once we’ve put in some initial work toward a purposeful goal. Consider that when you work out or do physical exercise, the first few minutes are somewhat difficult, but afterward, the body releases chemicals that make you feel good.
Dopamine is an instrumental part of rewiring the brain so that new habits become ingrained, known as habituation. This process often takes about 90 days to fully set in. By recognizing how the body works to help us form new habits and processes, we can properly tune our regiments of personal change. If you can focus on developing this process and sticking with it, you can literally rewire your brain for a purpose instead of a pleasure. From there, almost anything is possible insofar as achieving your goals, even ones that take a long time to realize, like writing a book, learning an instrument, or getting healthy.
Since an effort-failure pattern sets up the brain’s survival response to withhold effort, you’ll need to strengthen your brain’s recognition that effort toward your goals can result in success. Your weapon of mass reconstruction can come from your brain’s very powerful drive for its own intrinsic neurochemical reward—dopamine and the deeply satisfying and motivating pleasure it brings. When the brain releases dopamine in rewarding bursts, you experience a deep intrinsic satisfaction along with increased motivation, curiosity, perseverance, and memory. Dopamine is particularly released when your brain recognizes that you’ve achieved a challenge (from the “I get it” of figuring out a joke to the satisfaction of completing a marathon). (Source)
The great thing about this technique is that we get rewards that help us along if we can develop a clear goal of what we want to do and work toward it diligently. The more we develop this skill, the easier it gets. Eventually setting a goal for yourself, even a challenging one, causes excitement instead of trepidation.
So no matter where you are with your motivational process, consistent effort and patience, combined with visualization of goals, is a recipe for success.
Ultimately, how we spend our time determines who we become.
If we spend all our time seeking pleasure alone, then we become addicts to our entertainments. But with the seeking of purpose, especially in a holistic way, more of our time can be inspired and fruitful. With each step we take in this direction, the power we can exert over our lives increases, leading to blissful states of consciousness.
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About The Author
Justin Deschamps has been a truth seeker all his life, studying physics, psychology, law, philosophy, and spirituality, and working to weave these seemingly separate bodies of information into a holistic tapestry of ever expanding knowledge. Justin is a student of all and a teacher to some, sharing what he has discovered with those who are ready and willing to take responsibility for making the world a better place. The goal of his work is to help himself and others become better truth-seekers, and in doing so, form a community of holistically minded individuals capable of creating world healing projects for the benefit of all life—what has been called The Great Work. Check out his project Stillness in the Storm to find some of his work. Follow on Twitter @sitsshow, Facebook Stillness in the Storm, and minds.com.
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