I've been thinking a lot lately about the difference between Desire and Motivation. Being a Marketing Major, I believe my degree could be summed up in one simple phrase:
Marketing: Defining and capitalizing on what motivates people to do what they do.
Of course that's a gross over-simplification and possibly selling myself short. I do think about the topic often however.
1. the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.
2. the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.
1. a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen.
While I've not rounded out the idea fully yet in my own head, I have determined that desire will often be the cause of motivation. Before you can be motivated to do anything, you must first have a desire for the end result of having done it. Otherwise, why do it?
This is a tricky one for me so I'll try to explain why this is on my mind so much:
"Find Balance You Must"
(to paraphrase Master Yoda)
I have a friend for whom I have diminishing respect. Why is my opinion in decline? Because her desire outweighs her motivation. She's a nice enough gal. She cares for her family/friends, tries to be a good person, works hard at what is in front of her, etc. but she is constantly talking about the next big thing and complains (to me) when it doesn't happen. Of course we all do this from time to time. But it's beginning to rule her life and her personality. All she does is complain that she isn't where she would like to be in life, finds fault in everything around her, and consistently brings me down when I am around her. Sure, she'll call me when she's excited about the next big thing that's on her mind and I love seeing the passion and excitement at that stage. But give it a day or two and it will simply be another regret because she failed to act . What's worse, the fun/new/exciting thing will end up fueling her downward spiral with regret.
Desire Without Motivation is Toxic
Obviously motivation isn't inherently "good" per se. We can be motivated to do bad things. Duh. But I feel desire without motivation is inherently bad and is leaking in to our lives at an alarming rate.
My 4 year old is learning this lesson now. He has the desire to play with toys but lacks the desire (and the motivation that follows) to pick them up when finished. I fear I am teaching him the wrong lesson here. What finally motivates him to pick up his toys is his desire for me to stop telling him to pick up his toys or threatening lost privileges. My question as a parent: Am I teaching him the right lesson? Am I teaching him to be motivated to do the right thing or am I teaching him how to simply get me to shut up? Or is him learning how to get me to can-it a valuable step toward learning the true desired end result?
Fast forward 26 years: I read an article about a 30 year old man that refuses to leave his parents' home. He refuses to help with living expenses, rent, utilities, food, etc. His parents have served him with eviction notices and have even offered him copious amounts of money to use as a deposit/down-payment for a new place. He refuses to leave and so the parents have retained an attorney and are taking him to court (Forehead-Smack). Bringing this back to my original topic, this dude has a desire to live in a nice, comfortable place but lacks the motivation to obtain that goal for himself. How sad is this? What is going to happen when he is finally required by law or by force to leave? Where will he go? More importantly-what is he going to be able to accomplish when all he has is desire but no motivation in his tool-kit to get it done? This is toxic. For himself, his parents, the judicial system that is being tied up having to tell Mr. Man-Baby to grow up and get out, and for all of us as tax-paying citizens.
I could beat the proverbial dead-horse for hours. But I won't. (You're welcome.) The bottom line is that one of the most frustrating things for me in life is when I have a desire to get something done but I am lacking the motivation. Normally this happens when I am sick. I want to work, to get the lawn mowed, to clean the bathroom, or to make dinner....
It's so frustrating! That's a good thing! It should be frustrating. If it ceases to be frustrating, you may have a problem.
I will continue to round-out this idea and may make changes/additions to this post.