The Lie You Believe about Motivation
Most people struggle with motivation in one way or another and when it comes to embodiment, motivation is one of the perennial obstacles.
Most approaches to dealing with the obstacle of motivation, whether it's related to embodiment or something else, lack the architecture to take you from where you are to where you need and want to be. Most approaches are obligatory in nature, coercive by design and pretend that hype or excitement is sufficient. Take a look around and you will see "experts" rousing excitement and energy, manipulating people with the best of intentions (sometimes) and reinforcing obligations.
The problem is 99% of all of these fail and the reason why that 1% does work has little to do with the "expert's" conventions and everything to do with a simple yet profound shift in you. You and I both know this.
What you might not be aware of is this:
Most people are colluding with the fantasy that you do not have enough motivation, and by getting more (somehow), you can actually get to where you want and need to be.
This is largely wrong.
Your motivation, right now, is sufficient to change the world. The power you possess is immense. Quite honestly I don't think any of us truly understand, appreciate nor access the strength, elegance and capacity that resides within the human vehicle… right now.
You likely do not lack motivation. There is often something more complex and underlying at work in the human being, which is why so often mainstream approaches to 'change' fall short of being able to bring us to our larger potential as people. So if the amount of motivation is not the real problem, what is?
Meaning-making is the essential nutrient for the mind. It's like what oxygen is for the body. Furthermore, meaning-making manifests into each of your cells, the expression of your DNA and literally permeates every facet of your being.
You are doing meaning-making all the time and issues around so-called motivation are just about always rooted in the meaning-making system.
One of the fundamental patterns within human meaning-making is the movement toward significance. When I use this word, I am talking about what matters most, what captures your attention and engagement and what ultimately brings structure to how and what you perceive. Significance is ultimately what draws humanity towards greater and greater degrees of 'progress.' Whatever your meaning-making system holds as significant, take note, you will not have a problem with motivation. It's hardwired in you. You will methodically - sometimes obsessively - pursue that which is significant to you, whether conscious or unconscious.
To be clear I am not talking about what you "think" should be significant in your life. That's one step removed from what you at a fundamental level presume to be significant. Instead, I'm asking you to consider deeper levels of how you engage your world, your relationships, your inspirations and intentions.
Consider this: the vast majority of the elements we hold as significant at a fundamental level are not your's. They belong to the fabric of your culture(s) and have more or less chosen you. It's not the other way around.
For those of you who are more developmentally privileged you know that you can "out grow" your unconscious loyalties to your cultural presumptions as to what holds significance and what does not. By doing so, you can actually start to choose, author and create your central significances that will drive your motivation in life.
But this requires a series of major transformations in developmental complexity to get to this "self-authoring" stage. So when struggling with motivation, one of the short hand assumptions to explore that I use with my clients is that in this particular area of their life, they are perhaps functioning out of socially defined loyalties, or earlier more self-centered modes of complexity that are largely unconscious.
Motivation that is tied up in earlier stages of developmental complexity help fuel the feeling of not having enough motivation. You want to do this, but in a series of unconscious moves you are expending your resources towards maintaining habituations in many other areas of your life. How do we uncover whether this is true for us? We must begin to pay attention to our habits, our inner dialogue, our thoughts and particularly what drives 'motivation.'
Which leads me to embodiment and motivation. We in the West, as far as I can tell, are by and large developmentally stunted around embodiment. This is largely a cultural construct that most of us participate in. It isn't that we aren't capable of being more fully embodied human beings, it means we live within systems that fail to support our emergent embodiment as our larger potential. Embodiment is mis-perceived to mean the "body" as we tend to think about it in the Western medical model. The body is then presumed to be "fundamentally" important - not "significantly" important. When this perspective is inhabited, motivation naturally moves towards other objects, investments, and loyalties in your life and embodiment holds a less significant place.
It is here in the inner architecture of meaning-making that we find the root of "motivation" issues around embodiment. Even in the face of death, human beings all too often fail to un-couple their attention, energy and genuine commitment from their habituated ways of living. That's how strong meaning-making is, it can change the world and it can put you 6 feet under.
So what now?
1. Free your unconscious loyalties and habituations from your historical conditioning. This frees up your motivation to be conducted into your larger significance in life.
2. Closely inspect your meaning-making. This is hard to do on your own. Find someone with greater clarity, elegance, more experience and more flexibility than you possess. Get their help. This is very hard to do on your own because it is precisely your own meaning-making that is often holding you back.
3. Discover what has already chosen you, that is also liberated from cultural conventions, and participate with embodying this greatest significance… Right Now!
For those of you wanting an overhaul on your meaning-making system around embodiment, I want to recommend my book Strength to Awaken. It is "psycho-active" meaning that simply reading it rewires and evolves your own complexity around embodiment. Check it out, you are likely to find yourself inhabiting a different landscape when you think of strength training, embodiment and/or any other movement discipline.
Finally, help me kill the presumption that human beings are lacking motivation. Let's stop colluding with the premise that we lack motivation and start participating with the immense power that is the future of our co-creative evolution.
I'm co-evolving embodiment, right now.
What are you participating in that unfolds your greater elegance as a human being?