Motivation is a push. Inspiration is a pull.
Motivation seems like a pretty self explanatory concept. It comes in your bog standard, to be motivated or not to be motivated, right? Wrong. In actual fact, motivation can be further categorised into two sub-categories. Under scientific research, I’m sure you will have heard these two categories referred to as ‘intrinsic’ and ‘extrinsic’ motivation. We like to call them push and pull motivation, given their characteristics.
Push (extrinsic) motivation is revolved around the avoidance of pain. In other words, you are motivated by this movement away from something that causes you pain. Due to this, push motivation can be very useful in getting started and taking action straight away. Sounds great, but what happens when the pain is removed? You have lost the circumstances pushing you to make a change.
Extrinsic motivation can be effective in the short-term. But not in the long-term.
It suddenly becomes much harder to push yourself away from pain that may come around in the future. Just look at your health. You can reduce your risk of gaining weight by reducing your calorie consumption, but do people do it? Most of the time, no, because they don’t have the immediate pain to push them to do this. It’s at this point, where this idea of pull motivation becomes more effective.
“Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn briefly.” – Steven R. Covey
Overall, we want to reaping the rewards of pull motivation. The key to creating this type of motivation revolves around having a vision. You need an end goal, a dream if you will. If you have your ultimate vision in mind, congratulations, you now have the means to pursue pull motivation! But for some of us, this end goal is hard to identify. Unfortunately, we cannot tell you what you want to gain out of life, only you have that power. However, we are not going to leave you high and dry. For those of us that are unable to see this long term vision, we can still create this attraction through short term goals. Perhaps you want to be an expert in playing the guitar, run a marathon or read a book every other week. These short term goals really need to excite you in working towards them. In this way, we are pulled towards living these visions, rather than being pushed away from things that we want to avoid.
The funny thing is that this information has been around for quite some time! Self Determination Theory was first established in the year 2000, describing these very concepts and showing that this idea of pull motivation is much more effective when it comes to achieving goals. Pull motivation allows you to see what you are going to gain by remaining motivated, whereas push motivation tells you what you are going to avoid. And yet, society today seems to automatically adopt push motivation when trying to accomplish their dreams. Just something for you to ponder on…
“You must find something that you want to live for thats bigger than yourself – a mission – whether its your children, a business, a non profit, whatever. That pulls you to achieve, which is far more sustainable than to push yourself to. You can only push yourself for so long.” – Tony Robbins
Take-home message: Both push and pull motivation have their advantages, but it should be said that the use of pull is your best bet for creating lost lasting change. Push motivation is great for building momentum, but at the end of the day, it requires willpower which tends to fluctuate with our emotional state, which explains your most recent Netflix binge. 😉 Try and set yourself some mini goals, and as you get better at doing this, integrate these targets to create larger visions. It will change your drive and commitment, ultimately transforming your life for good!
Let us know down below the some of the visions you have for the future and how they have helped you in staying motivated! 🙂