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Motivation: listen or nudge

If you think motivation is mostly rational, pay attention to what motivates you. You might not feel motivated because your current opportunities aren't that good.

If you think motivation is biased and nudging is necessary, create rules, systems, and habits to move you ahead. If you can't motivate yourself for months or years, your project may be at fault.

@khalid_faez

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Theories of motivation
  • Rational motivation, which reflects our preferences. We're motivated by the opportunities we can notice.
  • Biased motivation. We often ignore obvious ways to better our lives because we're short-sighted and lazy. We may be better off boosting our motivation.

We often lie to ourselves about our true motives to save face with other people. We have a hidden logic that fuels our motivations. If we don't feel motivated, we may have reasons we don't consciously understand. If we are hesitant, it may be owing to our options and not our character.

Some theories of motivation claim we're naturally biased. It may happen because we can't consider all the angles. At other times, as the world advance, the usual criteria no longer apply.

There may be only a few exceptional people like Elon Musk because we can't grasp the idea that one person can create wealth or drive progress. We don't notice opportunities and more easily dismiss them.

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RELATED IDEAS

Daydreams and Reality

We have two characteristic modes of viewing things—an abstract (or far-mode) and a concrete (or near-mode) view.

Because of the two modes, many big goals have a far-near incompatibility that can make it difficult to take action on. The person who dreams up the goal is different from the one who executes it.

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Neuroscience offers clues on how motivation works within the brain.

  • Taking action. The motor loop in the brain enables one-action-at-a-time control. (We can't sit down and stand up at the same time.)
  • The dopamine network explains which action we will pick. It signals to the brain which action will bring a reward. It uses that anticipation to guide our thoughts and behaviour.
  • Addiction is a motivational disorder. Some drugs act directly upon the motivational circuitry of the brain, and cause the motivation to do something to far exceeds its value.
  • Fear and anxiety compel us to do the opposite of motivation. The amygdala is a "threat detection centre" and forces us to suppress and avoid actions when we are anxious.

You can't have complete control over every outcome. You may not always have the best set of cards, but it shouldn't stop you from playing those cards the best way you can.

Learn to work with what you've got. Just like a poker game, you can maximize your chances. It starts with basic elements, like getting enough sleep and eating well.