Improving your life with motivation - Deepstash

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The Complete Guide to Motivation | Scott H Young

Improving your life with motivation

While motivation is a huge topic, and the science on it is not in agreement, there are many takeaways we can use to understand how motivation operates and use it to improve our lives.

  • Rewards and punishments are at the centre of motivation. For example, we may not be able to consciously link our love of sports to early childhood experiences.
  • Consciously setting our intentions greatly impacts our performance. When we reframe a situation, we can be more motivated to do it.
  • There are many positive feedback loops. Set hard goals and commit to them, and our performance increases. If you feel you can't do anything, your motivation diminishes.
  • Motivational struggles are caused by competing forces. We might find it harder to read books in our spare time when we have easy access to Netflix.
  • Many sources of motivation may be hidden from view. Our motivation is often hidden from us. Sometimes it is simply because the hardware that runs our motivation is not expressible. In other cases, motivations may be subtle and complex.

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Self-control
Self-control

It’s your ability to resolve conflicts between your short-term desires and your long-term goals.

For example, successful self-control means sacrificing immediate pleasure (cookies a...

Why self-control matters

People who have high self-control aren’t missing out on enjoyment. Not being able to resist temptation and enjoying life are not the same things.

They tend to eat in a healthily way, exercise more, sleep better, drink less alcohol, smoke fewer cigarettes, achieve higher grades at university, have more peaceful relationships, and are more financially secure.

Biological limits to self-control

Research showed that self-control is ultimately limited by our biology. We can’t exercise effortful self-control indefinitely – the brain has to do regular maintenance to remain functional.

Taking action = eventual success
Taking action = eventual success

Inaction is the biggest cause of our failures and our miseries. If we could consistently do the things we know we should do, we would be more successful, and our lives would be better. Yet w...

Explaining inaction

Some possible but weak reasons why action is hard:

  • Talent. But the world is full of brilliant stars that flame out and mediocre minds that build empires.
  • Preferences can explain our failure to try, but don't explain our inner struggles with inaction.
  • Capacity for effort. If your capacity for doing things is lower, it does not explain chronic bursts of activity with inevitable crashes in your goals and projects.
  • Motivation. Some people with the most reason have the hardest time taking action. 
Confidence
Motivation and expectation of success create a feedback loop:
  • Your motivation to complete a task depends on the value of the reward and your expectation of success. 
  • Your expectation of success depends on your motivation.

If your projects tend to fail, your expectations are low, and motivation fades. If your projects tend to succeed, your expectations go up, and motivation stays strong.