Coercion is a Deadly Enemy of Motivation
Don’t kill your motivation with too many “shoulds” or “oughts.” It’s a subtle distinction, but drive for the results you want rather than be driven by shoulds and oughts I think the key point here is it’s about choice. Focus on your freedom to make choices and take actions. What you should or ought to do are inputs, but ultimately you choose to do what you do. Rather than tell yourself “I’m doing this because I should,” say “I’m doing this because I choose to” and focus on the benefits you’re moving towards, or the pain you’re moving away from.
In Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy Revised and Updated, David Burns writes that using coercion takes away motivation.
Key Take Aways
Here are my key take aways:
- Don’t should or ought yourself to death. This drains your energy and takes away your choices.
- Make it a choice. Drive for results by choosing your actions. Sure they may still be the things you should or ought to do, but the key is that you’re exercising your freedom to choose.
A Sense of Coercion Kills Motivation
“A deadly enemy of motivation is a sense of coercion. You feel under intense pressure to perform – generated from within and without. This happens when you try to motivate yourself with moralistic “shoulds” and “oughts.” You tell yourself , “I should do this” and “I have to do that.” Then you feel obliged, burdened, tense, resentful and guilty. You feel like a delinquent child under the discipline of a tyrannical probation officer. Every task becomes colored with such unpleasantness that you can’t stand to face it. Then, as you procrastinate, you condemn yourself as a lazy, no-good bum. This further drains your energies.”
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