The Motivation Loop

I’m writing this because it is something I’m learning, not something I’ve mastered in any way. This is as much a message to myself as it is to anyone else. When I start a new project it is new and exciting, I have many ideas, and I become intensely focused and motivated. That last for a while until the next project comes along and the first one is harder to work on because I just don’t feel like it any more. That can be awfully frustrating with with many unfinished project piling up. I have several of those right now:

  • Lexan oven for making lexan race car windows
  • Rally car needing the motor pulled for some exhaust modification to raise the skid plate
  • Maintenance on my daily driver
  • A home security system
  • Countless small software projects

Right now there are a couple projects I’m intensely focused on. This blog, a open source dropbox like tool (more on that later), and the real estate simulation tool. One of my major goals is to finish projects I start. But how does one do that, the obvious answer is to just do it. Yet getting started again seems nearly impossible to be motivated at any time. And this is because I have the same false view as everyone else on how motivation is created: Excitement turns into Inspiration turns into Motivation turns into Action.

What I propose in this post is that it is actually a loop and that Motivation is the reward instead of the reason for action. If you want to be motivated doing something you first have to start doing that thing and you will be come excited and inspired and that will create motivation. Everyone can start a project, but only someone with the determination to start working on a project when they are unmotivated can really finish a project.

The author Mark Manson calls this the “Do something principal.” He explains it better than I can and you should read his blog post. Do something principal.

Now if only I can figure out how to remember this and actually apply it to my own projects. If I don’t this blog will die just like all my other projects.

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