I Don’t Feel Like It – So What?

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I don’t want to. Not interesting enough. Can’t anyone else? I just don’t feel like it…

Having three teenagers in the house surely enables you to hear sentences like this in the daily basis. Obviously, the ways to complain are not limited in above examples. Teenagers sure are surprisingly talented in coming up with saying the exact same thing in so many different ways. I guess it’s in a way understandable that in certain age there can be lack of enthusiasm, motivation, brain functions – well, pretty much everything. Causing teenagers to wine, moan and expect someone else, usually mom, in some magical way to solve every single problem even when the only way to explain them is to tell, how you just can’t understand anything. What however does bother me, is this same kind of would-someone-fix-all-my-problems -ideology to spread…

As a motivation researcher people often ask me how to motivate others – as a manager, teacher, soccer team coach, parent. This question is somewhat concerning. And it, in many ways, wipes out the essence of intrinsic motivation. Motivation is something we have inside of us. Or don’t have. It can’t be forced by outside forces. Or by other people. On the other hand, it can’t be destroyed by someone other that ourselves. Yes, there are certain ways for organizations to support or weaken motivation. But it doesn’t change the fact that talking about motivation is many ways also talking about one’s one responsibility.

Why is it that we so often sit in the dark feeling sorry for ourselves instead of standing up, take a few steps and switch the lights on? Have we become so accustomed to getting constant incentives from outside that we are no longer able to take the initiative and actually do something ourselves? Intrinsic motivation is about enjoying and getting pleasure of our actions. But if there is no action, how could there be pleasure? We have somehow slipped back into the much-less-if-any-brain-activity -teenage again expecting the teacher, boss, spouse, society or Harry Potter to just hand us a wand or a bucket full of motivation creating superior results in whatever we decide to do whenever we feel like doing anything in the first place. We are not teenagers anymore. Or at least I’m not, judging from my birth certificate, which by the way, must be forgery. So, I guess it is time to realize that also our motivation – or lack of it – is up to us.

Sometimes I don’t feel like it. Sometimes things don’t seem to be interesting enough. Every now and then I really hope someone else could do it. And yes, sometimes I just don’t feel like it. But it doesn’t mean there’s someone to blame, someone to pamper my motivation into alive again. No, because in the end of the day, no one is responsible for my motivation except me.