Sunday, June 3, 2007

Motivation or Action First?

What comes first, motivation or action? In the book Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy Revised and Updated, David Burns writes:

If you said motivation, you made an excellent, logical choice. Unfortunately, you're wrong. Motivation does not come first, action does! You have to prime the pump. then you will begin to get motivated, and the fluids will flow spontaneously.INdividuals who procrastiate frequently confuse motivation and action. You foolishly wait until you feel in the mood to do something. Since you don't feel like doing it, you automatically put it off.Your error is your belief that motivation comes first, and then leads to activation and success. But it is usually the other way around; action must come first, and the moviation comes later on.

I think this is a powerful bit of insight. It tells me a couple of things:

  • Don't wait for inspiration to take action; take action and inspiration follows.
  • Build momentum. In other words, starting with smaller hurdles first can build motivation.
  • Schedule time for key activities versus wait until you're in the mood.


practica said...

very cool
i like the approach.
I generally adopted JP Morgan's simple recipe - daily to-do list, execute against it, celebrate completion to encourage motivation
Plan, Execute, And Celebrate

J.D. Meier said...

From ToDo to Done -- not bad. I think the key is how valuable the list is.