The motivation cycle

Another insightful one from Mark Mansons’ book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. In fact, he claims it took him eight years to sink in, but it’s perhaps the most important thing he ever learned in life:

Action isn’t just the effect of motivation; it’s also the cause of it.

Mark Manson

As he writes, most of us commit to action only if we feel a certain level of motivation. And we feel motivation only when we feel enough emotional inspiration. It’s something preached by dozens of guru’s all the way to Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why“. Find your inspiration, find your purpose because that’s the key to happiness and a fulfilling life.

So the never ending cycle looks something like this:

Inspiration –> Motivation –> Action –> Inspiration –> Motivation –> Action –> etc

Whilst Manson doesn’t disagree with this, his profound insight is that the opposite is true as well. 

Action –> Inspiration –> Motivation –> Action –> Inspiration –> Motivation –> etc.

And that’s a strong thing to realize. Sometimes all it takes is just to do something, to take action. And then the rest (inspiration, motivation) will follow.

I never realized this much, but I often experience the same. Motivation is down to zero and you don’t feel like doing any work. But just start something, an email, or marking up a Keynote presentation gets the juices flowing and before you know it, you finished up a whole thing.

Now I know where it comes from and it gave me an extra trick to limit procrastination.