It’s a throwaway line from Star Wars: A New Hope. The purists will point out that the actual line is “This R2 Unit has a bad motivator!” but either way it is enough to stop the red droid in his tracks. At that point, it’s back in the sand crawler with the Jawas. There is something all too familiar about this situation. At times motivation seems like an illusive force that some people have the power to wield while others struggle to find it. There is nothing supernatural about it. The reason to do or not do something (don’t get me started on trying) is a mixture of chemicals that are released in our brains and the story that we tell ourselves. So if you’re not doing something that you want to (or know that you should), it’s because you’ve got a bad motivator.
In our society, we are rarely threatened by starvation, predators or a lack of resources. These were the things that motivated our ancestors. Theirs was a life linked heavily with necessity. Our needs have been replaced by our desires. Unfortunately for those with bad motivators, most of the things that are easily acquired come with bad side effects. Also the things that have true value often require a decent amount of effort. So the choice becomes do very little to gain the trivial or find the motivation to get the things that matter. The motivation that you seek is in the story that you tell yourself about your desired outcome. If you don’t have it, then your story sucks!
The story has to be consistent, compelling and relevant daily in order to get you to act. For example, many people continue to smoke despite the impending health risks. The story that they have for smoking must be very strong while their quitting story must be weak. Since the story that you have is made up by you or at least approved by you, you also have the power to change it. The power is in your belief. If you believe that you need to lose 20 pounds before October 15th or you need to donate $100 to an anti-charity, you will (I did that). It was surprisingly simple once the story was in place. I didn’t change the story for anyone. The monetary amount was enough to make it compelling. It was an important part of each and every day. I’d made myself the main character in a success story that I wanted to see come true. That was enough.
So do you have a bad motivator? Tell yourself a different story about that important thing that you want. It’s the most important thing to get this right because you’re the main character in the movie of your life. Why in the world would you settle for a crappy script? Start small with the chapter of today then build on that success. Most likely the only person stopping you is you.