Find your motivation: What drives you?

“The two most important days in your life are the day when you are born and the day when you find out why.”
Mark Twain

Everyone on this planet has a purpose – your job is to find out what that is. Some people are destined to become great mothers or fathers. Some people are meant to be artists. You don’t have to be a star to influence people’s lives. As a volunteer in a club or a third world country, you help more people than anyone else sitting at home watching TV.

“Only if you know your destination, can the wind be favorable to you.”

Maybe you know that you don’t want to do your current job anymore. But it’s not enough to know what you don’t want. you have to know what you really want. By “really” I mean that you have to (re)discover the deep motivation within you and unfortunately it is often difficult to distinguish it from the expectations others have of us, especially our parents.

Maybe you think that you cannot earn enough money with your current job and hope to become a millionaire with an idea. The chance is very high that reaching this goal will not make you any happier than before. You might buy nice things, like a nice car and you will certainly enjoy it for a few days or even weeks. But you get used to it quickly and you need a new kick from buying. As a result, more and more things accumulate in your life that continues to cost money, take up space, cause problems (e.g. repairs). At some point you’ll think: “Shit, now I have everything I wanted then and I’m still not satisfied.”

To have more means to be more satisfied is the feeling that marketing likes to gives us every day. These are other people’s expectations of you to be a good consumer. But it was most likely also the expectations of others that you (unconsciously) followed and that brought you into your current job. Do not make this mistake again. Use the chance you have now to do what makes you happy, regardless of what others think about it. It might be a “crazy” idea! Great, this is a good sign that you are on the right track, because if it is not “crazy”, it is “normal”, i.e. it follows the general expectations and does not break new ground.

What you want deep down inside is called “intrinsic motivation”. Such activities give you joy out of themselves and do you good. In contrast to this, one speaks of “extrinsic motivation” if you only do something because you get something in return from outside, e.g. money or recognition from others. Most employees are extrinsically motivated, because you would never do what they do if they were not paid for it. We want to find your intrinsic motivation to make you like working AND we want you to get paid for it so that you can live on it.

“If you feel you’re going around in circles, it’s time to step out of line.”

How do you find your real motivation?

“If you want a day of happiness, get drunk. If you want to be happy for a year, get married. If you want to be happy for life, be a gardener.”
Chinese proverb

This question is almost as important and difficult as the question about the meaning of life. It is about the meaning of your life, or the meaning you give to your life. What could that be in your life and how do you find your motivation? There are different starting points for this and in the first week of the 120-Day-Challenge you will deal with it intensively.

What did you want to be before?

As children and teenagers, we still have a very good intuition and are not yet so strongly influenced by social expectations. However, the influence of the parents is of course very large, i.e. it is important to also deal with your parents’ expectations.

Which things or times have been especially nice for you in your life? Maybe you did something during a holiday that was especially good for you? Maybe you did an internship or a job in the past that felt “right”?

Who are your role models?
Are there perhaps people who have always fascinated you? These could be famous personalities or “normal” people from your environment, like grandparents, parents, siblings, friends, colleagues, neighbours, etc. What distinguishes these people? What have they perhaps done differently from others around you? How did they live their profession? What values do they represent and what do they embody for you?

Maybe you don’t think you have any role models. Then it is high time to find some for yourself! To do this, think about the people you know – whether privately, professionally or from the media – and think about who you would choose if you had to choose a role model. Take your time and choose several. It is quite possible that you will come up with much better ones after you have already found some. It takes a bit of time and then always goes easy.

Sidenote: Often we admire people who are similar to us, but who, unlike us, have dared to live their lives to the fullest and not adapt. By the way, there is also an opposite aspect when our motivation has been suppressed and rejected since childhood. Then we react amazingly aggressively to people who live out our motivation because they make us feel that we are not honest with ourselves. There is a scene in the beautiful movie “American Beauty” where the US Marine Colonel Frank Fitts – a tough, gay-hating soldier and neighbor of the main actor Kevin Spacey – tries to kiss Kevin because he thinks Kevin is gay and Frank dares to show himself for the first time. The only way for Frank to endure his love for men, which he suppressed as a soldier all his life, was to reject homosexuals radically.

Which tasks are especially easy for you? In my experience, this is one of the best indicators of what you are “made for”. Surprisingly, however, these qualities are the hardest for you to name. To discover and appreciate these sides of you, ask people in your environment who know you and whom you trust: your parents, siblings, friends, colleagues, bosses, co-workers, neighbors, acquaintances in the club, etc.

A pattern of 1-3 characteristics will certainly emerge very quickly, on which everyone agrees. Trust them! you really have this strength. And it is understandable that you easily dismiss it as “that’s not so great”, precisely because it is so easy for you. Therefore, it is easy for you to get the feeling that this is not so important or valuable or worth mentioning. Yes, it is! We just want to find a task for you that is easy for you and suits your talents. Because here you will be successful without having to make excessive efforts. That means you have much less stress, more success and more time for the other important things in life, like friends, family, hobbies and most importantly: yourself!

Which part of your current job do you enjoy and which parts of it are the ones that make your job miserable today? Make sure that you can answer especially the first part of this question honestly and with conviction, so that you don’t find a thousand reasons why the job is stupid (colleagues, bosses, customers, …). We want to find what you really want and not (only) what you want to leave behind.
What would you do if you did not have to earn money?

Imagine you get an unconditional basic income that is sufficient for your everyday life. What would you do then? How would you spend your days? If you lift the restriction on money, it will be easier for you to think about what you would actually like to do. We often take jobs because we need the money. But you can earn money in the most unimaginable way, so don’t worry about money now when you answer this question.

“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how.”
Victor E. Frankl


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