The Motivation Trap

There is a big discrepancy in thinking about something and actually doing the thing. Let me use decluttering as an example. We might need to do it, but instead we go on YouTube to “motivate ourselves” and watch videos on decluttering for a few hours, but by the end of the day we didn’t declutter a single thing ourselves, we got really motivated for decluttering, but we didn’t act on it. A similar story is buying a gym membership and thinking we just got a little bit more healthy, or fitter, or whatever our goal, when in reality, we only spent some money.

The truth is: just thinking about something, will not get us closer to our goals. We have to actually do the steps that get us closer to that goal. There is nothing wrong with a little motivation. I personally thrive of surrounding myself with content that talks about the goals I want to achieve. But in the end it is just talk. No action.

Interestingly enough when we think about say decluttering a lot, our perception of who we are changes. And we might start thinking that we are “a minimalist” when really, all we have done so far is consume a lot of content on minimalism. However we need to understand that what we consume, does not define us, what define us, is our output.

Of course our input has an effect on our output. And therefore we should choose our input carefully. But who we are is determined first and foremost by our actions. Simply because it is really easy, to echo our input in what we say, without actually taking any action and that in turn will make us a person who talks big, but does not deliver.

I think that when our words and our actions don’t align, it is better to not talk at all, because that is how we avoid being perceived as someone who talks big, but never follows through, as unreliable, really. No one likes an arrogant show off, who’s actions don’t align with his words. And make no mistake, people usually see right through that bullshit.

We need to understand, that it is our actions, that shape our lives and who we are and we should check if our actions match who we think we are and work towards matching our actions who we want to be. Many of us subconsciously still think, that who we are is defined in a few big moments in our lives, but that is simply not true. Those big moments may show who we are, but they do not define us. We are defined by the little things that we do on a daily, weekly and maybe monthly basis. Because those things are truly who we are.

If I read one book each year and I watch 3 hours of TV every day, then I am not someone who reads, I am someone who watches TV. And if the opportunity presents itself, I will be a lot more likely to choose to watch some more TV rather than read a book. It is absurd, that some people think (intuitively) that if the big moment presents itself they will do the “right” thing even though they continuously choose the “wrong” thing in all the little moments that present themselves. Whatever right and wrong may be in any specific scenario.

Life is not about how many special moments come across. It is about how many special moments we create. Simply put: if you do the same thing every single day, don’t expect your life to change. If we truly want our lives to change for the better, we need to start implementing those daily habits, that will bring that change. Slowly over a long period of time. That is the only way change happens. No one ever woke up one day and began leading an extraordinary life. No, we carefully curate the set of habits we implement in our lives and that is how at some point we realize that our life has truly become special.


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