As part of my personal growth journey, I have been studying other personal development gurus like Steve Pavlina. I like him because he likes to write and I love to read what he writes. He is a great inspiration to me.
In his article about motivation, he talks (well, he doesn’t talk. He writes, but it sure feels like he talks) about the difference between emotional and intellectual motivation and I wonder what that means.
Some theories regarding spirituality and personal growth consider humans to be “emotional machines”. Everything we do, we do to gain a certain feeling. We get up in the morning and wash our face because we believe we can gain something from it. We go to work, we get married, we make kids, eat, sleep – all for a feeling.
I myself find this theory very powerful and it fits well with my Emotional Intelligence background. Let’s investigate it.
Try to search into your daily activities. Have you ever stopped and asked yourself why? Try it. This thought by itself has the amazing effect of bringing awareness into your life. “Why do I go to work?”, “Why do I stay late at work?”, “Why do I eat?”, “Why do I call my mother (or friend)?” and “Why do I buy presents for Christmas?”
Here is an example. One of my clients wanted to set a goal to find a new job. “Why?”, I asked him. “So I can have money“, he said, looking like the answer should have been obvious. “Why do you want money?”, I kept asking. “So that I can pay my rent and other expenses”, he said. “And then?”, I said. “And then I will be able to relax“, he said.
You see, if we dig deep enough, we will always find a feeling.
It is a bit annoying to do this for everything you do in life, but it is necessary in order to live a life with meaning. If you feel you are not in control of your life, examine how many things you do just because everyone does them. Remember, “Doing no more than the average is what brings the average down”. Find how many things you do just because you have been doing them for a long time, just because it is hard to be different and go with your beliefs, or just because you never thought about it?
You will be surprised to find out that most people feel out of control only because they never ask themselves “Why?”. Even worse, when they have negative self talk and are full of fears, they never ask “Why not?”.
Some people, like Steve Pavlina, think that this activity is intellectual and is a form of analysing your life, taking stock of your current situation and creating a logical reason for motivation, whereas I believe that even this analysing exercise is supposed to bring you the emotional gain of feeling in control.
What is that feeling people get from analysing their life? Control, order, system, confidence, reassurance.
To me, rationalizing leads to a desired emotion, so there really is only one kind of motivation, the emotional kind. Motivation is that “want” that gives you strength and breeds commitment.
In your search for personal growth, whenever you look for motivation, whether you go straight to your emotions or spend some time intellectualizing first, always start by asking “Why?”.
May you find happiness everywhere,