Motivation is really important. We do what we most want to do. Every choice that we make, we choose what we most want. Sometimes we will choose short-term wants over long-term wants, but it still bottoms out to what we most want. But we’re not slaves to our desires, because our desires are not caused by random cosmic rays that strike us in the brains — we have a lot of input into what we want.
A common misconception is that passion is rooted in fire, but that’s false. True passion is water, not fire. True passion nourishes us rather than consumes us. Fire passion is unsustainable — we only have so much of ourselves that we can consume until we burn out. But water passion is sustainable, because it nurtures us. It is the turning of a water wheel, steadily churning away as the momentum of the river flows past it and through it, pushing it ever gently forward.
That’s not to say there’s no place for fire. Fire is a powerful burst, and while burning, we can accomplish much. But instead of using my fire burst to grind the grain directly, I’d rather use that powerful burst to construct a very nice water mill. That way, I can be sustainable, avoid consuming myself, and get lots more grain ground in the end.
A lot of motivational speakers and books focus on self-discipline. “If you whip yourself into being your own efficient worker, you can be super effective!” And that seems to work for a lot of people. But I can’t help wondering if that’s the only way. I can’t help wondering if there’s a path to motivation that’s rooted not in fear, but in love. If there’s a path to effectiveness that’s rooted not in fire, but in water.
I think there is, and I think Kyeli and I are on it.