What’s your prime mover in life? Or in Latin, your “primum movens” in life?
Motivation means “to move”
A lot of us in life aren’t “motivated”— which means, we don’t have an impetus or reason to move, do, act, or create stuff!
Also as a small note, don’t confuse motivation with “inspiration”. Inspiration means to “breathe in”— to breathe in ideas and novel concepts from others. “Motivation” means to actually have the power and reason to move, act, and do!
A lot of philosophers like Aristotle tried to philosophize on the “first mover” of the universe. Aristotle said in his book on metaphysics, “…there must be an immortal, unchanging being, ultimately responsible for all wholeness and orderliness in the sensible world.”
Anyways this stuff gets way too theoretical. My practical question is this:
What is the thing within your soul which promote you to move, to act, and to create stuff?
Sometimes in life we need an external “motivator”— someone else to motivate (push) us to take action and move in life. These motivators can be our parents, our partners, our teachers, motivational speakers, etc.
I think there’s nothing wrong with having external motivators. But the problem is if all of the action in your life comes from an external person — how can you motivate yourself by yourself, without them?
In other words,
How do you motivate yourself to do stuff and create stuff in life, without getting the electric prod from someone else?
For myself, I always ask myself “Why?” many times, to better understand my personal motivators in life.
Usually whenever I ask myself the question “why?” enough, it comes down to this:
I do what I do in order to empower other humans (still alive today), and to also empower future generations of humans.
Personally I don’t believe in a conscious afterlife. I do kinda have this concept that after I die, my biological matter will decompose into the earth, and give new life to a tree, and bear lots of (delicious) Avocados. But for the most part, I’m only certain of my life while still alive and conscious on earth — which means this:
At best, I’ll live to be 100 years. At worst, I’m gonna die today in my sleep, or in the next few hours in a texting-while-walking accident.
Therefore because the length of my life is uncertain — the only logical thing to me is this:
Best employ today to make the most meaningful impact on my fellow human beings.
As of now, I think my ultimate purpose in life is human empowerment. Everything I’ve done up until now has reflected this.
For example, I started blogging at around age 16, doing motivational life-advice encouragement stuff (in a very tactless way). Then as I got older, I would encourage and motivate my friends and family. I then continued to try to empower others through studying sociology, later psychology, later teaching street photography (which is confidence building with a camera as your tool), and now philosophy-art and entrepreneurship.
So once again, my primum movens (first mover/first motivator) in life is to empower others.
I have no idea what it is for you. You must discover the answer for yourself.
Some questions to meditate on by yourself. Write answers to these questions on a piece of paper, on your phone, or just meditate on them:
- What kind of work or actions in my life gives me the most meaning, purpose, and feeling of elation?
- What kind of artwork gives me the most joy? How can I figure out ways to have more time, energy, and attention to continue to make more artwork which brings me joy? And how can I most effectively share this artwork with others?
- What is making me miserable in life? How can I subtract more bullshit from my life, or subtract more negative people from my life? Nassim Taleb encourages us to find happiness “via negativa” style (subtract what makes you unhappy, instead of adding what makes you “happy”).
A basic answer you can also answer:
“Why do you make photos?”