What is the first driver– what is the initial spark which causes us to move, or do stuff in life?
What is motivation?
To start, let us define ‘motivation.’
To me, motivation is having an inner-drive to act or do something.
Where does motivation come from?
Second question: Where does motivation come from?
Obviously, motivation must come from inside yourself. I think motivation is a combination of the electrical signals in our brain and muscles, that cause us, or impulse us to move, create, or make things.
I think that motivation comes from a culmination of ideas, thoughts, and concepts that we let brew in our minds over periods of time. This is why memory is so important– if we could not remember or process past memories, we could not have a storage-house of concepts and ideas to draw upon.
Practical lesson: To come up with more ideas that will ultimately motivate us to do more stuff, have more experiences, and spend more time to reflect on these experiences, in order for us to internalize these memories.
Why have motivation?
Next question: Why is motivation important? Is motivation important?
To me, obviously motivation is important. Without motivation, we would not move, act, or do anything.
To me, life is about action — ACTING, doing stuff — doing something ‘positive’.
The more we act, the more we do, and the more ‘active’ we are– we create more, and feel more in control of our lives. Reality becomes much more fun and interesting, because we can imbue our will into things.
I do believe that as humans we are happiest when we are in the flow of creation. Whether that be creating ideas, creating words, creating concepts, creating music, creating pictures, creating photos, creating words, etc.
Thus, motivation is important because motivation is the driving force behind creation and making things. And we are happiest when we are creating and making things.
How I motivate myself
The meat: How do we motivate ourselves, and should we motivate ourselves?
I cannot speak for you, but I can speak for myself. This is how I motivate myself:
- Wake up in the morning, and take an icy cold shower. This instantly gets my blood flowing, and wakes me up. I feel more active, sharp, and the increased blood flow to my head (as a result of the icy cold shower water hitting my head) helps my ideas to start moving.
- Secondly, having a strong black coffee. I first of all like the ritual of my morning coffee– the smell, the taste, and of course, the adrenaline response I get from the caffeine in coffee. This helps my mind focus, and start moving.
- Usually after my icy cold shower in the morning and morning coffee (I don’t eat breakfast, which usually gives me food coma, and makes me feel lazier and more lethargic) my ideas start to flow. Now all the ideas I’ve been brewing in my head over the last few days start to percolate and bubble up. I then usually start to have some ideas that motivate me to act– whether to write, whether to publish photos, or whether to make stuff.
- If I don’t have any motivation after my icy cold shower or coffee, I will do some physical exercises — usually in the form of ‘dive bomber’ pushups to increase blood flow to my muscles. Theory: I think that a lot of creative motivation and will comes from increased blood flow in our bodies and muscles.
This is a basic overview of my morning routine, how I am able to get motivated to start writing in the morning.
The motivation to make photos
Of course this is a photography blog, so I will touch upon the photography and artistic side of things.
Where do we get the motivation or the will to make photographs?
My theory: we get the motivation to make a photo if we see something that interests us, and we have a deep desire or will to capture that thing, and preserve it for ourselves.
This is important: I think initially the impulse or motivation to make photos is for ourselves. To share and publish it is a secondary concern– that happens far afterwards. Thus, in your photography, first let your motivation of making photos for yourself take precedent. Meaning, only make photos that excite or interest you. Figure out the sharing/publishing stuff to other people later.
Why do we lack motivation to act, move, or create stuff?
This is an interesting question– why do we lack creative will or motivation at times?
This might seem like a simple answer– but I honestly think that we often lack motivation to make art because of physical or mental exhaustion.
For example, when I am sleep deprived, exhausted, or didn’t get a good night of sleep — I don’t have a motivation to make art. Therefore if you want to find more motivation to make art, photos, or anything in life — sleep is essential. We must be well-rested and have energy to make, and act!
As a practical tip: to get better sleep, just abstain from stimulants, chemicals, depressants, alcohol or drugs in the evenings. Also abstain from screens, social media, email, and work in the evenings to get better sleep.
Also, I think that a lot of people are afraid to act, or make stuff because of fear. Fear holds them back. For myself, I don’t really care so much what others think of my ideas or thoughts. Thus, I don’t let this impede me from creating.
Also I suppose that I am vain enough to think that what I do, make, or create is important and meaningful. Thus, before I act or do something, I don’t need external motivation. I think anyone who requires too much external motivation will always have difficulty motivating themselves. The best motivation is inner-motivation — to listen to your own gut and to have faith that what you are doing is meaningful. As long as you can do creative work that empowers yourself and 1 other human being on planet earth, I think that is enough.
Pursuing what you are interested in
Also, I believe it is essential that we must avoid boredom. We are most motivated when we are excited, and fulfill our curiosities like children.
You cannot fake enthusiasm or motivation. You must work on what interests you– what is an interesting challenge, that has some sort of level of difficulty.
- In photography, that means only photograph what interests you.
- In writing, only write about things which are interesting to you.
- In art in general, make art which brings a smile to your face.
The motivation to keep going
We have a long life ahead of us — how do we stay motivated to keep going?
My idea: after we do something, make something, or act — we must cherish our “small win”, be grateful for what we did, and not be satisfied —and keep moving forward.
In other words,
1. Do something personally meaningful in your life, or make/create something
2. Appreciate what you did or made
3. Don’t rest satisfied: KEEP GOING!
This means to spend the rest of your life being BOTH grateful for the work you’ve done, but also NOT being satisfied, so you stay hungry, and you keep going forward in life.
I think life is about constantly creating new things, constantly innovating, and constantly driving yourself forward. Life is growth, evolution, and forward progress.
This means, don’t restrain yourself as an artist. Seek to master many domains — master photography, painting, drawing, sculpture, music, dance, theater, whatever. Seek to write poetry, blog posts, literature, or anything that interests you.
Stay productive and prolific as an artist-philosopher for your entire life: the true secret of creative and human flourishing!
Find more meaning and purpose in your life:
- How to Be Optimistic in Life
- How to Dictate Your Purpose in Life
- In Praise of a Dynamic Life
- How to Enjoy Life
- Photography Therapy
- How to Conquer Regret
- Take Your Play Very Seriously.
- How to Prosper
- Memento Vivere
- Destroy in Order to CREATE
- Trust Your Body More Than Your Mind
- Make Photos to Make Meaning in Your Life
- Seek Knowledge, Not Information
- The Purpose of Human Life
- How to Overcome Impedence
- Why I Love Death
- How to Be Centered in the Eternal Now
- How to Be Happy
- Why Do You Care What Others Think of You?
- Why I’m Happy
- Why I’m So Prolific
- How to Reduce LAG in Life
- How to Be a Stoic Street Photographer
- How to Use Photography as Self-Therapy
- How to Free Your Soul From Disturbance
- How to Be a Zen Street Photographer
- Zen in the Art of Street Photography
- How to Find Tranquility in Your Photography
Learn more: Start Here >
Unleash your creative potential:
- November 7th, 2020: ERIC KIM BLOGGING MASTER CLASS (Online, via Zoom). [Register Intent Here]
- April 10-11th, 2021: BOSTON / Discover Your Unique Voice in Photography Workshop [Register Intent Here]
- May 1-2nd, 2021: CHICAGO / Street Photography Composition Masterclass [Register Intent Here]
- May 22-22nd, 2021: NEW YORK CITY / STREET PHOTOGRAPHY MASTERCLASS by ERIC KIM [Register Intent Here]
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