Motivation Follows Action

A thought:

Perhaps we are thinking the whole motivated thing incorrectly.

For example, let’s say I want to photograph and make photos. Instead of needing motivation to go out and shoot, perhaps the correct answer is to first go out and shoot, then discover the motivation while shooting.

Or in exercise, you don’t need motivation to exercise. You go exercise first, and then you will feel the motivation as an accompaniment while you’re exercising.

Do first, motivation will follow.

back flex

To take this idea further:

Don’t wait until “motivation” hits you on the head. Instead, actively go out and do that thing– and you will feel the “motivation” while you’re doing that thing.

For photography, don’t wait until you feel motivated to shoot photos. Instead, just go on a walk around your block, and bring your camera along. Only shoot photos that speak to you.


With exercise, have a shot of espresso and go to the gym. When you’re at the gym, THEN you’ll feel “motivated”. Figure out your workout once you get to the gym.

abstract pattern

If you want to write, perhaps best is to just open up your writing processor (I love IA WRITER), and just start jotting down anything on your mind.

To not feel motivated isn’t a sin.

Another problem:

When we don’t feel motivated, we somehow think that it is “our fault” and that by not being motivated to action, we are somehow “unworthy” or “sinning”.

My theory is that this is perhaps related to utilitarian-thinking, or this ‘protestant work ethic’ which is embedded in much of modern society.

Conclusion: Have a bias towards action

When in doubt, do something. Or do nothing (with intention). Sometimes it is good to take a nap, sometimes it is good to go on a walk around the block, and sometimes purposeful procrastination is good.

But if your goal in life is to maximize your physical strength and artistic output, have a bias for action:

  1. Go out: Go to that party, go to that event, that show, and bring your camera along. Go to the bar or restaurant. Generally any place with human beings is good to motivate us towards action.
  2. Bring your art-creation tool along: If your passion is writing, always bring your laptop, iPad, or pen and pad, or whatever you use to write. Always have it with you (in praise of backpacks). If your passion is photography, always have your camera around your neck (RICOH GR III x Eric Kim NECK STRAP MARK II). Or just shoot with your iPhone (iPhone Pro as a great camera).
  3. Move more! It seems there is really no downside to additional moving. Move more! Walk more, think more, witness more, create more, photograph more! Have a bias towards moving and activity.




Eric face screenshot

Never stop fighting for what you believe in!

See all articles >