How do you bridge your own gaps to get what you want in life?
The building of your intrinsic motivation is key to bridging your own gaps to get what you want.
What is intrinsic motivation?
Intrinsic motivation refers to motivation which drives your interest and enjoyment in a task. It exists within you rather than coming from external pressures around you or from a desire for a reward. When your intrinsic motivation is working you engage in tasks willingly and work to improve skills which can increase your capabilities.
You are likely to build intrinsically motivation if you:
- Can attribute the results you achieve to factors under your own control, also known as autonomy.
- Believe you have the skills to be an effective agent/advocate in reaching your desired goals, also known as self-efficacy.
- Are interested in mastering a topic, not just in achieving social status, a prize or recognition.
So how do you jump start intrinsic motivation? How do you get your internal motivation engine running if you cannot find the gas pedal?
Through your creativity. It is the fuel for a constant flow of intrinsic motivation. It’s logical if you think about it. When we use our creativity we focus on things that are of interest and enjoyment to us. And we can attribute the results we achieve to our own efforts (autonomy). We also can recognize that it was our passion for the subject, that helped us to advance our idea (self-efficacy). And we usually don’t do creative things for recognition or reward- but the self satisfaction of exploring our ideas.
And yet, we know from the Torrence Test of Creativity, that creativity has been declining since 1991. We are losing our creativity as a people and therefore it is no surprise we are struggling with our own intrinsic motivation.
So how do you restore your creativity to fuel your intrinsic motivation?
For your creativity to be well nourished and alive continuously, I discovered through my work, you need to build healthy self esteem. I have experienced how creatives can restore their creative flow and increase their intrinsic motivation when they achieve healthy self esteem.
To achieve healthy self-esteem you need to balance as many of the pain points I have identified below simultaneously to achieve your starting point for your creativity to begin to flow. I call this your Creative Continuum. I wrote about this in the book I wrote Build a Blue Bike. I made a little chart for the book to plot your own creative continuum dots. ( You can click on the diagram to print it out and make it bigger.)
The line that goes through the center of the diagram- the straight one- is life in perfect balance- which we know does not exist.
Look at the bottom or the top of the curvy line- they represent a list of specific extremes I have identified, through 30 years of informal research, that need to be managed to feed and nurture your creative life. Plot your dot below or above the line. Choose what reflects your life intensity in these subject areas and plot your dots accordingly. The closer all your dots are to a straight line in the center of the diagram the more motivated- or ready, willing and able- you should notice you feel to accomplish what your heart desires. The goal here is NOT perfect. That’s not what this is about. And we all know that not everything in life that happens to us, or around us, we can control either so don’t take this personally. Look at it like a mind map of how to improve your life and restore your desire and motivation.
I would suggest you plot your own dots on a weekly basis and start to simultaneously track your daily levels of creativity and motivation. As you address the places you are struggling on your Creative Continuum you will start to feel better. It might begin in fits and starts but you will see it will begin to work.
If 9-11 of your dots are all far from the center line you are in crisis. When 4-5 are at the center line you will be inconsistent with your creative output but will see your motivation growing. When 6-9 of your dots are inline you are the closest you will come to your optimal state. I have never seen anyone plot anything more than 9 dots at the center line who was being honest with their personal assessment.
Remember, its not about achieving perfection. It’s about restoring your creative energy and igniting your intrinsic motivation and keeping the engine running all the time.
- Here is my Creative Continuum as of today.
Remember creativity and destruction are like two sides of the same coin. In the most positive sense our creativity helps us iterate our ideas (and ourselves). And in the most negative sense it brings us to some form of (self) destruction.
When our creative genius, in the most positive sense, appears– it awakens us. Quite literally. And time stops. While it might feel unfamiliar the first time it happens, a sense that your brilliance is revealing itself will come to you. It’s real. And when this happens, hours pass by like minutes and this is where you begin to achieve real results and build your bridge to fill your gaps. And when our creativity begins to truly flow again and our motivation begins to run constantly it is likely workaholic behavior is likely to appear too. It’s inevitable. It’s required, frankly. At least for awhile. We will become extreme in this area, for a period of time, as long as our passions move us. So don’t be alarmed if you become highly motivated for extended periods of time.
When your creativity and motivation are running continuously you will begin to live in a state of continuous flow. We all get there the same way: by consciously re-evaluating our choices and acting in conscious ways that support the development of our healthy self esteem all of the time.
“Vowels are to words what creativity is to the world~ basic and necessary.” What motivates you to explore your creativity?
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Need a magic creativity wand? Let’s start with the clarinet and see what it inspires you to dream and do.