Choosing Your Motivation

It seems I’m on a mission to find the perfect career to satisfy both my generous and selfish inclinations. After reading posts about lightworkers and darkworkers on Steve Pavlina’s website, I though long and hard about, first of all, whether this theory even made sense to me (I think it does), and who I am at my core. I’m not sure, but I think right now my behaviour shows evidence of a mixed polarity. I have lightworker ideals but I have darkworker inclinations. He says that living with a mixed polarity is not very effective nor is it helpful, but that’s what most people do.

Basically, lightworkers are committed to serving other people, and darkworkers are committing to serving themselves. You can read more here. Whether or not you identify with the theory, I think it’s useful to pretend you do, just to see where your mind goes and what new insights you discover. Then you can reframe those insights however you want.

Out of the two, I think I am drawn to the lightworker mindset. Steve encourages everyone to pick a polarity and to run with it in order to achieve any sort of success. I thought about whether or not I am being effective right now, and whether choosing a polarity would benefit me. I think it would, so perhaps I should adopt a lightworker mindset, at least for a while.

When I took the job at the office, working for an Aboriginal band, I thought that it might fulfill me because I am intelligent and the position I was offered would enable me to problem-solve for those who need it. There were two things I overlooked when making this decision. First, the job did not enable me to use my core strengths nor to build on and use the knowledge I already had. Second, it was full-time and required a constant outpour of work on my part–there was no time to reenergize, and I felt completely drained at the end of the day. It wasn’t a sustainable way of life for me, at all, because it did not enable me to refuel to the extent that I could continue giving.

I was frustrated because I believed in my company, but something was missing. I was running out of energy and becoming bitter. I had repressed my creativity and it was ready to gush out, probably in bad ways. So after I quit, I launched myself into creative endeavours–painting, photography, etc.

And now, I am extremely annoyed that I’m becoming bored. I know that I’m a creative person and I’m constantly coming up with ideas for projects, but I just don’t feel like following through with them. What the hell? Am I lazy?

I’m considering that maybe I’ve been hopping too often between the lightworker mindset and the darkworker mindset. Every time something doesn’t work, I try to define myself in a whole new way: first, I think “maybe I’m here to serve others,” and then when I burn out, I think “no, I’m here to be creative and happy.” Instead of trying to simply satisfy what might be a temporary need on the first path, I overfeed, and I become deficient in the opposite way. In a way, I guess, I’m testing out each mindset, but I don’t get anywhere because I don’t buy into either completely.

I did come up with one idea: I could start a business that would use my strengths, allow me to create and also provide significant value to those in need. But let me tell you, that is a hell of a puzzle to solve. All I’ve been sure of for the past few months is that I have to find an idea for that business, but I’ve still got nothing. So now I’ve got this lofty goal and every day I get nowhere. I’m confused and I don’t take action. I seem to have figured out what I want, but it’s still a head-in-the-clouds ideal. I need to know way more about the real world and its needs before I can even have the slightest idea what kind of business would work. It’s hard to admit that after all this soul-searching and research, this is as far as I’ve come, and I can’t see a way out.

It’s clear that I need to do some more exploring, but I’m tired of being at this stage, of acting for the sole purpose of “figuring stuff out.” I spend some days just imagining my future because it’s more fun than reality. I think everyone can identify with that; it’s kind of why we like movies and stories and stuff. Right now, my thought patterns are running in circles and I’m getting bored because it’s as though the current part of my own life story is taking too long. Then I remember that the best synonym for life is “confusion,” and that I will never be completely out of the exploration stage, so it’s something else that has to change. I’ll need to fall back in love with life, to put meaning into what I do. Confusion and exploration are still necessary, so how do I push through?

Perhaps my boredom is a result of having a goal that caters to both extremes, and is, as a result, foggy. According to Steve, following either path (lightworking or darkworking) leads to the same place (perhaps even a place similar to the imaginary business I had created), but in order to get there in this lifetime you must pick a way to get there. You must find a way to motivate yourself, make your inevitable mistakes, and refine your path.

Lightworkers and darkworkers are two groups of highly effective people, each defined by the way in which they motivate themselves: serving others, or serving themselves. If I accept this, then there are only two main ways to feel motivated. If there are only two, then I have to pick: which one excites me? If I let myself feel the excitement of lightworking, I will notice that I’ve lit a small spark–one that wasn’t there before. I now have something to work with.

What would the lightworker path look like? First of all, I could take immediate action, which is a huge plus, given my current situation. My first action would be to serve another person in whichever way I am able to (which excites me), and keep serving until I must refuel and do what I need to do to stay fulfilled. After I refuel, I can start again. This makes sense to me, and the simplicity in this approach gives me clarity.

It might seem really simple, but there were a lot of limiting beliefs I had to work through, such as feeling guilty even for the “refuelling” part. I now know how necessary that part is.

More important than a goal is the reason for your goal. If the reason is unclear or diluted, then how can you expect to take bold, decisive action? The reason you put food in your mouth (action) isn’t just because you’ve decided not to die (goal), but it’s because you value your life (reason). Imagine what would happen if you weren’t sure if you valued your life, or you hopped back and forth between yes and no. You’d probably be inconsistent in feeding yourself, and get very sick. On the other hand, if you knew you didn’t value your life (though I hope this is never the case!), you’d probably find a faster, much more efficient way to end it. Bold action and faster achievement of goals in both the first and last scenarios.

You must know why you act; otherwise, either your motivation to achieve will be weak and you’ll get distracted, or you’ll end up achieving things you don’t actually want.

Choosing a polarization gives you a reason. If you find your reason for acting, then why would you not?

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One response to “Choosing Your Motivation

  1. I don’t think you will find the perfect business idea by thinking and sitting. I get caught up sometimes and I try to work out exaclty what I want and who I am – it is an important but also infinite process. I recently found that it’s best to find a balance between “doing” and “thinking/planing/dreaming”. I also realized that I hide myself in my thoughts because I am scared that I would fail when I start doing. But really… it is ok to fail. Allow yourself not to win and you will win in the end. I recommend to everyone – if you are too much of a thinker start doing – if you are to much of a doer – start thinking. But most of all find the balance.

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