So what is Mastervation? There’s a lot of misinformation around the concept of motivation – mostly perpetuated by so-called gurus who’s personal motivation is to lighten your wallet and line theirs.
We’ve been told to set goals (backed up by Yale’s 1953 goals study where those rare few who wrote down specific and measurable goals achieved far greater wealth, happiness and fame than their peers. A study that Yale contends never actually happened). Yet this so-called “historic precident” has informed business and personal motivation strategies for decades.
We’ve also been told to recite affirmations to ourselves in the mirror each morning, delivered in the present tense with vivid emotional expression (no doubt the mirror is there in order that our subconscious can observe our own spectatular hypocrisy – It turns out, “I am not a magnificent snow flake filled with the essense of pure potentiality” after all).
More recent psychological studies inform us that our minds, rather than simply accepting these affirmations, as some kind of inert mental computer programming, instead seek evidence for or against these statements and often come up with damning evidence to the contrary. This can in fact entrench the undesired beliefs, affirmations and outcomes we are seeking to avoid.
In fact, our 21st Centrury brains have become exquisite BS detectors for all but motivational spin.
So what is real motivation? Or are we all just jerk offs jerking off?
Well, yes and no.
Real motivation is something we all have experience of. When we’re engaged in something we care about or with people we care about we feel an emotion Mihaly Csiksgentmihalyi describes as “Flow”.
So why the confusion?
Typically, when people talk about motivation, what they really mean is pushing yourself to do something you don’t enjoy or are not truly passionate about, like exercising or eating health food… eeeaaargh!!! This translates more accurately as mental compulsion.
That’s a problem, because this kind of ra ra style motivation is only ever a short term strategy. In other words it runs out!
Creating engagement around these challenging endeavours requires designing environments and processes that amplify engagement intrinsically, not just “mastervation”.
So, stop it, or you’ll all go blind…