Outer Motivation? Inner Motivation? My brain hurts! :(
There seem to be two schools of thought on this whole 'getting stuff done' thing.
School 1 says: Be disciplined. Organise yourself. Use systems that structure your life. Do what you need to to reach your goals. I call this the 'outer school'.
School 2 says: Motivation should be intrinsic. If you need to force yourself to do something then you're doing it wrong. Get in touch with your true core and everything flows from there. I call this the 'inner school'.
Obviously the two are incompatible, so which is right. I've had poor results with the outer school approach, but others have had superb results. Conversely, I've always been a bit fuzzy on how to get in touch with my true core so that path's been a washout so far, too.
Any recommendations? At the moment, whichever path I start down, I feel like I must be doing it wrong.
As for me, I feel that you may need force when the going gets tough.
However, on another board one of the users claimed that she had stopped labelling her experiences as painful or joyful. That might be a synthesis of the schools.
I don't think there's any real conflict between these two schools of thought. I think different approaches may work for different situations.
For example, I agree with the inner school, find your motivation from within by following your passions and what you heart tells you. However, simply because you follow your passions doesn't mean there won't be hard work to reach your goals. That's where the structure and organization from the outer school comes in. There's place for each and can work well when balanced correctly.
In my opinion, you need to balance both ways of thinking... use the best energy boosters from the 2 'schools', and just go with the flow. Take what's best for you and be on your way :)
I feel that I'm using both ways.
I use the GTD system to keep track of all the things I want to do—to remind me that I want to do those things and give me a rough time line of what to do when. Often seeing the list is enough to inspire me to want to start working on something.
Yet - I prefer not to make myself do anything that I just don't want to do unless the consequences for not doing it are severe. Most of the things on my list I do happily (internal motivation!), and if I change the deadline on a particular task too many times, I see it as a sign that I didn't want to do that thing as much as I thought. At that point, I re-examine why I thought I wanted to do it and either rediscover the original motivation or delete the task from my list.
Fortunately, I have set my life up in a way so that I have a LOT of control over what I do, and other than paying bills, doing taxes, etc, there's very little that I didn't choose to do. Once I make a commitment to someone else, I keep that commitment, so I aim to be very conscious about what I schedule with other people.
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