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4 Things that Can Rob You of Motivation

Motivation drives productivity, creativity and happiness. It’s the reason we do the things we do, feel involved, create movement and inspire change. Demotivation has the opposite effect. Demotivation breeds lack of commitment, indecision, unwillingness, resentment and eventually despair and depression.

The first step to battling demotivation is identifying the triggers that cause it. We look at the major ones below.


Fear paralyzes us in more ways than we can enumerate here. Even when you are going into a challenge that you are more than adequately equipped for, fear creates a reluctance that increases the likelihood of failure.

Fear shouldn’t be mistaken for caution. Caution is about systematically evaluating the risks before you then developing a rational analysis of how you can surmount them. Fear on the other hand is often irrational and not grounded on reality.

No person is ever completely free of fear. Fear is in fact a survival instinct. Still, the people who realize their dreams are those who are motivated enough not to allow fear to stop them from being all that they can be.

Absence of Clarity

Lack of clarity is just as bad as fear. You cannot realize anything meaningful in life if you do not have an exact understanding what it is you want to achieve. Before you pursue any major life goal, take a step back, consciously articulate then paint a mental picture of what success will look like.

You are unlikely to look forward to waking up every morning if your objectives are vague and abstract. If you don’t want to get sucked into procrastination and low morale, make sure your objectives have quantitative milestones. For example, you can set a target of a specific percentage of your income going to a savings account. Leverage Kanban cycle time and similar tools to make your goals as precise as you can.

Wrong Goals

Wrong goals come in many shapes and forms. One of the most common reasons people pursue the wrong goals is inadequate research and poor self-awareness.

Perhaps you read a news headline touting the next big trend in your industry and are looking to align your career accordingly. Maybe its discussions with your peers where the majority are talking up a specific type of investment. Or you could be ‘following your gut’ and doing what feels right.

These kind of goals can be toxic because they are often not grounded on reality nor do they take into account your personal skill set. If your degree is in economics, it’s going to be incredibly frustrating for you if you started to look for a job as a dentist with no prior training or academic qualification.

The wrong goals waste time and energy which only dampens your enthusiasm.

Values Conflict

Values are the principles you hold dear in life. A values conflict occurs when you have two or more personal values that you don’t think you can satisfy simultaneously in a given situation. This dilemma causes internal turmoil as you try to make a decision on just which value is of greater priority to you.

The difficulty in determining what is the right thing to do can sap you of all energy. You won’t make much headway unless you are willing to be a purposeful and methodical arbiter of the conflicting paths.

To do that, write down the choices you have on a piece of paper and note down the pros and cons of each. Establish the choice that will be best for you in the long-term. This exercise can also unearth ways you can satisfy both values at the same time. For example, you may discover that you can postpone the fulfilment of a certain value to later thus defusing the conflict.

At its core, demotivation is about a lack of commitment to execute. Understanding the underlying reasons for your demotivation can help you remove the barriers that make it harder for you to achieve your life objectives.

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