Motivation: The Drive that Pushes Us to Act

Motivation is my business, or so people think when they hear I’m a motivational speaker. My journey started in 2004, after my roles as a seminarian, activist, and teacher. I discovered early on that motivating others was a natural skill of mine.

People often ask how I stay motivated every day. They’re usually surprised to hear that I’m not always motivated. It’s a common misconception that motivation alone is enough to succeed. But that’s not the case.

Success requires more than just motivation. You need a mix of strategies, skills, and especially discipline to really make progress. These elements are crucial in turning motivation into actionable results.

Motivation is a powerful tool, though, and its impact shouldn’t be underestimated. In this article, I’ll explore its role and share how it can significantly influence your journey towards success.

What is motivation?

Motivation is the personal drive that pushes us to act. It’s the force behind our choices, big and small, from getting out of bed in the morning to pursuing our life’s work. It’s not just a reaction to what happens around us; it’s also the internal whisper that says, “Go on, you’ve got this,” even when the path ahead is unclear.

This drive can come from many places: the desire to see our own ideas take shape, the need to solve a problem, or the joy of overcoming a challenge. It’s the energy that fuels persistence when everyone else says “give up,” and the satisfaction we feel in our gut when we’ve done something meaningful.

It’s what makes us set the alarm clock at night and what keeps our minds racing with possibilities instead of just counting the hours until we clock out.

Motivation is our inner voice championing us to explore, to build, to grow, and to connect. It’s what turns tasks into purpose and goals into passions. It’s not just about external rewards; it’s also about internal fulfillment and the journey towards becoming who we wish to be.

Motivation in Tagalog is “motibasyon” or “pagganyak.” It refers to the inner force or influence that drives a person to do something or to act towards achieving something. This can be in the form of desires, aspirations, needs, or drives. In a more daily conversational context, it’s often described as “ang nagtutulak sa atin na kumilos” or “ang dahilan kung bakit tayo gumagawa ng isang bagay.”


The Myth of ‘No Motivation’

We often hear people say, “I’m just not motivated.” It’s as if motivation is a magical ingredient that’s missing from their success recipe. When motivation is absent, tasks feel heavier, progress slows to a crawl, and enthusiasm wanes. The effects? Missed opportunities, unmet potential, and a pervasive sense of stagnation.

But let’s pause and question this. Is it truly a lack of motivation, or is it an unwillingness to stir the pot, to create a spark, to start a fire? 

We blame the absence of motivation for our unfinished tasks and our unremarkable efforts. Yet, behind the curtain of “no motivation” is often just a resistance to the effort required to excel.

“Lack of motivation” is not a roadblock erected in our path—it’s the easy excuse we give ourselves. It’s the story we tell to avoid pushing through the tough parts of our journey.

But what if we called it out? What if we saw ‘no motivation’ as a myth that keeps us comfortable with being average?

Let’s challenge that thinking.

Instead of waiting for motivation to strike, let’s strike first. Let’s redefine motivation as the action we take, not the feeling we wait for.

Action breeds motivation, not the other way around. And when we act, we ignite a chain reaction that can lead to outcomes we once thought unreachable.

So, to the one who says, “I have no motivation,” I say: You don’t need motivation to start; you need to start to be motivated.

Don’t let ‘lack of motivation’ be the scapegoat for mediocrity. Challenge the excuse. Challenge the status quo. Challenge yourself. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll find that motivation was there all along, waiting for you to take the first step.

Action First, Motivation Follows

It’s a common belief that action is the child of motivation. But history tells us otherwise. It’s filled with stories of individuals who acted first, with motivation following in their footsteps, like a shadow that appears once you step into the sun.

Take Thomas Edison, for example. He tested thousands of filaments for his light bulb before finding the right one. His action was not driven by a moment’s inspiration but by a relentless commitment to trial and error.

Consider J.K. Rowling, who typed out her tales of a magical world while facing rejection after rejection. It wasn’t the assurance of success that fueled her; it was her unwavering dedication to the story she believed needed to be told.

Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat wasn’t powered by an immediate sense of motivation; it was a deliberate act of defiance against injustice, sparking motivation for a nationwide civil rights movement.

And what about the Wright brothers? They didn’t wait for motivation to build an airplane. They spent years tinkering in a bicycle shop, driven by a fascination with flight and a vision that seemed outlandish to everyone but them.

These stories share a common thread.

Action is the spark that lights the fire of motivation. It’s not about waiting for the right moment; it’s about creating it with your own hands, your own will, your own work.

Remember this: history doesn’t favor the waiters; it honors the doers.

Act, and let your actions fan the flames of motivation. That’s when you’ll start making your own history.

Fueling Your Internal Engine

We all know the old saying: “The early bird catches the worm.” It’s easy to get caught up in chasing the worm—the bonuses, the praise, the next big reward. But here’s the twist: the real prize isn’t the worm.

Sure, external motivation can give us a nudge. It can help us start moving. But it’s like starter fluid in an engine; it shouldn’t be what keeps the engine running. 

What keeps us going, especially when the road gets rocky, is the internal drive—the self-starter in us, the kusang-palo.

Think about it. What keeps you up late working on a project that nobody else believes in? What makes you stand up again after a setback?

It’s not the promise of a paycheck or the fear of a deadline. It’s something inside you. It’s your mission, your vision, and your passion.

So here’s the key: Flip the switch from seeking external validation to stoking your internal fire. That’s what lights up the darkness and clears the fog. That’s what builds a path where there was none. That’s what marks the difference between the driven and the merely drawn.

motivated to wake up each morning

Rising Each Day

Each morning, as the sun peeks over the horizon, a question hangs in the air: “Why am I awake?” This question isn’t about our alarm clock’s persistence, but about the deeper call that urges us from slumber.

Today, challenge yourself to ponder: “For whom do I rise?” We often look beyond the mirror for motivation—the paycheck, the glory, the next big thing. But perhaps, it’s time to look within and around us. We rise for those whose lives we touch—our loved ones, our colleagues, our community. They are the silent witnesses to our daily resolve.

But let’s dig deeper. What are the challenges that stir you to action? Is it the desire to fix a lingering issue, to heal a hurt, or to change a corner of the world? And when the solutions aren’t handed to us, will we rise to seek them?

Consider the strength within you that fuels these daily awakenings. It’s not just a sense of duty, but a sense of possibility that today, something can be better because of you. Ask yourself, “What difference can I make today?”

It’s not simply about the tasks at hand but the overarching goals that drive them. It’s about seizing the time you have to create ripples of change, to learn, to grow, to contribute. Why do you take action? What propels you forward when no one is watching?

So as you rise tomorrow, let it be with an intention that is clear and a purpose that is unwavering. Find your motivation in the quiet moments after the crowd has left. Nurture it, for it is your constant companion on the road to fulfillment.

Let this be your call to action: rise not just because of what you’ll receive but for what you will give. In the end, the most profound motivation comes from knowing that our actions, no matter how small, resonate beyond our immediate sight.

That’s the power of purpose; that’s the true reason we get up in the morning.

Why Sticking to It Beats Feeling Like It

Sometimes we wake up feeling ready to conquer the world. Other times, not so much. That’s where sticking to your goals comes in, even when the excitement isn’t there. That stick-to-it spirit is called commitment, and it’s way more reliable than just feeling motivated.

Imagine you’re at work. Motivation is like when you’re pumped because it’s payday or when you’ve had a good cup of coffee. But what about when it’s Monday, and the weekend feels a million years away? That’s when commitment takes over. It’s like when you promise to finish a project and do it, no matter what. Or when the office is counting on you to open up every morning, and you show up, rain or shine.

Commitment is the teammate who never misses a day, who stays late to get things done, and doesn’t always need a ‘thank you’ to keep going. It’s the worker who keeps on trucking, even when the job gets tough, not because they’re always feeling great, but because they know the job’s got to get done.

So, next time you’re not feeling up to it, think about commitment. It’s the secret ingredient to doing a good job and feeling proud of what you do, even when motivation is on vacation. It’s not about the big cheer; it’s about the quiet satisfaction of work that keeps on moving forward, no matter what.

The Flywheel Effect

Think of a giant flywheel—a huge, heavy wheel that takes a lot of effort to start turning. You push with all your might, and at first, it barely moves. 

But you keep pushing, and after several heaves, it starts to inch forward. 

This is committed action: the choice to start pushing and to keep pushing before you see any real results.

Now, let’s talk about how this action stirs up motivation. When you first see the flywheel make a complete turn, you feel a spark—this is the stuff that gets you going. You’re seeing the results of your hard work, and it’s exciting. 

This spark, this bit of progress, is motivation catching the light from your action.

As you keep pushing, the wheel turns faster, and each push adds more speed. Now you’re rolling! This is momentum. The wheel begins to turn on its own from the energy you’ve put into it. 

Now, it takes less effort to keep it going than it did to start it. This momentum makes it easier to keep pushing and to push even harder.

In the workplace, the flywheel can represent any big project or long-term goal. 

At first, no one wants to be the first to push. 

But once you start and keep at it, the progress from your effort begins to show. That progress is what gets you and everyone else excited—it’s what builds motivation.

The more you push, the more momentum you have, which means even greater and faster results. Pretty soon, what seemed like a grind becomes a groove. Work flows, ideas generate, and productivity soars. It gets to a point where the team’s energy is feeding off the momentum, and the project starts to feel effortless.

So the next time you’re faced with a daunting task, remember the flywheel. Start with action, let that action build your motivation, and watch as momentum makes your task a thrilling ride. 

It’s the cycle that can drive success in any endeavor.

Scroll to Top