In the movie Cast Away Tom Hanks’ character, Chuck Noland, is marooned on an isolated island. He manages to stay alive sleeping in a cave, and eating raw fish and coconuts. For three long years he deals with emotional ups and downs, multiple injuries, the blistering sun, and terrible storms.
With rescue more unlikely with each passing day, why did Chuck Noland choose survival? He could have just given up. But Chuck persevered because of his desire to see his fiancé again. That’s the drive that kept him alive.
While few of us will ever be faced with such extreme survival situations, we do have one thing in common – we’re all motivated to do what it takes to get what we want if we want it bad enough. Whether that’s to be reunited with a loved one, getting that job promotion, or satisfying that craving for an ice cream sundae, we instinctively set our eyes on the goal and take the steps necessary to get there.
What is Motivation?
Motivation is that driving force that initiates and pushes us to take action in order to achieve something. Often times it feels instinctive, internally driven, like there is something inside of us pushing us to move forward.
In his book, Drive, author Daniel Pink suggests three elements that drive us to do our best work:
This is the urge to be self-directed. We do the work because we’re engaged, not because we’re told to. Self-directed people have buy-in to the bigger purpose.
It’s human nature to want to be better at doing things. Take playing guitar for example. For most, there is no recording contract in our future. We do it for fun and the challenge and satisfaction of improving our skill and technique.
Connecting to a cause bigger than ourselves fuels our deepest motivations. People want to believe in what they do and who they’re doing it for.
On the island, Chuck was self-directed, he needed to master skills to survive, and his purpose was to see his fiancé again.
What’s your reason and desire for keeping on track with your goals? What concrete steps are willing to take right now to improve your autonomy, mastery or purpose?
Watch for details on my upcoming workshop Lighting Your Fire: Sparking Your Inner Motivation to Achieve Your Goals!