Reset-it

July 8, 2024

How We’re Programmed to Seek Motivation from Others, Not Within

BY Marc Mathys
In our fast-paced, hyper-connected world, motivation often feels like a fleeting resource. We find ourselves looking for that next inspirational quote, that next pat on the back, or that next social media like to keep us going. But have you ever stopped to wonder why we so often seek motivation externally rather than finding it within ourselves? 
The Social Conditioning 
From a young age, we are taught to look outside ourselves for validation and encouragement. It starts at home with parents and caregivers who cheer us on when we take our first steps. In school, gold stars and grades become the markers of our success. As we grow older, this pattern continues with accolades from bosses, approval from peers, and the ever-looming influence of social media. These external validations create a feedback loop that conditions us to rely on others for motivation. When we receive positive reinforcement, our brains release dopamine, creating a sense of pleasure and reward. Over time, we become wired to seek out these external sources of motivation to experience that same high. 
The Role of Social Media 
Social media amplifies this phenomenon to an unprecedented degree. With every like, share, and comment, we get a tiny hit of dopamine that keeps us coming back for more. The algorithms are designed to keep us engaged by feeding us content that will generate the most interaction, essentially turning us into motivation junkies looking for our next fix. While social media can offer a sense of community and support, it can also lead to an unhealthy dependence on external validation. We begin to measure our worth by the number of likes our posts receive or the followers we accumulate, rather than by our internal sense of accomplishment and self-worth.
 The Impact on Mental Health 
Relying on external sources for motivation can have detrimental effects on our mental health. When we don’t receive the validation we seek, it can lead to feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, and even depression. 
Moreover, the constant comparison to others’ curated lives can create unrealistic expectations and a perpetual sense of falling short.
In a world that constantly pushes us to seek motivation from outside sources, it’s crucial to remember that true motivation comes from within. 
By cultivating self-awareness and focusing on our personal values and goals, we can break free from the external chase and find lasting, intrinsic motivation.
 

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ABOUT

Hello I’m Marc the creator of the Reset-it program and a TedX speaker.

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