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Why does motivation fail? How to be constantly motivated? || Acharya Prashant, at LIT-Nagpur (2022)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
5 min
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Questioner (Q): How can we remain constantly motivated throughout the academic year and throughout our life also? There are a lot of motivational videos out there, but their effect is short-lived; we remain motivated for a while and then go back to feeling demotivated. But we want to remain constantly motivated. So, can you tell us something that will help us achieve that?

Acharya Prashant (AP): If you want to feel motivated for one hour, watch your usual motivation videos. If you want to stay motivated constantly, stop watching those videos.

What would you want? The car is not moving, so you keep pushing it from behind, apply a lot of force, push it from behind—how far will it go? Or would you rather turn on the ignition? The car has an internal engine. Do you want to run it on external force? Please, tell me. Which car am I talking of? Who is the car here? We. You want to live by your internal engine or by external stimulus? Internal engine.

Motivation is always external; therefore it cannot last long. But it gives immediate effects, like steroids, so people feel attracted. You will feel enthused for one hour: “Yes! I can do it!” After one hour, you will again say, “There is no way I can do it.”

And now you know why those motivation videos get so many views—because you have to return to them again and again. So, one person has to watch them two hundred times. First time he watched it, worked for one hour, so again he has to go and again watch it; one more hour, and he has to again return to that. That’s how the views keep increasing.

Think of it logically. If the motivation video actually did work, then it would have very few views because the fellow would watch it and never need to watch it again. If the video actually works, I will watch it once and that will cure my problem, right? And I will not need to watch it again. But you need to watch that thing every second day because it is an external thing and it makes you addicted to external power. It does nothing to demonstrate to you that there is something within you that does not even require motivation.

And that’s the reason life education, spiritual education, must be made compulsory. The central message of Shrimad Bhagavad Gita is that the highest kind of action is motiveless action, not motivated action. The one message Gita has is that motivation is useless. But you don’t want to listen to Shri Krishna; you want to listen to your cheap kind of motivators. That’s what has happened to India.

And when you go to the Gita, it is not motivation that you get; it is realization that you get. And realization is the big daddy of motivation. Once you realize something, you do not need to be motivated at all. Motivation appears like something trivial and unnecessary. Who needs motivation?

Your friend is sick. He needs to be taken to the hospital, and you see that he is sick. Now, do you need to be motivated by an external party to take him to the hospital? The friend is dying and you are sitting, “No, I am not feeling motivated. So, let me google and find some video to motivate me.” And then that motivator comes and says, “Show the world that you can do it!” Appears so comical, right?—because you can see what needs to be done. Seeing is power. Seeing is energy. You do not require any motivator. You require friendship, and you require realization. And you will pick up your friend, put him in the car, and rush to the hospital. No motivation needed. No motivation at all.

And even if you carry him to the hospital using that motivation tool, you might find that on the second crossing on the road there is a thirty-second red light, and you are again feeling demotivated. And the friend is shouting, “Why have you stopped midway? The hospital is just a kilometer ahead! Please, carry me there!” And what do you say? “I feel demotivated.” And, unfortunately for your friend, your data pack expires; the friend, too, expires, because you couldn’t motivate yourself.

Realize. Understand what you want to do. There is no power bigger than realization. See, see clearly. Understand why something is important. Once you understand why it is important, no motivation is needed. Watch deeper stuff. Read more meaningful books.

Q: Sir, how to get self-realized?

AP: That’s what I said—watch deeper stuff, read meaningful books, and watch this video again and again.

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