I, literally, don’t feel motivated to do anything anymore. Can you help me?
UPDATE: I’ve published a book called “The Art of Laziness: What Creatives Do When Doing Nothing” since I answered this question, so for more potential insight into this state you can check it out here… And now back to our regularly scheduled program…
Dear “Lazy Susan,”
Well, that was pretty much straight to the point, lol… So, let me get straight to mine.
Lacking motivation? Try this: Nothing.
And by “nothing” I mean, absolutely, positively, fantastically nothing.
Give yourself time to breathe… Time to recharge…
Whether it be days, weeks, or even months – (it’s rarely months) – CHILL THE F*CK OUT.
You don’t have to do anything to be worthy of the air you breathe. You’re unconditionally loved. So feel free to be a human BEing whenever you want, and not always a human DOing.
Now, with that said, if you want to do something, but aren’t sure what, a “lackadaisical” phase, (when not connected to the type of depression I address in this answer), typically signifies that you’re at a turning point in your life and your inner being is waiting for you to stop doing stuff long enough for you to be able to hear from it what your next move and/or perspective should be.
That’s called inspiration. When you’re moved to do things from within.
Motivation, on the other hand, consists of external influences. It can work hand-in-hand with inspiration. But solo? It’s a dud. It’s like running on a portable battery. Eventually you’ll run out of power and want to plug back in.
Furthermore, action driven from within is the only type of action that leads to soul satisfying results. So when you care about how you feel it’s hard to do things without your spirit’s “go-ahead.” It’s like trying to get a dog to come to you when he knows there’s nothing in it for him. Ya’ll be staring at each other all day! Haha. (Alright, I’ll stop with the metaphors, lol…)
Now, will you die from a lack of motivation? Nooooooo… Hahaha. Since you do, in fact, care about how you feel – as evidenced by you writing in and/or reading this – your inner being’s desire to feel good will inspire you to continue to do the things that maintain not just your physical well-being, but that of those you love and who depend on you, if necessary. Now you may miss a meal here and there in the brief time it takes you to reconnect with your inner voice. But, don’t worry, the cops won’t bust down your door and find a bunch of skeletons, haha. It just won’t happen.
The quicker you give yourself permission to not only let go of doing the unsatisfying things you think you should be doing, but also permission to not be clear, and to not make a move until you are, the quicker you open yourself up to receive the new breadcrumb instructions of stuff to do that ultimately is satisfying, (i.e. stuff you want to do).
A little self-acceptance goes a long way. And a little stillness? Even further.
So, make peace with where you’re at, and before you know it, you’ll be doing things that bring you peace. Best of luck.
P.S. And for more on this topic as it relates to avoiding a specific project you want to work on I highly recommend Steven Pressfield’s “The War of Art.”
Note: As this column is designed to be a judgement-free zone, only those who have been, (or know someone who has been), in a similar situation are invited to comment; especially if the question is unorthodox or hard for one to relate to. And for even more relevant insight, those seeking answers are always encouraged to go within.