One of my favourite books in the men’s section is “Dangers Men Face” by Jerry White. I remember reading it just before I proposed to Turi. I was working as an intern, constantly wondering if I would make enough money to buy that golden ring I saw in downtown Nairobi. I looked at my paycheck and compared it to my proposal plan. My paycheck was like Obama and my ambition to propose was like Crimea. Obama will never support Crimea. I felt like a shark in a fish pond. My motivation to buy the ring to propose began to wane and I lost the desire to get married altogether. It would take changing my cheque name to Putin to buy a pure gold ring the size of Crimea. I stopped dreaming and stopped hoping. However, as I read Jerry’s book, I realized I was undergoing something that many men face- the danger of loss or motivation. The book addressed what I was going through so accurately. I almost saw my name in the title- Dangers Ernest Faces. The following losses were dealt with: the loss of motivation, the loss of position, the loss of influence, the loss of identity and the loss of confidence. Let me expound on the first one- a man’s loss of motivation.
Good and Bad Motivation
Women love a motivated man. Look, I don’t need to quote a source for everything; this one goes without saying. A motivated man is a romantic man. He will go to lengths to make a lady smile. A woman can become a man’s motivation. Jerry says that motivation needs to be good and everlasting to keep a man going. When the motivation is good, then rainy days have got nothing on you because you have yourself an umbrella called motivation. You will fall, yes, but motivation guarantees that you will rise. You need good, everlasting and proven motivation to rise from the down moments in this life.
Here is an example of that good motivation: “She will make a great wife and mother to my children.” Be aware, beloved, that bad motivation exists and it is what causes the loss eventually. Physical beauty is a very poor motivation to start a relationship. A man’s motivation must be rooted in permanent factors. Sexual attraction by itself is not a good and lasting motivation for a relationship and it will fade by 40 or as soon as you see better legs. Fear in itself is a terrible motivation too. When the things that threaten you to take responsibility fade, so will your ambition to act. Guilt in itself is a bad motivation; when apathy sets in and you no longer have love for certain people, you will start packing light for that guilt trip and eventually you will not succumb to their desires. Anger in itself can be a destructive motivation. You will be motivated for justice out of anger because the weak are oppressed. But do you realize that all it takes is a tub of vanilla ice cream and a Marvel movie to make you forget you are angry. Come on! You need lasting motivation to push for causes and to get incentive to do what’s right. Okay, Ernest, so what should motivate me? I’ll tell you what. Like I said, a man’s motivation must be rooted in permanent factors. Something that changes not. Something that has never failed. Something that can never fail. Something that is currently not failing- and that beloved is The Word of God.
All these things: fear, sexual attraction, guilt, anger and basically all emotional responses if aligned in God’s word, become not only good motivators but everlasting ones as well. There is nothing wrong with guilt, fear, anger, sexual attraction etc- they are very necessary for living- but they need to be executed within God’s Will, found in His Word. God’s word will never let fear run lose. In God’s word, fear only leads to loving reverence. In God’s word, guilt will only lead to repentance and not manipulation. In God’s word anger will only lead to justice without sin (oh yes a whole tub of ice-cream by yourself in one night is gluttony) Hehe! Anyway, God’s word will not let anger subside without justice executed. God’s word will elevate sexual attraction and lead it to sexual pleasure without letting it become lustful.
When I lost my motivation to propose to Turi, I examined my loss of motivation. You need to be very honest with yourself here, Beloved. If you don’t identify the true loss of your motivation, you will treat symptoms of your loss of zeal and still remain with your disease. You will prescribe surgery for a headache and it will cost you a lot of time and money. You need to do a thorough audit of yourself. It involves a lot of homework.
Homework One: Know yourself
The first part of the homework involves your temperament. What personality are you? Your personality traits should help you determine your biases. The choleric is likely to be unmotivated when their brilliant track record of achievements is under risk. The sanguine is likely to lose motivation when a friend falls out with them or when they disappoint people and end up being disliked. The melancholic will most likely lose motivation when their perfectionist plans are altered. And the phlegmatic will most likely lose motivation because they are phlegmatic! Find reliable personality identification tools. Find out what dispositions you are heavily inclined to because of your temperament.
Homework Two: Friends don’t lie; fiends, don’t try
The next bit of the homework is to ask your friends who know you very well. The ones who can guffaw when you say you are serious because they know (and so do you) that you are not. Many times, an exterior view is unbiased and can bring to light many things that we did not take into account. Your friends may let you know that your motivation loss is because you hate to lose when playing games. Ouch! I know that because I can be a sore loser myself! Your loss of motivation may be that you are selfish- you don’t like getting out of your comfort zone. Ouch! Your loss of motivation could be the fact that you are indecisive- you never take sides because you don’t like to offend anyone and end up being of no use to either party. Ouch! Good ouches, if you ask me. Ensure that these are friends who say this honestly but lovingly. You will learn if you are humble. Take it from those friends with whom you share no hint of bad blood. Yes, ladies, even those who don’t compliment you when you look good may count as bad blood. If you suspect bad blood, don’t ask them- no matter how many selfies you’ve taken together. They may take the opportunity to hurt you rather than help you. The only thing worse than a friend who will hurt you with their words, is a lying friend who does not want to offend you. They let you sit in your weaknesses as they watch you burn because they don’t want to be the friend that relays bad news. They are not to help you with this exercise. However, you know that one friend who genuinely tells you the truth because they love you! Not the one who says to you, “You can do anything you want!” (bad friend), but the one who will prick your moral and conscious choices.
Homework Three: The Greatest Motivation
The last part of the homework is the most important step- spending a quiet time in the Word of God and in prayer. If you do homework one and two without three, you are bound to repeat the same old mistakes. You will become like legendary Sisyphus, forced to motivate himself to push the boulder up the hill only to face the same tragedy of it rolling back-over and over without making any progress. You need the Word of God as your primary motivation in life. Sisyphus, in Greek legend, was punished with this everlasting task for purporting to be wiser than Zeus. Your life will burden you if you think the only to solve your problems are apart from the Word of God.
There are things that Myers-Briggs and your childhood buddy can’t fathom. Proverbs 14:12 says that “There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” That means do not depend on Q and A personality tests and your friends to determine the condition of your heart. God says that we human beings can think that it is a duck just because it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck and looks like a duck. But God says you could be wrong. It could be Bugs Bunny avoiding Rabbit Season. The Word of God has never failed. Myers-Briggs may fail but the Word won’t. Your friends and closest family members may fail (And they will) but Jesus Christ will not. When unmotivated, it is okay to refer to the other books by mature men but it is not okay to rely fully on them without referring to God’s word. Some people may say that we should NEVER even read them. To them I say this- intellectual laziness can be easily confused with devotion to God. Read those books; it won’t hurt you- but for every book you read, meditate on the Word of God threefold! (That is not a principle, just a suggestion).
Are you feeling discouraged today? Are you feeling unmotivated? You started the wedding plans but you want to give up. You started the Undergraduate degree but it feels so hard. You started the project but abandoned it when someone else did a similar and better job. You began your music classes but you just lost interest when something more interesting came. Or perhaps starting is even a problem. Remember, it is proven that 100% of people who succeeded started. And 100% of people who did not start failed. At the core of those reasons is possibly fear, anger, insecurity, guilt, indiscipline, anxiety etc. The surface problem is that you got distracted. The core reason is that you lack discipline. Accurately identify the core reason. The Word of God will rebuke, correct, instruct and train you so that you are constantly aware of your position as far as sin and maturity is concerned.
There are people who lose motivation because they fear pain. As you work towards success in life, pain is inevitable. But remember, pain is temporary. It may last for an hour, a day, a week, a month or a year; but eventually, it will subside. If you quit, however, it will last forever. The most important principle to lasting success through pain is this: to sacrifice what you are for what you will become. Pain should not make you stop your pursuit but only change your route to success. Build houses with the rocks people throw at you. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Today is the first day of the death of pain. Don’t quit!
And finally, consider Jesus Christ. In that garden at Gethsemane he lost motivation to go on. He sweated blood and asked if the task ahead could be taken away. The most painful experience in life was ahead of him. Yet he considered the father’s will (God’s Word) and it was enough to take him up on that cross for you. And when the painful part was over, he stood risen from the dead, having disarmed all the powers of hell, including death. Persist, Beloved. He persisted for you. And if you have given him your life, you know that you are glad he did not lose motivation.