The Control and Motivation Paradox

Our clients often ask us what to do when someone says they feel out of control or says they are less motivated than they used to be or even no longer motivated at all.

Our answer is always the same.

It starts by explaining the paradox of what happens when one feels out of control or not motivated.

Here is the paradox:

When you are feeling out of control, simply ask yourself, “Who’s in control of my feeling out of control?”

If you’re honest with yourself, you will realize that it is actually you who is in control of your feeling out of control.

Here’s why this is true.

No one else can control this feeling – because it is happening inside of you and only you have access to your own emotions.

The same paradox applies to motivation.

When you are “not motivated”, you are actually motivated to “not be motivated”.

It’s your motivation, not someone else’s. After all, it’s happening inside of you.

Hence, the paradox.

So, when someone comes to you and says they feel out of control or lack motivation, the first step in dealing with this is to get them to realize that they are doing it to themselves.

Help them to understand that if they want to change this, they have to make dealing with it important enough to do something about it.

This starts with a willingness to get back in control or to increase motivation by focusing on the conversation they are having with themselves around the issue about which they are feeling out of control or the issue they are not motivated to address.

It’s that simple and that complicated and, hence again, the paradox!