Motivation quotes

post by zntneo · 2011-05-11T17:08:12.597Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 11 comments

I have been looking for rational motivation quotes because most quotes I hear don't seem to be. As an example i see in sports "pain is weakness leaving the body" this seems irrational and maybe harmful. 

11 comments

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comment by fiddlemath · 2011-05-11T22:38:52.204Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Action precedes motivation."

I don't know the source of the quote, and a quick google doesn't say.

I find that most tasks are easy to continue doing, but difficult to begin: such tasks have relatively high activation costs. For me, many such tasks (programming, research, cooking) are enjoyable while I'm doing them, but I haven't learned to actively desire them when I'm not doing them. Even relatively dull tasks (cleaning the kitchen, buying groceries, shopping) aren't particularly unpleasant, and are easy to continue once I've started. My greatest difficulty in getting work done, then, is to convince myself to start.

On the other hand, when you're trying to summon motivation, you don't have to psyche yourself up to do an entire hours-long task; you just have to convince yourself to do that task for a minute or two. Once you're actually engaged in the task, continuing is easy.

Thus, action precedes motivation. You cannot expect to feel motivated to start doing what you want to do or ought to do. You'll just have to start your session with your own grit, applying your own agency. Once you've done that, motivation will follow.

Action precedes motivation is thus my litany for the moments when I know I should be doing something - that action is more fun and more profitable than inaction - but action seems hard. It helps!

comment by fiddlemath · 2011-05-12T00:00:18.936Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Heh: following links around LW leads me to this, which essentially makes the same point. (Though without the quote, or trying to figure out how to make it stop). Also, I should note that I've been following links around LW instead of doing my own work for the past, oh, eighty minutes, which should, maybe, say something about the need to install a mental trigger on procrastinating.

... and I'm still not reading the research paper I ought to be reading. :P

comment by AdeleneDawner · 2011-05-12T00:58:43.591Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Also, I should note that I've been following links around LW instead of doing my own work for the past, oh, eighty minutes, which should, maybe, say something about the need to install a mental trigger on procrastinating.

... and I'm still not reading the research paper I ought to be reading. :P

Leechblock. You can even set it to forward you to your research paper when you try to access LW, if it's on the 'net.

comment by Nisan · 2011-05-12T20:44:33.015Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

A motivational quote is something you use to rally your society of mind around your goals. Used properly, it helps you accomplish your goals, but doesn't interfere with your evaluation of goals.

"Pain is the sensation of weakness leaving the body" is something you tell a part of yourself who wants to protect you from the pain of healthy physical exertion. If you're exercising and you feel bad pain, you should of course stop what you're doing.

Of course, a motivational quote that works for one person might not work for another.

comment by [deleted] · 2011-05-12T05:40:27.948Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"To follow the path:
look to the master,
follow the master,
walk with the master,
see through the master,
become the master." - ESR, How To Become A Hacker

I've always found this to be motivating, and I printed it out and hung it up in my office years ago. Seems rational to me.

(Note: This is not an endorsment of ESR's views. Also, while he referred to it as a "modern Zen poem", when I looked it up years ago, I was unable to find any other source for it - so for all I know, he made it up out of whole cloth.)

comment by Larks · 2011-05-11T21:14:28.956Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I assume Courage Wolf isn't want you're looking for?

comment by RichardKennaway · 2011-05-12T10:08:35.734Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It works for Eliezer.

I made some of those slogans, and a few more, into this.

comment by [deleted] · 2011-05-11T22:15:28.649Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I really like Jonathan Coulton's A Talk With George. It's perhaps mostly arational, but I don't see anything irrational or dangerous about it.

comment by fiddlemath · 2011-05-11T22:40:18.814Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's perhaps mostly arational

I'm pretty sure that you should not, in fact, go three rounds with Archie Moore or Sugar Ray. :)

comment by Armok_GoB · 2011-05-11T20:06:04.233Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Just think of the reason you're doing whatever you're trying to do, and visualize various details about why it's good and important.

comment by zntneo · 2011-05-16T21:20:13.898Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

What i'm looking for is kind of a response to people who use motivational quotes with a more rational quote. I tire of hearing some stupid motivational quote that if one thought about it is utterly stupid. I guess a really good example is "you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it" no. no you can't