Humans Tools of Self-Control

“The truth is that there are no techniques that will motivate people or make them autonomous.  Motivation must come from within, not from techniques.  It comes from deciding they are ready to take responsibility for managing themselves.” 

Edward L. Deci, PHD; Why We Do What We Do

Trying to motivate yourself to change your behaviour is stupid.  There, I said it.  Motivation is just one more implement in our toolbox full of ineffective human “tools of self-control” – other such devices include guilt, willpower, shame, punishment…

If I’m being honest with myself, those methods of control have rarely worked in my life to permanently change my behaviour.  So why did I spend so long having such faith in them as fail-proof methods?  That’s what everyone says to do, right?  They don’t work because they’re not happy little tips and tricks to new habits… they’re subtle weapons.

Westerners are conditioned to believe that we’re in a life-long battle.  A fight against the world, other people, and against ourselves.  But there is another way, a more quiet and gentle way.  And when I realised that everything about my life changed.

This is a call for you to put down your weapons.  Take a breath.  Pay attention.  Your Self is always telling yourself what you want and need, but we’re fighting too loud to hear it.  Sometimes we even mistake the voice of society and culture for our own. 

“Our external, publicly voiced motives may be completely different to our internal, authentic ones, and the battle between them that takes up so much energy.  It is unconflicted behaviour that has the most power.” 

Charles Eisenstein; paraphrased from Living in the Gift.

What battles are you ready to put down in favour of a more compassionate approach to living the life that you want?