Change is a journey between two points – Here and There.
Change doesn’t come without motivation. You need a catalyst; a reason to alter whatever it is you’re altering. But there are two distinct kinds of such motivation, which we’ll call “Push” motivations and “Pull” motivations.
“Push” motivations are all the reasons why Point A sucks. You hate Point A. Point A is uncomfortable, miserable, and unpleasant. You want to leave Point A as quickly as possible and never look back. Or do you? That’s the thing – sometimes change is involuntary. It can still be very good (and we’ll get to how to ensure it is in a minute!), but certainly you’ve encountered unwanted changes in your life. When you do, sometimes your “Push” motivation isn’t so much a motivation as an actual push. Quitting because you hate your job is a “Push” motivation. So is getting fired, even if you liked your job. In both cases, something is pushing you away from Point A.
“Pull” motivations, on the other hand, are the things you like about Point B. A “Pull” motivation might motivate change even if there isn’t a thing wrong with Point A. Maybe you’re perfectly comfortable in your current house, but a fantastic deal on a beautiful place opens up and you have to jump on it. Having a heart attack is a “Push” motivation to get in better shape, but deciding that you want the thrill of finishing a marathon is a “Pull” motivation, even if you’re otherwise in average (and comfortable) shape.
“Push” motivations are just as valid as “Pull” ones as far as initiating needed change. But “Pull” motivations help ensure that the change is healthier and more positive. If you quit your job because you hate it, that’s well and good – but you might end up in an even worse one because you were only motivated by getting out of your current situation. Meanwhile, quitting because you’ve found something you’d rather be doing is more likely to initiate a positive result.
You can combine these! If you find yourself on the verge of unwanted change due to an involuntary “Push,” you can always find the right “Pull” and add it to the mix. Just because your car was totaled in an accident doesn’t mean you can’t shop for a new one with the motivation to find your dream car. Focus on that Point B, not just putting distance between you and Point A.
Life will push you. But you have to pull yourself up.