Lately, I’ve been thinking about what really motivates me. At different points in time, I have thought I was motivated by different things. Like starting out in music, I loved the idea of accolades but later found I actually just enjoyed the process of making something.

Different jobs have also brought their different motivations: money, experience and fun. Some jobs brought a combination of the three others were all about one outcome (money, of course, was the main motivation for all of them). Leaving these jobs, I also had different motivations.

So now I’ve been thinking about why I do the things I do. Why some things appeal to me more than others. Why one idea sticks when another does not.

There is usually a superficial reason and then the real reason. Sometimes the real reason we do something is for attention, recognition or acceptance. The superficial reason might be an Oscar, then real reason is the acceptance by an audience.

This line of thinking has been prompted by reading ‘Ego is the Enemy’ by Ryan Holiday. A lot of the decisions we make and the motivations we have are tied to our egos. Our ego drives us to achieve more. Our ego is the lens through which we view the world. We are the protagonist in our own story. Ego isn’t inherently a bad thing, we just have to be aware of its existence¬†and manage it accordingly. One way I think we can do this is by being really clear about why we are doing something.

If we are starting a business to make money because we want the freedom to do cool shit, that’s great. We just have to be honest with ourselves that this is the real reason. Telling ourselves that we are doing it because we want to solve a specific problem is great if it is the real reason. If we are saying it because it sounds better to other people then we are in trouble. If we continually tell ourselves a story that doesn’t match the reality we are unlikely to be happy with the outcome. It’s not a case of only have one motivation, we can have a few, but we have to be clear about what our priority is and not try to fool ourselves.

We have to be very clear about our real reasons for doing things, whatever they may be.