All human motivation can be divided into two broad classifications; the first is inner or intrinsic motivation. This is the built-in drive you have inside of you to grow and to use whatever talent and information you have. This is motivation that comes from the nature of the activity. Remember after you learned to ride a bicycle? How you would practice over and over again just to be doing it? You were internally motivated. Internal motivation is when we want to do something because of the feeling we receive inside of ourselves.
The second type of motivation is known as outer or extrinsic motivation. This is the tendency to behave in a particular way because of an externally offered reward or penalty. When motivation arises from an outside experience, it is external or outside motivation. If you started riding your bicycle competitively in a triathlon, you were externally motivated. External motivation is when we receive a reward or punishment for doing something. Studying to receive good grades or driving the speed limit to avoid a ticket are also examples of external motivation. Our belief is that your ultimate goal should be to become internally motivated. This is also known as self-motivation, and one of the keys to self-motivation is imagination.
Your imagination is a powerful tool. It can return you to the past, rehearse the future or take you away into fantasyland. How you use it is up to you. The way you use your imagination is the starting place of all of your life’s outcomes. When you use your imagination to look at the past, you can choose to look at negative or positive outcomes. Choosing to look at your past successes builds an image of yourself as a doer and achiever. This builds a solid foundation for future achievement.
When we use our imagination for future accomplishments, we can use it to see the type of future we want to have. This is called imaging, or vision. Imaging is a kind of laser beam of the imagination, a beam of mental energy that pictures our goals and desires so vividly that our minds accept it as fact. Research shows the people who are most likely to achieve their goals are strongly motivated by clear images of exactly what they want to achieve. In other words, to achieve your goals you need to imagine them exactly as they will be and as if you had already accomplished them.
Every successful Olympic athlete uses imagination or visualization to see themselves achieving the goals they have set for themselves. Professional athletes use their imagination also. Jack Nicklaus calls imaging “going to the movies”. He says he never hits a shot, not even in practice, without first seeing it in his imagination.
To help our imagination, we can choose to read inspirational stories, watch uplifting movies, or listen to good news. We can use our imagination to put us into these scenes and help us see ourselves as good, happy and successful.
Your imagination is a powerful force in developing your motivation. Choose to use it to pull you towards success. If you can see it in your mind and believe it in your heart, you will achieve it in your life.