What is my motivation?

I asked myself this question many times. Is it love, power, happiness? To tell you the truth I haven’t found my motivation yet. Instead of being discouraged by this fact I considered myself one of the most competent people to write about it.

What’s my motivation; this is the question we need to ask ourselves if we already don’t know this. If we haven’t achieved what we want to and what we can then most probably we haven’t found our motivation. And even if we are successful in some area there is a chance that it was not our destiny. We ended up there; no matter how exalted that place may be, by chance or because we took a wrong turn that took us far away from our destiny instead of bringing us closer.

For instance if you are a successful doctor it doesn’t mean it was your destiny, your treasure that you ultimately found, it may be far from it.

Most often our parents think or we as parents think that it’s our responsibility and right to set goals for our children and suggest and provide motivation for that. Santiago’s father wanted his son to be a priest and motivation was to be a source of pride for a simple farm family.

Paulo Coelho, said in The Alchemist:

“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”

Read this sentence again, this time heart replaced with motivation.

“Remember that wherever your motivation is, there you will find your treasure.”


The dictionary meaning of motivation is

“The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.”


Such a simple meaning! Obviously it doesn’t encompass the whole meaning. It doesn’t say much about this huge phenomenon that has time and again transformed and revolutionized the world.


Millions of people do not accomplish what they can and what they want to just because of lack of motivation. Motivation is a driving force behind our actions. Motivation is also the fuel for our soul that keeps it burning with desire to accomplish our goal. Motivation moves us towards action. Without motivation our dreams remain incarcerated in our eyes. Motivation provides us with a great push that keeps us moving towards a destination that we can’t even fathom fully. Motivation makes something our reality even before it actually starts to exist.

Freud postulated a dynamic,or motivational principle, to explain the driving forces behind people’s actions. Freud reduced all motivation to sex and aggression that resides in our unconscious mind. Motivation also mostly comes from there. Adler an Austrian psychotherapist , and founder of the school of individual psychology “saw people as being motivated mostly by social influences Adler reduced all motivation to a single conscious drive—the striving for success or superiority.”


According to Carl Jung, a famous Swiss psychiatrist , psychotherapist and the founder of analytical psychology, “people are motivated partly by consciousthoughts, partly by images from their personal unconscious, and partly by latent memory traces inherited from their ancestral past.”

Motivation itself has great many faces. We all already know some of its most famous faces like love of things and people, desire to posses and control things and to have power. All the great warriors, religious leaders’ scientist great thinkers and writer had one thing in common, they were highly motivated people.

It was motivation that made Santiago a wandering shepherd boy in The Alchemist cross the desert and a continent to find the treasure he thought was his destiny.

Motivation is not something static or stagnant. It keeps on changing. In the novel The Alchemist, the boy had one big motivation i.e. to find and acquire the treasures that were buried under the pyramids. At one point he changed his motivation from the wealth hidden under the pyramid to Fatima, the girl who was love of his life.

A man said to the Buddha, “I want Happiness.”
Buddha said, first remove “I”, that’s ego,
then remove “want”, that’s desire.
See now you are left with only Happiness.


Desire is a seed that grows into a beautiful tree, we may call our destiny. Behind every motivation is a desire. What if someone has no desire just like Buddha? But to be happy is a desire. Although this is a kind of desire that does not directly require us to do something. It just requires us to remain true to ourselves and live in the moment. Be one with the soul and essence of nature and the soul of universe. It’s a way of being not becoming.

But the question remains if not desire than what was Buddha’s motivation. His motivation most probably was liberation and enlightenment. Probably because we can’t be certain about even our own motivation let alone of others, because it comes from unconscious.


How does motivation find us? As it is mostly an unconscious phenomenon, it finds us through our dreams. Sounds simple but it’s not. Santiago found his motivation through his dream so have many non fictional people.

What comes before motivation? Setting or finding a goal I guess. Not everyone knows what should be his goal. No matter how big or small we all have some goals in life, in order to achieve those goals we need to find our motivation. Sometimes it’s the other way round. Sometimes motivation finds us.


As Paulo Coelho has said in The Alchemist, “So, I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you.”

Setting a goal, finding your goal accidentally or by chance is very important. Because it is tangible and concrete thing it helps us find our motivation. But in any case setting or finding a goal is easier than finding a motivation to reach that goal. Not everyone knows what should be his/her goal. It’s a wrong assumption that once we have found or set our goals motivation will come automatically.

Sometimes we have to push ourselves to find our motivation or even keep our motivation alive. But once our motivation is strong like a rock then Paulo Coelho’s words in The Alchemist sound true that “when you want something, the entire universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

A final thought on motivation, how will you find you have found your true motivation, your destiny?

Again quoting from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist.

“It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.”

When you think yours is the only path it means you have found your motivation.

This is what Moses, Jesus Christ, Hazrat Muhamnmad , Buddha , Mahavira lau tzu thought. Going further, this is how Confucius Socrates, Plato Darwin, Albert Einstein. Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung Shakespeare, Karl Marx, Nelson Mandela felt. I want to write the names of all those who were fortunate enough to find their motivation but I know I can’t.

And I end my opinion piece with a wish and a prayer that I find my destiny and motivation through my next dream.


P.S. Pardon me for quoting too many quotes from The Alchemist. Believe me it’s not because this is the only book I have read but just because I have read it recently, and found it most relevant  with the topic.