Motivation doesn’t come to me with actions. I’m motivated to stop taking an action, stop a habit, to not do. It’s the wiring of my brain.

I don’t see a pile of dishes in the sink and think, you know, I’d love to have a clean dish and kitchen counter. Instead, it’s you know, screw having a dirty sink. It’s negative thinking for a positive result, and yes, I know it sounds terrible, like I’m the Grumpiest King of Angrytown.

But it’s not just me; loads of people, scads even, have that same thought process. It’s something Gary John Bishop talks about in his book Unf*ck Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Life.

‘Are you willing to find a new job? Yes. ‘I am willing.’ Are you willing to stay in a job you hate? No. ‘I am unwilling’.Both assertions can be just as effective. It’s up to you to determine which one fits your persona and situation. Which one ‘does it’ for you?’

If you’re willing to put up with your situation, then whether you like it or not, that is the life you have chosen.

The language you use to describe your circumstances determines how you see, experience, and participate in them and dramatically affects how you deal with your life and confront problems both big and small.

When you start to view the world through the lens of what you’re willing and unwilling to pursue, rather than what it seems you want and don’t want, things start to become a lot clearer. endquote

My brain wants to convert “I’m willing” statements right back into “I’d like that”. But when faced with “I’m unwilling”, well, that puts my whole being into overdrive to eliminate whatever I’m unwilling to do. Here’s some examples from my own life:

I’m unwilling to stay in this shitty job (this is universal, right?) I’m unwilling to give up on this relationship I’m unwilling to stop being a writer I’m unwilling to be defined by my dislexia (I read 100 books a year)

Amazing how something so simple as reframing a desire as a problem can get me motivated to accomplish my goals.

Eli Jones avatar
Eli Jones
Eli Jones is a spectulative fiction writer and data analyst living in the Cascadia Bioregion.