According to the US Department of Health, more than two-thirds (68.8 percent) of adults are overweight or obese. According to Gallop 70% of American's aren't engaged with work. It is clear we have a national problem with inertia and boredom. We have lost touch with what creates motivation and healthy hunger--that evasive quality that drives action, creation and results. While evasive, creating that hunger is a skill that you can learn.
We have been taught that "not working" and doing nothing is the equivalent to relaxing and feeling good. Our innate leniency towards sitting back versus taking action may feel like the ideal. We may feel that the choice of not working is what would be the most satisfying, however the field of psychology states otherwise. Distinguished psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says, "The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times... The best moments usually occur if a person's body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile."
If we are happiest when we are voluntarily doing something challenging, why do we more often take the path of least resistance? We do it because it's a bad habit that ends up having the same downside of overeating: it’s a vicious cycle that leaves you feeling worse and worse yet increasingly trapped in your own rut.
We might also think that if motivation is inherent, that it should happen naturally. The reality is that it's not inherent; you have to create the moments that bring this out in yourself. Like any skill, you need to learn it and practice it.
Here are 3 ways to re-invigorate your innate hunger for work and that of your team:
1. Make sure you are in the right job
This may seem obvious, but the reality is that if you aren't in a job that is well suited to your strengths, then you will never be naturally hungry. We live in a culture that tells us that money, accolades and prestige can outweigh a job's "fit" importance. However, a good career fit is essential for that hunger that we all crave. If you're not in the right job, then start a search for the right one. If your team member is not the right person for the job, start thinking of how you can help him or her move on to a role that would be a better fit.
2.Use boredom and lack of enthusiasm as a red flag
This is an important one. Usually when we get bored or don't feel enthused about work, we tend to brush it off or we blame ourselves. We think, "maybe I'm not smart enough for this, or maybe I need to try harder to enjoy it." However, boredom is a sign that it's not something that you truly enjoy.
Start a practice of stopping when you’re bored and writing down what specifically it is that is causing this boredom. Is it a person, a task or the environment? It may be something simple you can fix (like your environment) or it could be an early indication that a lot of your job doesn't get you jazzed. Take ownership of these indications and see if you can do something to reverse it on your own. If after tracking this for a month, you realize that you are frequently bored by the majority of your work tasks, then it's a solid sign that you may need to move on.
3. Analyze on a weekly basis
Analyze your job fit and lack of enthusiasm level on a weekly basis. Building a habit of asking these questions and then creating a strategy from them is the key to managing your hunger on an on-going basis.
Start solving these problems for yourself and asking your team to do the same. You are in charge of your own motivation and true hunger for work. The key is to build awareness of yourself and then inspire those around you to do the same. Once you know the reason for your lack of hunger, you can begin to reverse it.