The technicality of motivation

The technicality of motivation


Interesting to see how topics turn up. I was talking to my friend Srini today about motivation and how to keep oneself in an inspired state of mind when the common perception is that it is the worst phase. He drew out a beautiful analogy to support a very cogent argument.


As a natural course of actions and reactions, things ought to go wrong and at least at some point we all feel that all hell has broken loose and things around seem a little hard to understand and a lot harder to solve. The question is how to sustain the energy or the motivation in such a scenario. His answer was quite simple and definitely unorthodox. Thanks to the these thoughts, it finds a way to stay in the mind. The analogy was a pendulum and the idea is simple indeed. Consider a pendulum having the two sides, a negative and a positive one. When all hell breaks loose, it is like we are being stretched out on the negative side with a great force, no wonder it hurts! But wait, the action doesn’t end here. Thanks to the Newton’s third law, it has to yield a reaction in the opposite direction with the same force. In other words, it just means that it will eventually end up in the positive end with the same force. Thematically speaking, a negative result would just mean that the positive one is just around the corner and it probably needs a small impetus to drive it in the right direction.


Interesting thought isn’t it? Are things as simple as this pendulum? Perhaps! I sure would love to think so. I would be the first one to agree that it is extremely difficult to pick ourselves up when things are low and down and nothing seems to be working out. But it is thoughts like these which can very well help us to get back on our feet to get things started and work upon it. The only way anything could ever work is by acting upon it and as the definition of motivation goes, it is as simple as ‘motive to take action’. If that is the purpose of that, why not rely on a thought that helps the action instead of wallowing in something which doesn’t provide a proper answer or a result. I am thinking out loud here but somehow it seems to make sense to me. The pendulum analogy is quite a brilliant one and perhaps one of the best suggestions I have got. There sure seems to be a brilliant link between the technology and motivation. There was something else he mentioned about inertia, well lets save it for another day shall we? 😉


63 thoughts on “The technicality of motivation

  1. I think we all know ourselves best. I know what gets me into a low. And it usually is not a big thing. Pendulum does not swing widely to the negative. But it can swing there over little things. There is nothing specific that might make me sad or unhappy.

    But I recover quite quickly and again by something quite small. It doesn’t take much to move back into the positive zone.

    Knowing this about myself….when I get in a fussy mood, I try to look around for the little goody that will swing me back.

    Hugs usually do it. 🙂

    And so do comments, likes and followers. LOL

    • True, equillibrium is certainly a hard thing to achieve.. I guess probably wat matters would be how consistently we are on which side of the swing which decides a lot of things for us..

      Hugs comments and likes.. Got it 😉

  2. They call that the gambler’s fallacy, and the casinos have made their fortunes off of it. But being patient and knowing that tomorrow is another day puts things in perspective. Eventually the pendulum will swing back, we just don’t know when. Keep on the sunny side.

      • Yes. I thought you knew the expression. When, as a gambler you’re betting (for instance) on a coin toss and you’re betting heads, and it keeps coming up tails (you’re losing each time)….. the gambler’s fallacy is to think that the next toss just has to be heads. But the odds remain 50 -50. Nothing has changed. Still, one has to hang in there (like that pendulum) and keep swinging.

      • That drives an equally lovely analogy too 🙂 .. The brilliance of equillibrium 🙂 .. I had heard the probability logic but wasn’t aware of the phrase. Gambler’s fallacy! I love it 🙂

  3. Lovely post and I think at the end of the day self motivation matters the most. I don’t know how it swings but yes you’re swing analogy makes sense.

  4. Mithil says:

    Being a recent graduate engineer i am huge believer of this pendulum theory ;);) ….
    But i got a question for u … do you think by this theory we are trying evade and runaway from our fears, faults or our own wrong doings?? We are waiting for good things to happen but at the same time are we acknowledging the reality of the bad times or are we just ignoring it??

    • A very valid question Mithil. I agree completely, it is only the actions that can make us the difference and any thought which instigates us for the action in the right direction is a most welcome one. And that’s how we defined the theory as a motivation which just gives the motive to act upon and a belief to rely on. The result is always in the action and like an inspiration would, the pendulum thought too was a way to goad ourselves into the actions we keep putting off 🙂

  5. Shree Hari BL says:

    When in dilemma this perfectly fits, suppose there are multiple things to add up and u r confused, to draw the best of it requires more effort and always it doesn’t end with binary … and there some times remains a chance to choose ur liked one too ..

    • I couldn’t agree more shree hari, it never is binary.. Most of the times things are a lot more subjective than they seem to be.. And most times just reminding ourselves that things are a lot more than objective indeed helps 🙂

  6. You are right. When we are down and out, it is good to remember analogies like this. Sometimes what helps to get things into perspective is to think about someone who is less fortunate. And as someone said earlier, tomorrow IS another day.

    • Thanks Kayem, yea they certainly play a huge role. End of the day, I realize anything that goads us into action in the right way is the most welcome thought and the thought that deserves to stay 🙂 ..

  7. logically it does make sense Vijay…..but imagine the pendulum getting stucked at the extreme left….horrible, isn’t it…???
    though literally its not possible that a pendulum getting stuck at any end….but it happens with human get stucked with those negativism….and that phase is so horrible, you know….
    BTW a nice post by you vijay…. 🙂

    • Thanks Irfan. Nice point you mentioned here, the pendulum can never get stuck but the brain has the proclivity to do so.. I think that’s probably the biggest of the challenges, getting it out of there and to focus in the right direction 🙂

  8. Yeah, as you say, it’s sometimes hard to hang onto the the rope when the pendulum swoops over to the grim side, but…friends help remind us that it will swing back. Friends like you. Thanks.

  9. Perfect picture of life. Acknowledging the scientific fact is first giant step to take. Next then carrying a positive attitude, surrounding/draining myself with positive-mind people like you, and taking action. Live life like a two-year old would..

  10. Well, there are things and there are our feelings about things… The things seem to respond to physical laws and probably, so do our feelings in that they are a result of physical processes in our brains. By observation, feelings or at least some of them, tend to cycle somewhat as well as responding to specifics that occur. The pendulum analogy appears to recall such cycling…a useful thing to recall in a negative cycle!
    Seems to require some practice…

    • Spot on jack!

      It certainly is hard to get into that consistency. Like you said, it takes a lil bit of effort but does offer a lot in return. After all I think we all look for one thing, something to motivate us to keep the fight going. Anything positive that would help us in this regard would be an utmost welcome one.

      Thank you for the respose on the topic, very valid point 🙂

  11. I like your theory, even if it doesn’t cover all the possibilities. Because there are mood swings, and if a person is generally healthy, he will pass the despair, and begin to feel more positive, seeing his problems in a better perspective, and finding solutions to his problems. I say, it doesn’t cover all the possibilities, because sometimes we’re digging ourselves into a deeper hole, all the time. And then, we have to stop digging; take a break; and get out of that hole. In any case, it is always best to take a break when things seem unbearable. Thank you for your illustration of the pendulum, though. It puts things in a better perspective already.

    • Thanks Shimon 🙂

      I do agree, there still are a lot more subjectivities and ideas to keep up the positive side brimming. It certainly doesn’t cover many possibilities, just a facet to help us get into action and find the solutions which make a difference to us ..

  12. Vinay:

    I took the advice of those WordPress cards we get in our email when someone likes what they’ve read; therefore, go check them out! This is a sort of personal revelation of their idea however in my own words. Well hell, am I glad I did!

    Your article is articulate and in very, very good form. The content of you writing is magnificent! I love the KISS principle (keep it simple, stupid) and how well you applied it to a rather delicate state of being. Thank you…and yes, I’ll be around frequently!!


    • Thanks so much Paul.. These words definitely mean a lot to me 🙂 .. I like the modification of the KISS, stupidity certainly rules 😉 .. It would be an honor to interact with you frequently Jon 🙂

      • Vinay:

        The pleasure would be all mine! 🙂 Please feel free anytime to contact me about anything whatsoever. There doesn’t need to be a reason but I think I could learn an awful lot from you, plus our ideas.

        Kindest regards,


      • Sounds exciting Jon 🙂 .. Its really very kind of u to say so 🙂 .. would be lovely to share some thoughts with u… Looking fwd to it 🙂

  13. Things going wrong….going right…I feel it is a chain of events unfolding through actions reactions. It is our perception of wrong and right which affects motivation. ‘ when the hell breaks loose’-here hell breaking loose might be a word exaggerating the actual circumstances. We can start working on ‘self talk’ here. It minimizes the impact. Find milder words to describe difficult situations when we talk to ourselves.

    • Brillliant Madhuwanti.. Thats actually a wonderful thought. Words actually tend to define the way we think, sometimes the way we communicate to others, the way we communicate to ourself..

      Kinda the difference between absolutely angry and hurt and being annoyed or even peeved.. They do influence us a lot..

      I am so glad to find a consensus of thought in this direction. Not many give a thought into this.. Thank you 🙂

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