I heard a line on a television show, probably a CSI of some sort since those shows dominate programming, that made me think. The cop had just charged through the door and had a gun on the suspect. The cop said, “So you hook children on drugs and murder people for money?” The man raised his hands in submission and said, “Isn't money why we all get up in the morning?”
At first I dismissed his statement as shallow. But after another moment’s thought, I told my husband, “He may be right. Is he?” We all get up to go to work and make a living. I had to ponder that.
If someone asked me what gets me up in the morning, I’d say coffee. The idea of a hot cup of that dark elixir gives me a reason to get out of bed. The sheets and blankets are so comfortable in the morning and my cat is always snuggled nearby. That’s a lot of happiness to overcome just to get out of bed. That first movement of feet on floor is motivated by the reward of coffee. I work as a freelance writer and editor, so there is no time clock to punch in and no boss standing at the door waiting for me to arrive. It’s all up to me to meet my deadlines and not procrastinate. So beyond that first cup of coffee, what drives me to perform my job and do it well? Money, right? I want to get paid.
It’s not actually that simple, according to many experts. One, Walter Chen, the owner of iDoneThis, a work productivity tool, presents an argument that money is the reward we all want and need. It’s a survival element in our society. But what keeps us motivated to soldier on every day is a short list, he writes at Buffer Social.
“(T)here are in fact just 3 very simple things that drive nearly each and every one of us to work hard:
· Autonomy: Our desire to direct our own lives. In short: 'You probably want to do something interesting, let me get out of your way!'
· Mastery: Our urge to get better at stuff.
· Purpose: The feeling and intention that we can make a difference in the world," Chen wrote.
Our brains, Chen suggests, have a connection to these three elements. And though we’ve all been programmed not to let our emotions go to work with us, it’s our emotions that help us tackle obstacles and trudge on with more spring in our step.
“Emotions play a leading role in how to succeed in business because they influence how much you try and this is widely misunderstood by bosses and managers. …The components of the inner work life — motivation, emotions, and perceptions of how the above three things work together — feed each other,” Chen wrote.
Not only do our emotions inform our daily decisions, according to Chen and his expert sources, the quality of the emotion can improve our creativity and zeal or interfere. He quotes from a study by psychologist Alice Isen to prove the point.
“Negative emotions like fear and sadness can lead to brain activity and thought patterns that are detrimental to creative, productive work: (a) avoidance of risk; (b) difficulty remembering and planning; and (c) rational decision-making.”
We have to feel our feelings, whatever they are. Negative emotions inform us just as positive emotions do. We have to process them and not be stopped by them. But sometimes simple things, like talking to a friend or exercising, can boost our mood.
Oversimplified, if coffee makes me happy, it helps to put my inner work life into a more positive state. I can move from that positive state with courage and self-confidence a little easier and work toward autonomy, mastery, and purpose. These are the underlying reasons to get out of bed. These infuse us with energy to go after what we want, whether it’s creating a book, a new phone app, or a harmonious home.
Please share your thoughts. What gets you out of bed?