Motivation or Dedication? Is One Better than the Other?

Motivation and dedication.


Are they synonyms for the same thing, polar opposites or maybe distantly related like twice-removed cousins.


Here is my two cents:


I think both are necessary.


Motivation is defined as “the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.”


Dedication is “the quality of being committed to a task or purpose.”


The difference I think lies in longevity. What I mean by that is, oftentimes, the term ‘motivation’ is used in a very brief context,  as in “I feel motivated after the church sermon today.”


First of all…, great! I am glad that church got you feeling good. That is part of the reason as to why it is there.


Motivational feelings can oftentimes inspire us to action, particularly if we have been slacking or procrastinating on said action for a while.


This is  a good thing.


However, it does have a shortcoming, in that it is fleeting.


There is a reason why this quote below exists:


“motivation is like bathing; once daily is recommended.”

-(I don’t know who said this, but I like it)


Motivation does not last.


If we could somehow harness those positive and inspiring feelings and channel them on a continual basis, mankind might be inhabiting other planets at this point and there would likely be a world filled with so much more ‘good.’


But alas, it is not so.


Dedication, on the other hand, is the stuff that separates the men from the boys.


Dedication is commitment to a purpose.


Dedication carries you through the mountains (motivation) and the valleys (depression or anxiety) because it is tied to a much more significant factor than feelings.


Think about it in these terms…


Motivation is an emotional high. Dedication is a concentration and a fixation on a purpose.


Motivation is how you feel after you hear Les Brown or Eric Thomas speak (both phenomenal speakers by the way. Check out some of my favorite speeches). There is no way you can listen to these guys and not feel pumped up.


Dedication is the love that a mother has for a child. There are certainly such joyous and inspiring times that you will have with you kids, but they also come with sleepless nights, diapers to change, and lots of crying.


Personally, I don’t find it very emotionally rewarding or inspiring if an infant spits up into your mouth… just saying…


So when it comes to goals, both motivation and dedication have a role to play. In fact, I would argue that motivation is what prompted you to write those goals.


But it will be dedication to the repeated tasks, day in and day out, that allow you to hit your goals.


Undoubtedly, if you are trying to get in the best physical shape of your life, it will not always be fun.


In this scenario, motivation is what propels you to walk into the gym and seek those that can help you.


Dedication is what is needed when you hit a weight loss plateau and you notice that Sally is losing weight faster than you.


Dedication is what is needed to recover when you find yourself eating things you know won’t help you accomplish your goals while binge watching your favorite TV show (again), instead of throwing in the towel because you ‘ruined’ your diet.


Dedication is the commitment to a purpose, no matter the circumstances, even when motivation fades for, what seems like weeks.


Dedication is the reason you continue getting back up so that you eventually look back at your accomplished goal, smile and think to yourself…


‘What next?’



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