3 people climbing a mountain with the person on top helping the other 2

Discovering the Power of Artificial Motivators

Alright, listen up guys, let me share something really surprising with you: the idea of artificial motivators, something that’s not truly sincere but still pushes you forward. I used to think we should always be absolutely sincere with what drives us. I’ll tell you a story to illustrate this.

Once, I set myself a goal of becoming the best missionary ever. You may think, wow, that’s ambitious. It was. I wanted to help people, and to do that, I figured I needed to know lots of scriptures by heart. That way, when I had a chance to share, I would always have something meaningful to say.

It took me ages to memorize the first scripture, then the second, and so on. But eventually, with lots of practice and some divine help, I became pretty good at it. In fact, I could memorize two full index cards worth of scriptures every day. Over nine months, I memorized about 450 verses.

But here’s the twist. Around the time I’d memorized about 300 verses, I had this big realization. I wasn’t just doing this to be a better missionary and help others. Part of me wanted to be the guy who knew the most scriptures. I had this secret competitive motive, a sort of selfish drive. 

two people reading scriptures together

I felt guilty about it and talked to God. I said, “I’ve had this secondary motive, and you must be disappointed.”

But God surprised me, saying, “If I waited for you to have only pure motives before I helped you, I wouldn’t be able to help you with anything!” That really made me think.

Now, listen closely, because this is the key takeaway: It’s okay if you have more than one reason for doing something good.

The world often talks about having pure and mature motives, but here’s a different angle: think of a pioneer crossing the plains. He’s freezing, and he’s run out of firewood. He spots a dry cow pie or a tumbleweed and thinks, “Well, that’s not the best fuel, but it’ll burn.” Just like that, even if your motive isn’t perfect, if it drives you forward, use it.

Never feel like you have to be perfect to do good things.

If you want to help people, if you’re eager to contribute, that’s enough. And remember, even if you’re excited about your goals to the point of annoying your companions or older brothers, keep going. Enthusiasm can fuel your journey.

The lesson is this: we all have our reasons for doing things. Sometimes they’re noble, sometimes they’re a little selfish. But if they motivate us to do good, to push ourselves, then maybe they’re not as ‘artificial’ as we think.

Even a not-so-noble reason can lead to a noble outcome. So, never underestimate the power of a ‘crappy’ motivator.

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