September 22, 2023


Sometimes we do everything that we can to do a job, to make a dream come true, and we are ready for many sacrifices. We run around non-stop. But at the end of the day, it’s only tiredness that stays. We don’t feel that peace that comes from trying. We can’t say “I did my part” with peace of mind, we are not satisfied with the results, we complain about our tiredness, we can’t even rest because of our uneasiness. Or we get the result we want, but we feel it’s not worth all the exhaustion, we get disappointed, maybe we fall into a void, or we get mad. The source of all these problems is our motivation, our intention.

The first point in this regard can be whether we prioritize the result or the process. If our motivation is internal and process-oriented, we are less likely to experience the negative and destructive emotions mentioned above. At this point, the teaching of Islam is quite life saving and facilitating. The ideal motivation in our religion is the consent of Allah. We believe that Allah gives rewards to those who intend to do something good and cannot do it. Or the one who made ijtihad and was wrong. Our goal is not to be successful, but to strive.

“Allah wrote down the good and the bad, and then explained their situation as follows. Whoever decides to do a good deed but does not do it, Almighty Allah will write it down as a good deed for him. If he decides to do good and does it, Allah will multiply it from ten to seven hundred. If he decides to do something wrong and does not do it, Allah will write it down as a good deed for him. If he decides to do evil and does it, Allah writes it as an evil.”(1)

Using this perspective, we don’t get mad at being tired. When we manage to say, “I did this for Allah, the result was not what I wanted, but I tried, and Allah knows what we do not know,” we do not feel negative emotions because we do not interpret our tiredness negatively, and we just try to rest. However, if we take refuge in this thought when things don’t go our way, we may also be using it as a defense mechanism. That is why, in order to be able to say the above sentence sincerely, it would be useful to make an intention in this direction at the beginning of the work, to take some time and reflect on our motivation. Let’s think of a character, how should person X think if he/she wants to have a better motivation to study than “dropping out a job” but can’t see a connection between studying and Allah’s consent? This person may think of intermediate motivations that will ultimately lead to the idea of “Allah’s consent.” These concrete thoughts will make the job easier. For example, intermediary motivations may be “learning knowledge, gaining perspective, gaining responsibility by completing a task that seems necessary at the moment, making the work a tool for other works”.

An important point about motivation is whether the motivation is internal or external. Intrinsic motivation refers to the motivation that derives its source from ourselves, our feelings and thoughts, independent of environmental factors and external factors. Psychology research shows us that externally motivated achievements do not bring happiness. Psychologists may encounter many people who start to show psychological disorders when their dreams come true. The problem with these people is that their motivation is external.

Although this is not always possible, trying to create internal motivation while doing a job will contribute to our peace of mind. Let’s say there is a task requested from you at your workplace. If your motivation to fulfill the task is to do what is asked of you and get appreciation, the process will be much more stressful and the result will not be satisfactory. Instead, you might think: “My purpose in doing this job is to gain experience and develop. Now, how can I do this in the most enjoyable and instructive way?” This perspective will allow you to see your job as something that belongs to you rather than something that is required of you, and will ultimately allow you to do a better job. In the end, it will be enough to be grateful and then appreciate yourself. Herein lies the power of intrinsic motivation. If the thought of Allah’s consent is sincere, it is the strongest form of internal motivation.

So how do we know if there is something wrong with our motivation?

First of all, knowing what our true motivation is is about knowing ourselves and introspection. Generally, bad feelings and restlessness are a sign. If we are feeling these, it is a good time to stop and question our intentions, to remember. Maintaining and remembering our connection to our intentions often lowers the difficulty level of stressors and makes them more bearable. Because our motivation changes the way we interpret the difficulties we experience.

Another sign is to compromise our values. If we realize that we are acting inconsistently with our original intention or if we receive feedback on this issue, we may have moved away from our original motivation.

I hope this article will help you question, renew, and stay true to your intentions in what you do. I wish you good motivations and good intentions.

(1)İmam Nevevi, Riyazu’s Salihin. Hadith Number 12. Karma Kitaplar Publications.
(2)Hari, Johann, (2015).Kaybolan Bağlar. Metis Publications.


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