For Unto Everyone That Hath Shall Be Given: Motivation and Action

As recorded by J.D. Bentley May 28th, 2018
For Unto Everyone That Hath Shall Be Given: Motivation and Action

You’ve no doubt heard of the Pareto Principle, a peculiar observation that a majority of x will belong to a minority of y, often divided into percentages of 80 and 20. For example, 80% of the population will live in 20% of the cities; 80% of the wealth will be generated by 20% of the individuals; 80% of the money you personally earn will result from 20% of the activities you actually do.

The percentages may vary in reality, but the observation is generally true. Across different categories and fields, the majority of x will belong to a minority of y.

This principle has a biblical basis in Matthew 25:29 (AKJV):

"For unto everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath."

That is to say, those who have will be given even more and those who do not have will have nothing. It is a paradox, but that doesn’t keep it from being true. You can apply this idea to many things, but of particular concern to me at the moment is how it might apply to motivation and action.

It might be said that the most successful people are the most motivated. Or the 20% of successful people generate 80% of motivation. They accomplish more. They handle more. They succeed more. And their successes multiply every day.

In light of this paradox, what are we—those who struggle with motivation and execution—to do? Having little motivation, what little motivation we have is taken from us and seems to have been heaped onto the productive elite. We lose all momentum and they gain, and we have no momentum left.

Or to quote Ray Charles:

That old sayin’ them that’s got are them that gets

Is something I can’t see

If you gotta have somethin’

Before you can get somethin’

How you get your first is still a mystery to me

I see folks with long cars and fine clothes.

That’s why they’re called the smarter set.

Because they manage to get,

when only them that’s got supposed to get

And I ain’t got nothin yet.

In the case of motivation and drive, if we don’t "got", how do we "get our first"?

We take it.

Those who are unmotivated, as I’ve experienced countless times, need to eliminate the requirement that they be motivated in order to do the actions that eventually generate motivation. A man need not be motivated in order to take action as if he was. And then a funny thing happens. After he takes action, he becomes more motivated. After he tastes a certain degree of success with his actions, he becomes more motivated. And with every action, the motivation and success multiplies. He eventually becomes "them that gets", or the man "that hath" and "shall be given" and who "shall have abundance."

So, at least in the case of motivation (but probably also other things), the requirement is that you act as if you already have that which you wish to acquire. You do the work as one who is already motivated, and eventually you will become motivated and it will be heaped upon you as you continue to act. This is the lesson I’ve learned this week, and certainly one worth remembering.