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Winnowing motives



I was having my quiet time as I do most days and the issue of choice weighed heavily on me. The consideration of why we do what we do? The why? The reason behind the activity?

While it might be a new year and we are busy setting new goals or maybe simply continuing on a set path, there is need to evaluate the why behind the activity, isn't there?


The consideration of motive is so palpably with everything we do, in every season not just a new year. But particularly in a new year, every where you go, you could find people revaluating their why, reassessing their BAU (business as usual) because a new year signifies the beginning of something fresh or certainly the possibility of it!


It is the time of the year we tend to make new resolutions, reset organisational targets, reassess personal goals etc. It is the time of year where you tend to decide whether you continue to entertain certain relationships and habits, whether you will still find yourself wondering into places you have long out grown or whether you will set boundaries to refrain from doing so.


Behind all of this though is the concept of MOTIVE.


Jane Austen said - "the distance is nothing when one has motive."


I get that, I get all of that yet sometimes our motives are not really ours and in a culture that can be quite intrusive, it is hard to settle on what our own true motives are because we are constantly bombarded by what the loudest culture suggests, we constantly presented by what others accept or consider the standard - on social media, in schools, in relationships. If we really took a better look at ourselves, the way we have been formed and known from the beginning we might understand there are no two lives or paths or journeys that could ever be the same. For this reason, the choices along the path cannot be the same and certainly the motives would need to be properly filtered to make the right choice for the specific individual.


Our journey is not a replicate of anyone else's and therefore our motive will only be as powerful as the understanding we have of ourselves at each point. That understanding grows and this means our choices will mature.


Leonardo di Vinci said - "The motive power is the cause of all life" this sentence beautifully sums up the power of motive and the drive it gives us. We stay motivated because there is incentive to achieve what we want - what do you want? And how has your motive influenced that?


The legal system adopts MOTIVE as a key element in convicting the accused.


Authors, particularly fiction writers need a protagonist with clear MOTIVE. This strengthens the plot. This keeps the reader interested and engaged.


Entrepreneurs needs to understand their why. The reason for which their business or organisation exists. Their MOTIVE. This keeps their employees involved.


As individuals we need to have clear MOTIVE in setting our respective goals for our lives, our families, our relationships etc. This helps drive us.


We don't set goals just because someone else is setting them but because we have a CLEAR MOTIVE.


Clarifying a motive is like putting it through a filter. It is similar to the simple act of "winnowing". To winnow means to "blow a current of air through (grain) in order to remove the chaff" The Oxford Dictionary. The bible brings this word to my attention in Isaiah 41:16. In the old days...and I mean the very very old days this is how the chaff from newly harvested wheat was filtered out and perhaps in some parts of the world it still is.

"....You will winnow them, the wind will pick them up and a gale will blow them away..."

I think of the wind as the spirit that leaves inside of me filtering my thoughts, my hopes, my dreams for myself and even those I have toward others...it has power like the wind, in truth it is the wind that winnows my motives.


To clarify something is very simply the same as to purifying it. We want our motives pure because that is the first pillar of wisdom.


These are a few things that I hope will help to clarify/filter your motives this year

  • Patience - Patience is our ability to wait calmly for something. Waiting calmly helps to put us in the right head space. There is nothing worse than making a choice in a confused state of mind, panic will do that to you, anxiety will too but if we stay calm, we can think more clearly to make the right choices.

  • Kindness - Be kind to yourself. We are a culture that has learnt to drive ourselves so hard in other to achieve accolades, titles, awards, deadlines which have been imposed by society without really thinking how this affects our stability or mental health. We must consider kindness toward ourselves and then we can be kind to others.

  • A refusal to envy, stop comparing yourself with other people - When we want what other people have, simply for that reason, we are suggesting to ourselves that we are not enough. This is contrary to the truth because if we are led by light, what is good then we know we do not lack anything. We carry a unique a presence, ours. It is this acceptance that purifies our motives and helps us make the right choices.

  • Humility - I sometimes struggle with humility when I find the person in authority over me doesn't have a clue what they are doing. Here is my consolation, the understanding that they too are in training, they too do not know it all. They too make mistakes and need to humble themselves and get understanding. In fact, it fills me with compassion watching them grapple with decisions. There is only so much we can control in life and that is why we must remember to stay humble in our hearts because things will happen we did not expect and cannot control, situations will blow us out of the water and we will need help.

  • Be joyful about the truth - Sometime we make mistakes that lead us down really dark paths. The truth is you are still here if you are reading this and you have what it takes to keep going, if you are still breathing, it means you can keep going . That is solid truth to rejoice in.

  • Endurance - the difference between patience and endurance is that patience is the ability to wait calmly for something while endurance is the ability to face adversity or hardship usually for long periods of time. Sometimes we require sustained adversity to really build an authentic picture and understanding of who we are, we need to experience crucible moments that bring us face to face with our mantle and our reason.

  • Hope - Hope waits. Hope is the best waiter you will ever be acquainted with. Why? Because it has no intention on missing out on what is coming. Its like the tiny fairy sitting on your shoulder constantly pointing out the possibilities to you when you would rather focus on the negative stuff. Hope says "look on the bright side" when you are sitting in the middle of disaster. Its like faith, riding on nothing you can see yet expecting a good outcome.

  • Consideration of others - We can not make decisions or choices or set goals in isolation. We will also ways need o give consideration to someone - our family, our team members, our manager, our friends. Giving consideration to them does not mean you throw out all of you, it just means that your decision should not adversely affect them in a way that negates the person you are cultivating yourself to be.


Motive guides us to making the right choices. We want our choices to get us closer to fulfilling our life mission each day through our goals.


On the flip side we also need to give others MOTIVE to do something for or on our behalf, or simply encourage them on their journey. We need to motivate them. Every team leader can relate to this, every organisational lead, every one trying to set pace at home in their family or in the wider community with their relationship. Everyone of us needs to give others motivation to achieve.


Some leaders are really good at this. Are you?

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