I love the movie "The Dark Knight"!
If you haven't seen it, stop reading this right now and go watch it or I will give you the gist that's important for what I'm writing here today.
The bad guy of the piece, Heath Ledger's Joker, is a despicable havoc-wreaker. At a point, Batman is struggling to figure out the motivations of his adversary in attempts to anticipate his next move when Alfred the butler offers up the following story (watch the video over reading the text if you can):
Alfred: A long time ago, I was in Burma, my friends and I were working for the local government. They were trying to buy the loyalty of tribal leaders by bribing them with precious stones. But their caravans were being raided in a forest north of Rangoon by a bandit. So we went looking for the stones. But in six months, we never found anyone who traded with him. One day I saw a child playing with a ruby the size of a tangerine. The bandit had been throwing them away.
Bruce Wayne: Then why steal them?
Alfred: Because he thought it was good sport. Because some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.
I was sat speaking with a friend of mine who is about to embark on PhD in sports psychology when the idea for this piece came to me. We were talking about making money in sport. In my personal experience of sport, most people involved have making money fairly high up their list of priorities. Winning is also right up there.
And then there are others...
I have a dancer friend called Davidech who choses to work jobs that allow him to dance at least four hours a day and to teach others. He often trains alone. He never enters competitions. He just loves "the dance".
I have a friend who lived on the breadline for years to work at his craft. He won an Olympic medal in his sport.
Another friend taught himself to play the piano to the standards of the London Royal School of Music during the final year of his degree. He wasn't trying to gain admission. Nobody paid him to do this. He just wanted to be able to make music to a high level.
Some people do things because they think they are just good sport and this type of motivation, often called intrinsic motivation, isn't like the motivation people experience when they're chasing wins and cash.
Some people win so much their motivation vanishes. Some lose so much it crushes them. Some let money cloud their improvements one way or the other. This motivation - extrinsic motivation - in large doses is a bad joke.
The intrinsically motivated crowd are a different breed. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. They can't be discouraged by circumstances.
Some people just want to watch their limits burn.
None of us belong to either of these behaviours, we just choose, usually unconsciously, to do them more or less. You could have been acting in one way for years and you can decide to do something different any time now.
Whatever your sport and whatver you want to do in it, know what you're doing it for and know how to spark your own motivation.
Arton "Batman" Baleci
Float Sting - Sports Injury Rehab and Performance, Harley Street, London W1