Conation – The Most Important Business Word You’ve Never Heard
I have somewhere I have to be.
The only motivation book I will recommend to others is Self-made in America, by John McCormack. John introduced me to an obscure English word that I now use as a cornerstone of my daily activity – conation.
I’ve truncated John’s working definition: Conation – the will to succeed that manifests itself in single-minded pursuit of a goal. – to:
Committed Movement in a Purposeful Direction
Social scientists have long talked about the Three Aspects of the Mind. Cognition (doing), Affection (feeling) and Activation (doing) are the three legs. Conation is when we take all three of these and figure out where we want to go, then start going there. Conation isn’t thinking, it isn’t feeling and it isn’t doing. It’s having crystal clarity on where you want to end up, and doing anything you have to in order to get there.
I find it fascinating that almost everyone I know has a good handle on what cognition, affection and activation are, but virtually no one I know is familiar with the word that puts them all together – conation. The most important of the four words, the one that creates action as well as results, is nearly unknown. Why?
Our educational system has promoted thinking and feeling almost to the exclusion of even activation – doing. Conation is most closely related to doing. If you don’t do, there is no conation.
We are all taught that if we just get enough information into our heads and feel good about it, that we’ll eventually do something about it. I believe the reason this valuable word hasn’t gotten much attention is because we’ve all bought into that idea handed down from the ancient Greeks on through that
We think our way to a new way of acting.
We see cognition – thinking – as the all important fundamental on which the other two swing. And of course we all like to feel stuff. So affection gets plenty of attention, too.
But we do not think our way to a new way of acting.
We act our way to a new way of thinking.
Even Einstein supported this when he said, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
Want to grow a Mature Business? Add “conate” to your daily verb count. The will to succeed that manifests itself in single-minded pursuit of a goal, or
Committed Movement in a Purpoesful Direction
Clarity – I know my goal. Hope – the will to succeed, that comes from knowing my goal. Risk – singleminded pursuit.
How do I know I’m conating? I’m already moving in a purposeful direction, with complete commitment to getting there.
Get out of my way, I have somewhere I need to be.