How to Stay Motivated by the Concept of Mental Duality

Recently, I have talked about the mental duality we have. I noticed that that concept is useful for explaining how our minds work. Today, I will talk about how to stay motivated by that concept.

How to stay motivated

Sometimes, we want to stay motivated in our activities. Although we want to accomplish something, we sometimes lose our mental energy to continue the activity.

Many factors can take away our motivation. We might get bored by the repetition of the same thing. Impatience or stagnation might irritate us. Stressful competition or comparison to others might exhaust us.

On the other hand, some people can stay energetic in their activities. They always find new ways, create new concepts, have fun with those discoveries, grow themselves, and keep progressing toward their goals without boredom.

That is why we want to know about their ways of thinking to keep our motivation high.

However, we often don’t know how to do it well.

In that case, knowing the concept of mental duality tells us how our minds work. That might allow us to stay motivated. Today, I will introduce it.

The concept of mental duality

Mental duality is the concept that we have at least two contradictory aspects to our values.

I like to classify them into four aspects: competition, sociality, empathy, and logic. They are as shown in the following image:

If we are people with empathy and creativity, we have two main values: empathy and logical sense. In this case, we might often be poor at sociality and competition.

Contradictory nature

They are often contradictory. For example, empathy allows us to imagine, but logical sense limits it. Empathy makes us emotional, but logical sense eliminates it. Empathy urges us to secure long-term safety, but logical sense drives us to do trial and error immediately.

In other words, we are not simple. That duality causes our mental conflict.

There is no problem if we have the same duality with the social majority. Society tends to accept it easily because it is usual. However, on the other hand, the more we are the minority, the more we have inner conflicts between our community’s values and ours.

That is why we have to care about our mental duality if we are empathic and creative. People with empathy and creativity are the social minority. The mismatch between society’s values and ours often makes us suffer.

Two approaches to communicating with people

There are two approaches to communicating with people, including ourselves.

  • Showing only one aspect of our values: We use this approach to provide value to society or other people. The simple values make it easier to contribute to others. However, it is hard to satisfy ourselves because we ignore another aspect of our values.
  • Caring about two contradictory sides of ourselves: We use this approach to satisfy and balance our lives. Although this way is complicated, we can fulfill our duality.

It means we need to use different approaches to communication, depending on society and ourselves.

That is why we feel like we are lying when we interact with society. Showing only one side of our values makes us feel unnatural and incapable of living as we are. The concept of persona in psychology illustrates this mental work. We have to wear a mask that hides one aspect of our values to communicate with society.

However, we have at least two aspects. We have to care about both sides if we communicate with ourselves.

The reason why we lose motivation

That confusion causes our mental problems. Losing our motivation is one of them.

Keeping motivation is one of the feedbacks from communicating with ourselves. We have to consider two aspects of our values. That gives us sustainable mental energy.

However, if we get too used to showing only one aspect of ourselves, we ignore another side. That makes us lose motivation.

An example of driving a vehicle

It is like riding a car. Imagine we are riding a vehicle with two wheels. It has right and left wheels: an empathy wheel and a logical wheel.

If we use only one wheel of empathy, our imaginations motivate us. They drive us to start new activities. For example, if we see some singer being praised on stage, we imagine wanting to be like that, too. The excitement motivates us to practice singing songs.

However, that motivation decays over time because it doesn’t fulfill us. We are ignoring another aspect: logical sense.

It is like the following situation: we are rushing forward with only the left wheel and treating the right wheel cruelly. We don’t care about the right wheel, no matter how we hurt it. Naturally, the car is exhausted.

That makes us impatient and try to achieve it as soon as possible. We know that our motivation will only drop. After a complete lack of motivation, we give up or try to keep going without having fun.

That makes us afraid of loss and failure, which are unforgivable.

How to care about both wheels

On the other hand, if we use both wheels and care about them, we can proceed comfortably. We can enjoy moving around and changing scenery. Moving forward itself is fun. Accomplishment doesn’t matter.

In this case, we don’t depend on the wheel being in good condition. We care about the one that is not in a good state.

The typical signal is a negative feeling. Negative feelings emerge when we use one side too much and reach its limit. That signal allows us to stop our current way of driving and restore balance.

Using both wheels allows us to proceed comfortably. That gives us the curiosity to detour because we can enjoy riding. We know we don’t have to hurry up. We can find many fantastic discoveries along the way.

Maximizing possibilities

If we can use both wheels, we will understand that empathy and logical sense have unlimited possibilities.

We might feel imagination gives us unlimited possibilities because our imagination is infinite. On the other hand, we might feel logical sense gives us limitations because we have to face reality.

However, that is false. Logical sense gives us unexpected futures.

My example of creating cheese flavor

Let me show my recent experience. I have been enjoying food fermentation lately. If we soak the meat in a fermented liquid, it will become tender and tasty.

I found a strange phenomenon last month. I usually consume the soaked meat within 3 days, but on that day, I ate one that I left for about 5–6 days. Fermented liquid prevents spoilage, so it is enough to eat.

When I ate it, I noticed it smelled like cheese, even though I didn’t add cheese. I felt curious.

That made me think of why it had a cheese flavor. I deduced something fermented and made that aroma because cheese is also a fermented food. Then, I learned we can create cheese flavor through fermentation by searching the internet.

Last week, I finally created the cheese flavor by fermenting onions. Although it is the traditional method in the flavor industry, I made it with only the ingredients I could get at the grocery store.

That allowed me to add another possibility to my sauce. I can add a part of the cheese flavor even without cheese.

Failure that leads to an unexpected future

It means that my failure led me to an unexpected future. I didn’t imagine such a possibility. My logical sense and curiosity brought me to a new world.

That makes me welcome unexpected failures because we can learn. They also give us possibilities.

On the other hand, if we use only empathy, we can only challenge what we can imagine. In addition, we cannot afford to fail.

That prevents us from migrating to a new future. We never have curiosity about strange results. That creates the boredom.

In such a state, we stick to the “right way.” We try to learn from professionals to avoid failure. The goal is to become like the successful people we imagined. There is no other way. There is no individuality.

Unlimited possibilities by caring about both wheels

We can find that logical sense also gives us the power to migrate to a new, unexpected world. Thinking about reality doesn’t mean it limits our future.

If we can use both wheels, we will understand that empathy and logical sense have unlimited possibilities. In other words, caring about the other side allows us to break through the stagnation or negative state.

That keeps us motivated. Unfolding an unexpected future is also fun.


Knowing the concept of mental duality tells us how our minds work.

Keeping motivation is one of the communications with ourselves. We have to consider two aspects of our values.

That might allow us to stay motivated.

Thank you for reading this article. I hope to see you in the next one.