They say “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all” and that’s so true. When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional. In case you’re in desperate need of some motivation, I’m going to fix that problem, right here, right now. I strongly believe that there are no negatives in life, only challenges to overcome that will make you stronger. Here are few ideas to “Stay up“!
- Be open and honest with yourself and others about your needs. Satisfy basic survival needs before trying to motivate yourself to pursue higher goals. Identify ‘higher-up’ goals to pursue once the basic ones are met.
- Start and finish each day with some positive and uplifting input into your mind such as inspirational quotes or stories. Furnish your office and apartment with uplifting pictures, plants and colors. Acknowledge three experiences that you are looking forward to during the next week. Write down three experiences in your life that turned out to be much better than you expected.
- Don’t expect one guru to give you all the answers. Make sure they practice what they preach and are not stuck in an ideological rut. When you have a difficult decision, think about what advice they would give you.
- Each time your self-esteem receives a knock, take time to repair it appropriately (have a drink with a friend, etc). Plan a treat each time you take a big challenge when there is a reasonable risk of failure.
- Challenges – make sure that are truly enjoyable and that the outcome is worth the risk. Mix with people who have a passion for challenges. Success is built on an astute ability to synchronize challenge and chance.
- Risk – before taking a risk, imagine and face the worst possible outcome. Prepare a contingency plan. Use breathing and meditation to calm your physical sensations. Use visualizations the night before a difficult task. Courage can go rusty without regular practice.
- Principles – before starting a project- list your principles and ideals. Keep a clear distinction between core (unbending) values and more flexible ones. For collaborative projects, be sure you have a working consensus with the others on the principles. Test the current validity of your principles regularly by playing devil’s advocate.
- Fear – learn to take control to your response to fear so that you can reclaim your full quota of natural courage. Now it is your choice if you have more or less than anyone else. Acknowledge fear and be aware of pre-conditioned fear responses and realize that you can now control your response. Don’t take on any more fear than what you have judged is controllable by your current store of courage.
- Energy – value and use it economically. Conserve energy by taking the train instead of stressing out by driving. Keep a personal warning signal of stress- irritability, impatience etc. (stress eats up energy faster than almost anything else). Use the rhythm of your own energy cycles to your best advantage.
- Calm concentration – work on putting yourself into a focused and relaxed state where the body is free of tension and the mind is clear and energized. Remind yourself that a better environment is a bonus, rather than an essential condition for achieving concentration. Be aware of your concentration span and be prepared to adjust your priorities accordingly. Concentration exercise– count backwards from 50, as soon as the mind wanders, go back to 50 and start again until you get it all.
- Organization – you must be able to draw upon order when you need it and loosen its restraints when you do not. Experiment with different systems of organizing and change them when necessary.
- Decision-making – accept that decision-making is stressful. Focus on taking care of yourself while under pressure rather than making a premature decision. Don’t make decisions in an over-excited state. Recall good decisions to boost your belief in yourself. Review your values to see if there is a conflict that is stopping your decision. Use contingency planning to help cope with the fear. Brainstorm and mind map to help the logical process.
- Self-presentation – never sell out on your individuality. Don’t penny pinch on presentation – a high class look will give you a high class feel. Exercise – select three adjectives which sum up the main message that you am trying to present about yourself. Is the way that you are dressed now in tune with this?
- Problem solving – accept responsibility for solving your own problems. Analyze the different aspects that are contributing to the problem or could help you solve the situation- people, communication, inadequate resources, structure, links between these aspects. Chose the priority areas where you will focus your attention. After a careful analysis of a problem it is important to take a break from it. Create a step-by-step chart that has specific achievable goals. Keep a notebook handy since many good ideas happen when you are in a relaxed state. Expect some conflict if working in a team.
- Intuition – make a habit of listening for, and noting down your intuitive response whenever you need to make a decision. Check this against your logical site and use the information to determine how much you can trust your intuition.
- Self reflection – Imagine that a film company has been hired to make a film about you. Which type of film would you choose to reflect your own overall style- documentary, adventure drama, musical, comedy, cartoon, etc. Which famous actor would you use? What would be the title? Compose two sentences that could be used to market the film.
- Individuality – ask yourself regularly if you are being yourself. Remind yourself that many of those who have contributed most were individualistic characters. Welcome conflict as a way of discovering more about your own and others’ individuality.
- Action signals – these are symptoms that you feel that require immediate action. Here are several action signals along with a brief summary of her recommended solutions:
- Guilt – try to understand which of your personal standards have you violated, vow to correct the action as much as possible and not repeat it.
- Frustration – acknowledge that you could be doing better and try a new approach.
- Disappointment – acknowledge that you have been let down, review your goals and expectations along with the other options.
- Inadequacy – accept that your skills are not up to the job, plan to improve them.
- Anger – your rules have been broken, review your rules and decide if they are appropriate.
- Oneliness – need for more connection with people. Realize that there are many loving, caring people who you could make a connection with.
- Practice exercise – list all the emotions that you have either fully experienced or suppressed during the week. Assess what skills you may need to develop to become more emotionally effective.
- Self criticism – make a short self-criticism session part of your daily habit: What could you have done better today? What didn’t you do that you should have done today? Don’t try to keep the same standards in every area of your life. Rank their importance and your standards towards them. Calmly note the persistent violation of standards and review them later. Reframe self put-downs into a neutral format.
- Self forgiveness – it’s important to regularly forgive yourself because you are constantly changing and developing, and it is impossible to do this without getting it wrong many times. We depend on high levels of self-esteem and can’t afford to spend too much time in purgatory. Guilt cripples the immune system. Reward is much more effective than punishment. If you are beating yourself up, ask if you would do the same to someone you love. If not, don’t practice double standards.
- Assertiveness – once you have thought through the possible consequences of being direct and open about what you think and feel, you can also choose not to be assertive. Practice using your directness in low-charged emotional situations first. Encourage others to be more direct and make it easy for them to express their needs. Deal with your unassertiveness before tension mounts up and you over react to the situation.
- Self protection – don’t waste time and energy arguing with people if their opinion is of no value to you. Fogging technique- this lets other people think that they might be right- “You’re possibly right, I may be a bit selfish” (reaffirm to yourself that you know that you are a generous person). If you feel your anger escalating, decide immediately to get some distance from the person or situation until you have regained emotional control. Don’t try to resolve the situation while your blood is boiling. Only sweep your feelings under a rug in emergency situations, and always retrieve and deal with the feelings later.
- When you are filled with worry or frustration, imagine what your favorite comedy star would say if they could whisper in your ear. Imagine that you are a comedy writer paid to use this material. What format would you use – sitcom, slapstick, stand-up, silent movie, etc. Who would you cast in the central roles?
- Reveling in success without fear of failure – Double your rate of failure. Failure is a teacher – a harsh one, perhaps, but the best you can be discouraged by failure or learn from it, said Thomas Watson of IBM. Defeat may be a stepping stone or stumbling block according to the way you accept it, said inspirational author Napoleon Hill. Drop the word failure from your vocabulary, use alternatives such as ‘temporary setback,’ ‘challenge,’ ‘learning experience,’ etc. Celebrate minor successes and start planning a celebration for your big goals as soon as you start them. Have a contingency plan for every big risk.
- Keep reminders of your goals and incentives in constant view (picture of what you would buy with the extra money, diploma, etc.). Be aware of any effective incentives that you have experienced from the past and see if you could add them to increase your motivation. We are much more likely to achieve goals which trigger off strong emotions in us.
- Keep a symbolic reminder of your vision constantly within your sight to remind yourself of what you are striving for. Think big things while you’re doing small things, so the small things go in a right direction.
- Make sure that your daily action planning is on the same ‘wavelength’ as your vision of success (such as: how does overeating contribute to my vision of a better world).
- Scrap time list – keep a list of small jobs that you can work on during periods of waiting. Plan these activities before leaving home. See patience as a necessary evil and a quality that you can choose to nurture and then use from time to time.
Last but not the least I would like to share this wonderful quote by C. JoyBell C.
“I feel that we are often taken out of our comfort zones, pushed and shoved out of our nests, because if not, we would never know what we could do with our wings, we would never see the horizon and the sun setting on it, we would never know that there’s something far better beyond where we are at the moment. It can hurt, but then later you say “thank you.” I have been pushed and shoved and have fallen out and away, so very, very, many, many times! And others around me have not! But then, the others haven’t seen what I have seen or felt what I have felt or been who I have been, they can’t become what I have become. I am me.”
Thanks for reading. Now go out and get something important done. Please share this with someone else who needs motivation. In the comments below, share your other favorite motivation hacks and tell me what this post helped you achieve.