Be Your Best

The Art of Self Motivation

by on Jun.23, 2015, under Blog Posts

Learning how to motivate myself and manage my daily motivation is something that I feel is not only one of the most important skills one can have, but may be one of the greatest gifts I can give to myself.

If you really want to achieve the success in life that you seek no matter how you define it, it does not just come to you because you want it to — most of the time anyway.  You have to make it happen.  And in order to make it happen, you have to be motivated to take action.  And to keep yourself consistently motivated, you have understand a fundamental principle:  all motivation comes from within.

I think one of the biggest differences between an ordinary person and an extraordinary person is their degree of consistent motivation and passion.

Creating Self-Motivation

So if motivation is one of the most critical aspects of success, and motivation comes within, then what is the secret to staying motivated and creating motivation.  Underlying motivation is your desire.  Desire is sort of the root of motivation.  There first has to be strong desire in order to create motivation.  This was a concept outlined in the bestseller book ‘Think and Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill.  Desire is analogous to fire — a small fire makes a small amount of heat.  A big desire creates big motivation.

In order to create consistent motivation, I need to tap into and strengthen my most important desires.  In the midst of the daily trials and tribulations, it is very easy to never sit still long enough to put some undisturbed thought into what your most important desires are.  Left to chance, it seems like I am always reacting to the moment and the events that are happening around me.  I have to consciously carve out time to quietly think about my desired feelings, desired outcomes, desired goals, desired health, etc…  This all boils down to identifying most my important desires as of right now.

Intensify your Desires to Drive Motivation

But just thinking about what you want or desire is not enough to create the type of sustained motivation that drives success.  You really need to intensify those desires by thinking intently about how much you really want those desired outcomes and, another key secret ingredient that I have found to be an outstanding way to intensify desire: think about how much you do not want the alternative to those desires to happen (imagine extreme pain).

This should not be a one-time exercise.  The more you can carve out some time to explore and identify your desires and the opposite of those desires, the more your desires can create excellent and sustained motivation.  Remember that your desires change as your life changes and evolves.

My Goals from 3, 5, 10 years ago…

I do a pretty good job of writing down my goals (formal manifestation of my desires), and I find it interesting to review the ‘old’ goals 3-5-10 years later.  When I review these, one of the interesting things is how many of these goals I achieved or surpassed but never really consciously realized that I did achieve them — because it took me a little longer than planned.  But the other interesting thing I find is how some of the goals I had 3-5 years ago are not that relevant or desired today.  Of course, “excellent health” has always been on my goal list over the years, but the way I perceive that I need to achieve excellent health changes.  Things evolve.  As I get older, I find that I need to ‘do more’ in order to achieve the same ‘excellent health’ goal.  Dang, I wish that was the other way around!!  Some changes are more dramatic — to the point where I cannot even remember having that particular desire.

Your Beliefs Are Critical to Your Motivation

Another key part of creating self-motivation is examining your beliefs — beliefs about yourself and beliefs about what is possible.  Belief in yourself is really a foundational starting point for all achievement and success.  You need to have courage, patience, positive attitude, etc… But it starts with an essential ingredient of an absolute belief in yourself.  The “how-to-do-it” always comes to the person who believes “they-can-do-it.”  As I have written about in previous articles, be very careful how you talk about and to yourself, as all that self-talk feeds your beliefs about yourself (ie. exchange “I am always late” with “I am a very prompt person and work hard at it”).

Beyond believing in yourself, you choose what you believe is possible.  Belief is a very powerful thing we all have, and it can be creative or destructive.  Try to remember that as the famous Irish poet George Russell once said: “We are self-fulfilling prophecies.  It doesn’t matter if your beliefs are true or false, your beliefs eventually become facts.”  Earl Nightingale famously said something very similar: “We become what we think about.”  Your beliefs are much like a thermostat — they regulate what you accomplish in your life.  If you believe you are stuck, you are.  If you do not think you are stuck, you aren’t!  And remember the old saying: “If there is no wind…row!”

Be Your Best,
Todd D. Gifford

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