As promised, this post is about what you can do to find motivation. The tips presented here will either sound crazy or pretty logical. Let’s get started.
These days we can find a lot of people trying to motivate us to be better, happier, etc. But motivation is different for each individual. It is not something that can be mass produced. The things that motivate us can have a short duration; but it is important to be mindful of when and how they occur so that we can take advantage of them.
But before we get into the complicated stuff; let’s start with this: Plant your feet and ground yourself. Practicing mindfulness is a fantastic way to help you achieve that. Broken down, this effort will be divided into three stages:
- Understand yourself better
- Align the heart and mind
- Get to the motivation
Step 1 – Understand yourself better
Ask yourself about your biggest achievements. What made you take on those tasks? And please think about those achievements as a reflection of yourself. You see, I don’t have a single trophy, and just a couple of academic medals. However, I have achievements. Think of that trip of a lifetime. That man or woman you conquered. That hike you did. That night at the karaoke bar where everybody applauded you.
Now, think about what was fun about it; what made you feel good. It’s different for each person. Was it the money? Was it the recognition? Was it the loving feelings you received as a result? Was it the appreciation someone expressed in return?
Once you relive those moments in your mind and understand what makes you feel good about them (money, self-realization, recognition, overcoming a challenge) – then you will be ready for the following step, below.
Step 2 – Align the heart and mind
A common mistake we do is that we tend to look at others who people find “successful” and try to imitate them. Making their dreams and passions our own. This only ends up making us feel like we’re trapped in a mouse wheel. A good example is that stereotype of the big house with a big yard for the kids to play. Listen to yourself! Is that your dream or the one that was given to you? What are the things that fulfill you? Maybe a nice Condo would be enough. Maybe that would allow you to spend more time and money in the things that really bring you joy; not on house and yard maintenance for the kids that may never have. Maybe you only want one child; and maybe you’ll find that it is better to schedule play-dates at the park than in your own yard. The key here is the word “fulfillment”. Listen to yourself very carefully. Be mindful. Now identify those things that fulfill you. Then match that with the feeling you get after each achievement. Remember, human beings are made up of biology + experiences. So, you will probably find a combination of factors and not one single thing. And on top of that it can change according to age. So use mindfulness to listen to yourself. To illustrate, I propose a simple example:
I am most fulfilled when I get the sense of being helpful, having knowledge, trying crazy things, and making people smile. From this, you would gather that I am social, I need friends, I need to try different things, and I need to constantly expand my knowledge. Therefore, it’s only logical that I pursue at least one physical activity (gym, swimming , tennis) and one activity that expands my knowledge (reading a book or acquiring a certification in my area of expertise). I would also need time to cultivate friendship through social gatherings. Additionally, I would need the experience factor that would make me challenge myself. That is why I take on bets with my friends on physical or mental challenges, which could also be fun to compete as a group. Maybe a tennis match or a treasure hunt. Finally, I would volunteer to coach one of my colleagues for obtaining a project management certificate.
Step 3 – Get to the motivation
This is the fun part. As I said at the beginning motivators work differently for each person. Also, different motivators have different characteristics in terms of duration, intensity, and frequency. As a family man, I can tell you that my kids are my biggest motivators. But we need to be specific here. What about my kids motivates me? Giving them a happy childhood? Providing them with guidance through discipline, so they can succeed in achieving their own dreams? The reasons vary. The key here is mindfulness. For you to understand my proposition, what I mean is that every day, at the beginning of the each day, I think of 3 to 4 things that really fulfill me. So, whatever I have to do that day should bring me closer to those goals. Then I repeat that in mind. I write it down. I think it whenever I eat or have a break. That way, I don’t get trapped in activities that would distract me for too long.
Hint: I learned, in my thirties, to not engage in commitments that were not worthy of your day. So, please do not go to church if you are not the religious type. Do you see the point?
Now my list of motivators:
Family: Happy childhood for my kids. Provide discipline and encouragement so they can successfully pursue their own dreams. Spend leisure time with my family. Make love (a lot).
Self-Image: Have reasonably good eating habits. Workout 3 -5 days a week for at least 45 minutes. Dress well. Try new cuisines.
Fun: betting on really silly stuff with my friends. Having at least 2 hours of leisure gathered with them.
Knowledge: Reading a new book. Learning a new word in a foreign language, or a new language altogether. Applying a creative concept in my job. Practice meditation to get to know myself.
Random: Being grateful for who I am, for how I look, for the potential I have, and yes, even for my problems. Overcome a criticism.
Those are mine. Would love to know what are some of your motivators. Send us a message or comment below!