Are You Flying to the Stars or Staring Into Space?

By: Martin Avis

Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries
to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn
very briefly.
>>> Stephen R. Covey, motivational writer.

There are two kinds of motivation: motivating others,
and motivating yourself. They are very different
beasts, but tame them and you will succeed.

In truth, there is only self-motivation. Motivating
others is simply the creation of an environment in
which they can become self-motivated.

Shouting at an employee; using a stick to beat work out
of your workers; threatening them with loss of
privilege, benefits or job are tactics all too often
used in the corporate world. They may well provide
short-term motivation, but they are negative.
Resentment will grow, attitudes will decline, the
threats will get louder, and the spiral will continue
downward. Institutionalized negativity can never
produce long-term positive results.

Institutionalized positivity, however, is like the
'light' taught about in the Kabbalah. It is a glorious
force that is all-pervading. It has a power far greater
than its ten little letters can begin to signify.

When the boss stops saying 'If you don't finish all
that pile by 5pm, your job is on the line', and starts
saying 'Thank you for putting in the extra effort on
that job - it was vital to the company and your
contribution has been fantastic', his staff will be
able to begin the climb towards the light of self-
motivation.

Of course that is a simplistic message. Everyone has
different buttons that need to be pressed. Some may
want recognition, some praise, some self-determination,
some material reward, some fun. An enlightened (there's
that light again) manager spends time finding out what
those buttons are.

'People become motivated when you guide them to the
source of their own power and when you make heroes out
of employees who personify what you want to see in the
organization.' So said Anita Roddick, founder of The
Body Shop.

But this article is really about self motivation. Your
motivation and mine.

So I ask again, are you flying to the stars, or staring
into space?

You can easily do either. Sometimes even washing the
dishes seems more important and interesting than
earning a buck. I've done it myself: spent all day
fussing around, tidying my desk, staring out of the
window, reading a magazine, making coffee, checking out
a website, cutting my nails.

By bedtime I've achieved
absolutely nothing of value at all.

What is the psychological barrier to getting on with
what is important?

Maybe it isn't interesting enough.
Perhaps it isn't profitable enough.
Could it be that it isn't fun enough?

The truth is, that at that precise moment, it just
isn't important enough.

People in offices are well aware of the last minute
syndrome. No matter how many weeks you have to prepare
for a major presentation or meeting, you will always be
rushing to get it done at the last minute.

We tell ourselves that we work better under pressure.
That we need the adrenaline kick to produce our best
work. That we are so busy we wouldn't have been able to
do it any earlier anyway.

All nonsense, of course.

We simply persuade our brains that the job isn't really
important until it is urgent.

How, then, do we make each job important enough to
motivate ourselves to get on with it?

Because we are blessed with brains that are contrary,
we have to resort to tricks. Here is how you can sneak
up on yourself.

* Write things down.

There is something almost magical about writing things
down. It becomes a contract with yourself that your
tricky brain is quite hesitant to break. That is why
'to-do' lists are so effective. They concentrate your
thinking on what is important.

So if you have been thinking vaguely about setting up
your own Internet business, for example, but haven't
quite managed to summon up enough motivation to
actually get started, write a business plan. Make it
really detailed, with a timeplan. Break each stage of
the business startup into steps. Write down the exact
date each step has to be done by. Sign and date it.

If you go to that effort, you are 80% of the way there.
And you will have done more than 90% of everyone else
who is vaguely dreaming about their own business.

* Appoint a conscience.

Ideas are easy to break, commitments are harder. When
you have written down your plans, share them with
someone whose approval you value.

If you have a close friend, family member or colleague
that will act as your conscience, you are far more
likely to succeed than if you try to struggle on alone.

Your conscience doesn't have to do anything except
check out how you are doing once in a while. Let them
share your dream and taste your excitement and when you
have a bad day (and you will) call them up so they can
remind you.

* Reward yourself.

Often, when I am writing, a gremlin in my mind starts
to nag at me do something, usually inconsequential,
else. Sometimes, if I'm unwary, that little voice wins.
Then I find hours go by and I get nothing done. But if
I catch it in time, I make a deal with the demon.
'Okay,' I'll say to myself, 'I'll go and make that
coffee/ check out that website/ read that magazine, but
only AFTER I've finished this.'

It sounds silly, but it works. The demon only wants to
know you've been listening.

* Reinforce through affirmation

People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well,
neither does bathing -- that's why we recommend it
daily.

>>> Zig Ziglar, business coach and writer.

If I told you to sit on the side of your bed each
morning after you wake up and say, 'Today I am going to
get a serious illness', ten times over, you would think
I have gone crazy.

Why wouldn't you do it? Because you are afraid it might
come true.

So, if you believe in the power of words enough to not
tell yourself negative things, how come you don't do
the opposite? Are you afraid that good things might
come true as well?

Reaffirming positives is immensely powerful. The old
'every day in every way I am getting better and better'
may seem dated now, but the idea was sound. Instead,
try this: before going to bed, pick something that you
really want to achieve tomorrow. Write it down, in
detail. Put it beside your bed. Before going to sleep,
picture yourself having already done it. Feel how good
you feel. Experience the warm emotions. Then, when you
wake in the morning, read your notes over three times.
Remember how good you felt dreaming that you have
already completed the task.

Your motivation for the job will be sky high. And
pretty soonPsychology Articles, you'll be flying to the stars instead of
staring into space.

Motivation
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