How to Stay Motivated

By: Craig Lock

What motivates us to do the things that we do? Why do we think and
behave as we do? What influences people to do what they do? The word
"motivation" means different things to different people. One thing
for sure is that you can't buy a jar of it: it has to come from within
yourself. A person's brain needs constant motivational input just as
muscles need exercise, engines need petrol and plants need water.

I used to think that motivation was a slick American fad and that it
wasn't for me. After all, I was very motivated already!

People are the product of their thoughts and the aim of motivational
material is to improve the quality of your thoughts. Motivation is
nothing more than encouragement and we all perform better for it.
Friends of mine say that I am a good motivator, because I simply
encourage others.

"We become what we think about all day long." - Emerson

"Most people think only what everybody else is doing." - Earl
Nightingale

The road to achievement starts with a goal. Implant that goal in your
mind and think about it all day long. I am doing that with this
manuscript and my goal is to have it published and be an author. I
think I have taken the right action steps so far, so that I eventually
reach my target. Pay the price by making sacrifices. Take small
steps towards your goal every day, instead of occasional bursts of
activity.

The principal difference between the average person and the one who is
highly successful seems to be in the degree of his or her personal
motivation. Motivation is the hidden power in the successful person's
arsenal and is the key ingredient for success. Most people, I believe
are motivated or have the potential if they are aroused and interested
in the activity.

However, one thing is for sure: It is not something someone else can
give you. It must be self-generated from within; it is not external
"RA RA" hype. In other words, motivation is an inner energy, rather
than a fire lit by others.

Strong motivation also stems from a deep rooted belief in what you are
trying to do; it is strongest when it comes from your inner values.
This creates a feeling of ENTHUSIASM which is essential in order to
remain motivated. Look at the zeal of a missionary or a Jehovah's
Witness. The best salesmen are those who get very excited about and
have total faith in their products.

They sell with a firm conviction
that their product is the best available.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN SOURCES OF MOTIVATION?

What influences people to do as they do? There are many diverse
influences. It is difficult to pin-point which one is most important,
but some factors are as follows: different cultures, social
environment and biological influences (e.g..hunger, thirst) in work
and in play. Other influences are our thoughts, our perceptions.
Everyone is different and unique, so there are great individual
differences in our drives.

There are two main sources of motivation: What will happen if you do?
What will happen if you don't? For example, your doctor advises you
to give up smoking. If you do, you will feel better and live longer;
if you don't your health is going to deteriorate. Both sources (and
implications) are equally powerful.

There is a strong correlation between motivation and achievement.
Highly motivated people are nearly always achievers. Thrillseekers
like sky-divers and stuntmen often need to do life threatening
activities to keep them motivated. Danger gives them pleasure and
keeps them motivated.

Why do we work? Is it just for money or is money merely a short-term
issue? I am personally not motivated by money. I prefer interesting
and exciting work that offers a challenge and the opportunity for
personal growth. Others may feel the need for affiliation or to
contribute to society. In the following chapter there is an exercise
on this.

Understanding motivation gives us the power to accept our behaviour
when we have strange reactions. It can also enable us to change what
we think and do if we want to improve our behaviour or performance.
So when going for a job it is critical to understand your motivations.
What do you really want and expect from it?

What do others expect of you? Our behaviour is directly affected by
our needs. If you are clear about the answers you will be happiest.

THEORIES OF MOTIVATION:

There are three main theories of motivation:
1. Desire for achievement
2. Desire for power
3. Desire for affiliation or sense of belonging.

These theories are linked to the concept of extrinsic and intrinsic
rewards. Extrinsic motivation comes from outside, for example, the
prospect of fame, recognition, monetary rewards, gaining power,
respect or social approval/belonging (=sense of affiliation). With
intrinsic rewards, the task or situation is in itself motivating or
compelling. Motivation is often defined in terms of our goals. Marie
says that contributing to society by daring to be different is what
motivates me-strange! I think that I get bored easily without a
challenge. Enough about "little old me"!

There are six main steps or elements in the process of motivation. 1.
Desire: First, to be motivated you must have an intense burning desire
to get where or what you want.

2. Decision: You must make a conscious decision on what to aim for.

3. Determination: to climb mountains so that absolutely nothing will
stop you. You need to be able to repeat the habits which are
necessary to get there.

4. Discipline: It is critical to pay the price whether you like it or
not. Motivation is strongest when it is the internalisation of your
goals and dreams, in other words, when you are headed on a clear path
in your life's direction.

5. Focus

6. Direction

Certain people have the constant challenge to reach and sustain an
optimum level of motivation which overcomes problems and brings
results. If there is no challenge in what you are doing, motivation
will soon wither and die.

Always remember:
The buck starts -and stops- with you.

Self knowledge is the key to self-motivation:
- why do we behave as we do?
- what makes us tick?

Also critical for motivation is the image or snapshot you have of
yourself. This is based on your inner belief in yourself as well as
your attitude and views of your strengths and weaknesses. If you
believe in yourself and expect success, you will act confidently and
be highly motivated.

Key Points of this lesson:

* We must define success for ourselves.

* Be aware of our own strengths and weaknesses.

* Your personal solutions lie within you.

* To sustain motivation, do better than in the past.

* Motivation often comes from a challenge.

* It is necessary at times to make a positive out of a negative.

* The most important thing for an achievement-orientated person is to
have a clear goal.

What comes first? The chicken or the egg? Motivation or action? The
answer surprisingly is Action. FirstFeature Articles, we have to prime the pump and
the way is through action. People who tend to procrastinate confuse
motivation and action.

SO WHY NOT GET STARTED ON THAT NEXT ARTICLE OR EVEN BOOK? WHAT'S
STOPPING YOU?

Motivation
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