Motivation – the Language of Choice

In my previous post I discussed two types of motivation ‘towards’ and ‘away’ and touched upon the middle stream a bit.

Towards dreams and desires (1) and away from fear (2), both involve the system of beliefs of what’s possible for me in this particular place and time. All of these beliefs are subject to definition which is why the coaching has great effect on performance. There is the third type of basic motivation which is social or environmental one (3). I simply get motivated by the people around me. Instead of running ‘proudly’ alone I invite a friend and two of us a better at it, I show up for them rather than staying in if I don’t feel like running this morning. The social circle that I mingle with is ought to rub off (the fairy dust) on me it’s up to me to choose it.

The middle stream mentioned above is that I stop chasing after dreams and run away from fears and find my ground from which to act. I find who I want to be and what’s important for me and work on principlehere and now rather than a dream of future or fear past/future and this is a different kind of belief system. Until I’m really strong at it the basic motivation is at play.

So today I want to explore that point when a person says I don’t have motivation, I have so much work to do and I cannot get myself round it.

What I hear here, first of all, is It’s not my desire to work (often at this particular job). It’s someone else’s will and basically I’m subject of coercion. In other words I have to work, but really I don’t want to. Autonomy – ultimately pleasure and satisfaction – is of a great value to our mind. In such scenario If I ask myself five ‘whys’ or ‘what happens if’ I quickly come to the base line that it’s in my personal interest to work and do stuff, because in the end I might be on the street and cannot satisfy my basic needs. If I don’t do it today, and repeatedly don’t do what ‘I have to’ eventually I get fired. Which I do not want. In other words I want to stay employed where I am and continue receive the benefits I have however unsatisfying (but it’s another conversation about motivation for change). The cost of inaction is too high, but that’s another form of fear or away motivation. At the point coaches find a leverage on people to be a greater self for the sake of kids, for loved ones, for anything is dear and close to heart. Here we ask the main question of life who is the person I’m want to be loved by. The figure shows up whose approval we seeking in life and that is a question of self-exploration that reveals your core motivation. Because we would rather be loved than do what we love. It’s a deeper question of our psychology everyone seeks/finds a resolution of at some point of their life, (you are welcome to explore it with a coach like me or other professional).

But here I wanted to go to a more imminent strategy.  The trick is to bring the ‘I want to’ to an earlier stage in the process before it is ‘fight or flight’ gun point.  Let’s explore the language I talk to myself with, whenever I say ‘I have to’ my mind is in the state of resistance and would do anything to avoid the action because it means pain. Our mind is a pain-and-pleasure slave and the main way it distinguishes one from another is the language we use when we talk to ourselves. Negative and/or passive forms of language mean pain, no autonomy, so no energy and resources for ‘I do not’, ‘I have to’, ‘I need to’, ‘I don’t want to’, ‘I hate to’, ‘I cannot’, ‘I must’, ‘I am due’, ‘I am required’, ”I have a problem’. Even without going deep in the chemistry of the brain switching the negatives into positives will immediately open up the energy channels and give us resources to complete any task at hand. The Bible said, In the beginning there was a word…

The solution is to employ the language of choice. Is is a conscientious effort we want to learn in order to progress in life. No one is there to give it to us or as they say, no one will show up in my life in the morning to motivate me, cheer me up and so on, but me. If I don’t show up… The simple first step is to start using the words of choice, ‘I want to’, ‘I like to’, ‘I enjoy’, ‘I choose’, ‘I do’. ‘I can’. If it’s not obvious in any one situation why I want to do something I can simply track down the chain of choice again, ask my self five ‘whys?’ or ‘what ifs?’ in order to find that point at which ‘I don’t want to’ switches to ‘I want to’. But when I cannot find that point, it may be means I want to change something, whether it’s the situation or myself. And that will be a new beginning a new channel for my energy as opposed to a block and lack of energy. Also great to remember that for my mind ‘I don’t want to be late’ and ‘I want to be late’ is the same, so I’m late. The mind functions properly when I say ‘I want to be on time’. Feel the difference? ‘I don’t want to be like my father’ has no difference to our mind from ‘I want to be like him’, it’s far more productive to find the one I want to be like, e.g. my grandparent. Basically any denial means the situation doesn’t exist, and if it does not exist my mind cannot deal with it. Acceptance is the only way.

To make it easier for our fearsome minds, it’s better to begin with the positive questions right away instead for looking for the point of switch. Ask, Why I want to do something? What good comes out of it? What I learn from something? Who I become through doing things? What and who can benefit from it? Any number of questions that lead in positive direction will set you mind right.

The challenge, of course, is that our mind has a negative bias often triggered by events, people, circumstances that make asking positive questions almost impossible. Once we train ourselves and  became aware of the trigger points that bring the bias on we can deal with it. The trigger points can be identified through simple careful observation, what switches us from good-nature relaxed state in to the tense stressed and fearful one. If all is not too bad, it’s possible to change my own state by many simple habits of exercise, priming, affirmations, day regime.

Nevertheless, it could be very difficult to even begin asking positive questions, start exercising and so on. Until we have strong conscious self the mind will always pull in the abyss. That’s why initially it’s helpful if someone else like a coach, friend, external event, new employment pulled us out of our own negativity. Remember last time when someone asked you to do something for them and you wasn’t sure but did it – you overcome your bias because you had the pressure from outside. Given a chance everyone can rise to the occasion. The greatness is to rise before the occasion shows up. These are the writers who write even though no one wants to publish them or despite being banned from, these are the athletes who train in middle of nowhere without any chance of getting in the competition, these are the leaders and entrepreneurs that do things before the funding shows up, that these are the scientist who follow the interest and not money and recognition, these are parents who bring children in this world, these are people who have will to live fully everyday even though death is inevitable or m.b. precisely because of it.

How to Get Motivated – 7 steps for dreams to come true

They say ‘where is the will there is the way’!

How to find the will? The vexed question of life comes up time and again in my coaching conversations. My first answer, to men: if you cannot get motivated, your life is too comfortable. For women it’s little more complicated. And better discussed in another post later. Wait, where are you all going?

In this quest for motivation the first stop is, of course, the will or desire which is the engine of everything on this planet called Earth.

When I am after something I go through the same stages of forming and realizing desire as everyone else. Some people are more aware of it and some are more skilled at it, but the process is the same nevertheless.

There are seven stages trough which a desire comes true and watch for the number five!

First. My desire would be based on my understating of the core values – love, knowledge and eternity – they are universal for all, but I experience them depending on my own vision of the world and level of personal development. Let’s say, for one love means service, for another it’s mutual satisfaction for the third it’s personal gratification. And so on. First thing is to write down as many desires as possible and then gradually eliminate those that are not yours. Believe me there will be only few in the end! I figure, I won’t get any motivation if the desire is not truly mine.

Second. Then there is emotional connection to these values. Happiness, loyalty, enthusiasm, acceptance, love, and so on. Nobody consciously strives for bad emotions and feelings, so I won’t name them here. The formula is easy – I be happy, when I have something I want.

Third. After the emotional level there are intellectual and logical constructions. I process my emotions into logical conclusions of good and bad and categories of acceptable or not. For me it was a known path for many – I go to such and such university/profession – I get this degree/medal/money – I do something, I have something, I be someone then I be happy!

The fourth step is visual forms and imaging of the desired outcomes. (How many times we are caught by the commercials especially TV ones? A happy emotion is attached to a picture and voila I want that car/house/holiday!) But outside the consumer life if such ‘outside’ still exists, great leaders are famous for having a vision of future and conveying to others with the certainty described in the step below.

Fifth. After the vision is formed I move towards intention – which is defined as a certainty or belief of real possibility of the envisioned result. This is the most notorious part lacking when I discover ‘I have no motivation’ – which means simply I don’t believe something is possible for me and therefore I’ll stay where I am: on my sofa/old job with a cup of tea/bottle of bear, etc.  This is where working with a coach comes at the strongest. If I don’t have someone who constantly believes in me (like my mother when I was a child), I need to learn to do it myself – this is what a coach helps me do – learn to believe, find the reason I didn’t. It’s impossible to engage in action the next step, if I do not believe it will be beneficial to do. I can do anything when I see the result is almost here. When I run that 5k and the sign says ‘almost there’ suddenly I sprint, when the cross channel swimmer sees the first sign of the land all of a sudden she has more energy. Marathons is not my cup of tea, as you noticed. The other great motivator is of course – imminent death, also known as fear, a deadline, famine and so on. Most of the time fear is just another form of belief.

Action is the sixth step in realizing desire, no action, no results.  Starting small is the answer. Running is such an overused example but it’s because it is effective one, if I run five minutes for five days, on the sixth I am guaranteed to progress to ten and then build it more. The right action is also a big deal, I cannot dig and expect to swim, I cannot keep the shop when nothing is selling for 20 years, just because I’ve invested so much in it.

Seventh. Results. They seem to be dependent only on the actions I took or are they? Finally, the history of previous success helps to motivate me for more and persuade others to believe I can. The feeling of certainty!

So, when I lack motivation it means any one or more of these steps is missed:

  • No will/desire or the desire is not truly mine
  • I didn’t connect to it emotionally
  • I did not form a logical construction
  • I have not envisioned the outcome
  • I do not believe it’s possible, (one of the most overlooked but most important!)
  • I didn’t act or didn’t take the right kind of action! I have no record of previous results to motivate me for the future ones.

The pinnacle of the motivation conundrum is the lack of belief or that certainty that my efforts will be rewarded the way I want. Simply speaking, if I expect – believe – something is possible I do everything in my power to achieve it. If my expectation is low I do not have any energy to implement it, my activity level matches the energy one, of course, and the results follow the pattern.

There are two ways to get to the action for me nowadays. First is desire (the above seven stages of it) I find the task is possible and the result is near, and I do it. This is a great way to realize most short-term goals, as the results are foreseeable, and the prize is an identifiable shiny trinket as medals in sports and diplomas in education, material purchases and so on. As life gets further, most things become a long howl with blurred or not so clear signs of progress.

I pursued ‘I’ll be happy when’ formula relentlessly, especially in my twenties when my physical power matched any crazy idea of mine by supplying endless amount of adrenaline to charge into any action. But when it runs out I want to find an alternative way – ‘I’m happy whether or not’. I am to start with the feeling and not wait for it as a reward.

It is trickier at first but more liberating. If I find the way to disconnect my performance from the result I am free. E.g. I do it not because I believe in the great outcome but for the fun of doing it. Or if I do it because it’s the right thing to do whether the result shows up or not. I feel different kind of power in me steady and happy in the now regardless of tomorrow. And this is a whole new territory to learn in life.