Archive for the ‘Motivation’ Category

Stick This?

Friday, January 18th, 2008

In the world of motivation and productivity, I suppose nothing should surprise me. Money has been spent, lost, or wasted by people trying to find a magic bullet for their lives, and money has been made by those claiming to have the bullet for sale.

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But now there’s a new twist: Stickk. Developed by some Yale folks (smart people), Stickk encourages you to “put a contract out on yourself”. In a nutshell, you make a bet with yourself and you select a referee. If you achieve your goal (monitored by said referee in weekly steps), then you’re not losing money. If you fail, the money goes to a friend, relative, homeless person, or other worthwhile charity that you select. The money can even go to an “anti-charity”; if you hate guns, for example, your hard-earned cash can go to the NRA if you fail to reach your goal.

Interesting, huh? I’d certainly say so.

But if you need this kind of motivation to reach your goals, you’re probably not doing a good job of figuring out what’s important to you and what matters. The Stickk approach can be fun, I’m sure. But it should not be a necessity.

Motivation

Monday, January 7th, 2008

Lacking some?  Feeling like you need a boost?  Checking out “motivational” blogs looking for ideas?

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Stop!

C’mon!  Knock it off!

Please — don’t get me wrong.  There’s nothing wrong with looking for new ideas or inspiration.  There’s nothing wrong with reading books and blogs that offer both (and more).  For example, I’d like you to stop in here every day and hopefully learn something.  Maybe you’ll leave a comment, and I’ll learn something too.  That’s the purpose of this exercise!

But motivation?  No one can give you motivation.   No one can provide it for you — except you.

So how do we go about “providing” it?  How do we get the juices flowing and “get motivated”?

There are a lot of answers to those questions,  but it really all comes down to this: it’s got to matter.  Whatever it is you’re trying to get motivated for or motivated to do has to mean something to you.  If it doesn’t, then you’ll never get motivated.

If you’re faced with “I gotta do this”, and you don’t particularly  care for or about the thing “you gotta do”, then getting it done becomes an exercise in self discipline.  Self discipline is work.  We all have to exercise a little self discipline sometimes, but self discipline should never be confused with motivation.

If it feels like work, then it most likely doesn’t matter to you.  Things that matter feel effortless.  Things that matter get you excited.  You can (and will) do things that matter until you drop — and then you’ll try doing them some more.

When it matters, you love it!  You really, really can’t wait to do it.  You think about it all the time!

Okay, so this is all well and good, and we can talk about things that matter to us all day long, but what does any of this have to do with making a living?  Doing well in school?  Losing weight?  Running a marathon?  Having a healthy, romantic relationship?

Let’s start with the job: are you making a living doing something that matters to you?  Or are you simply making a living?  The first post on this blog touched on two approaches to one goal — making a living.  Penelope Trunk seemed to think that “doing what you love” was naive.   Maybe…but even Penelope enjoys doing what she does for a living.   She claims to maybe not love it, but she enjoys it.   Perhaps it’s all semantics…

How about doing well in school?  Sometimes students are faced with class requirements that they’d rather not take.  So?  Think about the big picture — what is it you really want to do?  Aren’t these classes on the path to your ultimate destination?

Do you really want to lose weight?  Is it really important to you?  Who cares what others think?  If you look in the mirror and you’re okay with the person looking back, maybe losing weight isn’t all that important to you.

What’s that?  You’re doctor told you to lose weight?  Doctors tell us lots of things — some of those doctors are even overweight.  Unless you’re bordering on obese  (or you are obese), do the extra pounds bother you?  If you are living at an unhealthy weight, the “number” (your weight) isn’t the issue.  You need to fall in love with the idea of a long life (something you may need help in exploring).

Why run that marathon?  I can tell you from experience that you’d better be running for you and nothing else.  Preparing for a marathon should be 95 parts fun and 5 parts self discipline.  (Yes, there is some “work” involved in this one…)

The healthy, romantic relationship?  I’m no expert on this one — is anyone?  To avoid thousands of words and more than a little controversy, let’s just say that you do not have to stay in a relationship you’re unhappy in.

We’ll explore this more in future posts.  But here’s what I’d like you to take from this blurb: motivation is easy to come by if you’re doing something you truly love.  That’s the easy part.

The hard part is being honest with yourself about what it is that you really do love.