What motivates you? Today I’m thinking about motivation as I deal with unmotivated clients and have personally struggled to find my stride again after dealing with some life and health situations. I think the biggest challenge is that we say to ourselves that we’ll deal with “x” when we’re through this challenge. But as soon as we get through a challenge we’re hit with something else and that thing, “x”, that seemed so important still seems really important, but is just getting further buried under the challenges of life, things that seem more pressing than “x”.
So what if we backed up a whole lot and thought about why we get up in the morning. And no, I’m not really talking about the fact that you get up because the sun is up or the alarm goes off or the kids run in and bounce on the bed or because you have to go to a job or because the kids are up and may be heading to school. Some of those things can be indicators for why you get up, but in most cases if we really were honest, they’re not the reason we get out of bed. The unfortunate thing is that many of us don’t get out of bed because we’re excited and thankful for a new day. We get up because we have to, or at least that’s the attitude we have about it.
Sure, you could stay in bed, and maybe your boss or kids would be willing to work with you on that. Maybe the kids are willing to climb in bed with you with cups with lids and watch a TV show or two for an hour so you can mentally wrap your head around the day ahead or just rest with them and maybe even catch up on your emails or read a book. Maybe your boss would love someone to come in an hour later and leave an hour later because it will help deal with the client issues that always seem to crop up at the end of the day better. You don’t know until you ask.
But now we’ve completely gotten sidetracked. The question, if you remember, is why do you get out of bed in the morning? What really and truly motivates you to live your life each day? Is there anything that you’re really feeling motivated by, or have you let life get the best of you and you’ve stopped looking forward to what the day will bring. I believe each and every day can hold some really amazing things, but we don’t always have the open eyes or heart to receive them.
As part of what we do for the last week of the month I do want to take a look at being motivated, but I really want to work on tapping back into our hearts and listening to them again, believing in them and ourselves and opening up to the best this world has to offer, rather than just floating along.
“The heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of.” Blaise Pascal
What’s important to you? Is it that you meet your responsibilities, hang out and have fun, see the world, have lots of friends, your job or business, your pet(s), your kids, your health? There’s no wrong answer really, unless it’s your passion for overeating or other really bad habits. Everyone should find things in their own lives that matter to them and they would feel less fulfilled if they were without.
What matters to you doesn’t have to matter as much to me. We don’t have to have the same interests or ways that we spend our time. That’s one of the reasons why the world is great, the diversity of the people of the world makes it great. But just because you like different things than I do, it doesn’t mean that some of the same things shouldn’t be important to both of us like family, contributing to the world and supporting ourselves.
As we get into this new year I encourage you to take time to think about what’s really important to you and if the way you’re spending your days really backs that up. Are you really spending your time and money on the things that matter to you? Are you making choices that support the things and people that matter to you? Are you really aware of what goes on in your life or are you just trying to make it through the day? If you’re ready to do more than just live day to day, I encourage you to start lining up your habits and life with the things that really matter to you.
I’ve been doing a lot of driving lately and it’s one of the things that reminds me the most of what a rush so many people are in around the world. We rush while driving, eating, buying, working, relating and planning, not to mention the ways we depend on the internet and travel related technologies to connect us all. I can’t imagine what people from Titanic’s day when SOS was new “technology” would have thought about our big inter-connected world, and the speed at which we do things normally now.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the internet very much, and the ability to travel by car or plane rather than foot or horse, and to not have to grow all my own food. But the need to go 100 mph, turn at the last second on yellow/red, walk anywhere (not just crosswalks), have instant replies to our emails and calls, and expect gourmet food in 10 minutes or less is getting to be a bit much for me. It almost makes me reconsider living in such a busy area.
The irony of this discussion is that the places that remind me most of how busy the world is and what a rush so many of us are in, are places like highways that are on the side of a mountain so miles can be seen beyond, jobs where people just want to finish the day and not change the world, or restaurants where people are so busy trying to stuff their faces with their partners or families, rather than taking time to build their relationships with the people they’re with.
The increasing presence of violence in the news has been a reminder to me, and many others, of how uncertain life really is. You don’t know if you’ll get to see another sunset, hold another worm, have another lazy Sunday afternoon, watch another hummingbird fly from flower to flower, meet someone from a career you’ve always been curious about, try that exotic cuisine, be in a relationship that thrills you or watch your kids do their sports (or other activities) again. Stop saying you’ll do it “tomorrow” and step up today.
Today is our last post on this month’s topic, lessons. Like so many other things in life the power of a lesson comes down to what you do with it. The choices we make determine not only what our personal futures will look like but also what the futures of all generations yet to come look like. I believe the lessons we learn should be applied so that we can make the world a better place for them and ourselves.
Yes, we can use the lessons as a reason to lash out on those that have hurt us, because it’s inevitable that we will be hurt by at least one person during our lives, after all, the concept of justice must exist for a reason. But constructively applying our lessons to our lives means that rather than destroying the world for future generations we may be seen as heroes to them. This is a lesson we have to work through during our lives, and will continue to be challenged by as long as we’re not learning it. We will be constantly challenged by things and people throughout our lives, it’s up to us to decide what to do with these lessons.
Why choose a constructive application of the lessons in your life? So you can be free. It’s that simple. When you choose to be empowered by your lessons rather than let them hold you back you open yourself up to a whole new world of possibilities that isn’t available to you unless you choose to release yourself from them. When you see things as opportunities rather than obstacles you take the actions that will bring you to new levels rather than keep you stuck where you are.
If we really want to see the world change we’ve got to do something different. If we really want to be like the heroes we watch on TV and in the movies we have to be courageous enough to learn from the lessons that life teaches us. If we want to be free and not wake up every day feeling trapped by the lives and ruts we’ve gotten stuck in we have to do something differently than we’ve been doing.
If you’re feeling stuck it’s time to reach out and ask for help. Don’t continue down that unending drain to nothingness, start fighting your way back to the surface. Decide that each and every day you will do something to make a difference for someone, and something that will make a difference in your life. Are you ready to be free?
“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” Christopher Reeve
Let’s face it: sometimes we just give in or give up rather than trying. It’s a lot of effort to get to the gym every morning, so you skip a couple each week. It’s a lot more work to eat healthy so you just grab whatever is quick and easy. It’s a lot harder to find a new job and acclimate so you stick it out at the job you don’t like and don’t make great money at. So we argue with ourselves over the pros and cons and experience more stress and frustration than we should, especially given that we know a solution to our problems and stressors.
So as I contemplated the back-to-school ads I’m already seeing everywhere and the rapidly escaping summer, it gets me thinking about what we enjoy in life and whether or not we’re living our lives to the fullest. Around the world countless individuals are just scraping by when they could be living a happy and thriving life, one that isn’t a constant barrage of issues, concerns and evidences of our failings or shortcomings. And the biggest reason they’re not happy and thriving is because they’re not taking action on what they know the issue to be or the solutions that have presented themselves.
So the question really becomes are we all happy being miserable and living lives that are pale shades of what they could be? Why else would we continue to live in misery and stress? While I haven’t come up with a good answer to this, the most popular one is one we’ve already discussed today: the amount of effort we feel it takes to get from where we are to where we want to be. I believe we’re all a lot more capable than we give ourselves credit for. Are you ready to stop suffering and start enjoying life?
“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” Nelson Mandela
We’re finishing out this month in the next week, can you believe we’re already at the end of April? This month the topic we’ve been discussing may have been less obvious: we’ve talked about living life and choosing and accepting the freedom to really live. Many of us don’t choose to live, we choose to just try to get by. Others of us are too busy living to appreciate life. But those who are living are at least choosing to live rather than choosing to let life pass them by.
This year I’m really working on making the most of each day. I shared on my business and family blog today about a recent experience with regards to one of my biggest priorities in life, my relationship with my partner. Unlike many couples we’re actually happy together, and we choose to approach each situation and opportunity with love, support and an open mind rather than judgment and suspicion. The decision to work through things together and love each other more each day was something we decided at the beginning of our relationship and has made all the difference years later.
I don’t deny that life can be challenging and have lots of twists and turns. But I believe that our acceptance of life and all that it means is the deciding factor in whether we just get through life or if we actually thrive. I don’t know about you but I would rather thrive in life. Yes, thriving does mean more responsibilities, obligations and risks, but when presented with the choice to live life or be miserable, I know what I would choose.
I believe that each of us has the power to have an amazing life. it’s just up to each of us to choose how we will face each and every day. What will today be for you?
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” Maya Angelou
What you believe about yourself is one of the greatest indications of how successful you can be. If you believe you can be successful you’ll have the motivation, the focus, the drive and the willingness to do what it will take to accomplish your goals. If you don’t believe you have the abilities, the confidence, the means or are worth being successful you won’t get there. Success means different things to each of us, some of us will find success in a monetary value, others in a family one, and others in making a difference in the world, so the definition of success isn’t what we’ll talk about today, but that I believe you have the ability to be successful, we all do.
Every day I see things in the news that are an unbelievable waste of time, from random crimes and large scale unprovoked violence, to physical abuse and cyber bullying. They’re a waste of time because if life is all about the result that you achieve, the success you achieve, the success you achieve from any of these actions isn’t going to get you more than a passing rush and won’t make the world a better place for future generations. I believe that everyone has something of value they can contribute to the daily workings of the world or to the future world. It’s their choice, it’s your choice, what kind of future is created.
I believe in you. I believe that you have abilities that are needed in the world, whether that’s in raising the next president, discovering a medical breakthrough, creating a business that gives people jobs, or just making someone else smile. We won’t all believe the same thing or agree on everything, that’s the beauty of each of us being different. The one thing we should all agree on is that we each have value and the potential to make an amazing difference in the world. It’s unfortunate that there are so many people around the world who refuse to see or tap into that belief. Take time this weekend to check your beliefs. Are your beliefs holding back your success?
“We are what we believe we are.” CS Lewis