If you owned an expensive racehorse (by the way, if you do congratulations!) you would make every effort to determine under what conditions your horse performed at its best. When it won a race, you would try to monitor what it ate and when, the pre-race preparation, the environment, the trainer. You would want to know exactly what your horse did right before the race. Then you would try to replicate those conditions to the very best of your ability, in order to increase the chance of your horse succeeding.
Well, the good news is you are your own horse! You need to determine what gets you motivated and stimulated. If for some reason you are down or tired and had a rough day, the methods that you have identified will get your horse up and running again.
One day my teenage daughter and I were driving down the road and she said “Guess my favorite movie?” After nineteen guesses, which were all completely wrong, I finally gave up. I said, “I don’t know I give up” and was ready to hear some obscure movie answer. My daughter then told me her favorite movie was Rocky starring Sylvester Stallone. This would be the last answer I would expect from a very pretty and feminine girl. The movie is a tough gritty story of a loser who rises from obscurity to box his way to the top. It is a movie that is dark, bloody and violent. So I asked her why she liked that movie. Her answer? “It gets me pumped!” The movie, for my daughter isn’t about boxing, it’s about inspiration!
Identifying Your Rocket Fuel
I have found like anyone, that there are certain books, magazines, music and people that really motivate me. I have also found certain books, people, music and magazines to be very draining and de- motivating, They “ rain on my parade” if you will.
What are some of the motivational tools and influences that can keep you going?
Books- Have you ever read the story of someone who despite all the obstacles that they faced, were able to succeed beyond their wildest dreams? Weren’t you amazed and inspired? There are many books that I have read over the years that have inspired me. A biography, self help, historical, psychology books and even at times fiction has inspired me. You need to identify a list of books that have inspired other people and then find the ones that do the same for you. Then you will have them available, when they are needed.
What is great about some books is the fact that they are timeless. The classic books, because they are based on simple truths really don’t lose their relevance. I recently read Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankel. The book was written just after world war two, but the principles are timeless and just as relevant today.
Once you locate books, which are the ones that motivate you buy them. I know it is less expensive to get books at the library, but owning the books is a better solution, because they are there for reference when you need them. Invest in yourself!
Movies/Videos/DVD’s– Have you ever thought about movies that inspire you? I have several that really get me pumped. The Elephant Man starring John Hurt is a remarkable film about the triumph of the human spirit. I also love Dead Poets Society, Tucker: A Man and his Dreams, Rocky and several others. Identify the movies you like and add them to your library.
Magazines and Trade Journals– There are several magazines and journals on the market that are about motivation or success, or that you would find motivational. If your dream is to someday own a yacht, then a yachting magazine might be motivational for you to read. A good magazine should, in my opinion be entertaining, motivating and a potential resource for ideas. I can pick up a magazine and read one article, which can be well worth the price of the magazine. I once picked up Fast Company and read an article by Tom Peters that keep my wheels spinning for days! I was so impressed; I subscribed to the magazine and read it every month.
People– I really believe that the quality of your life is greatly affected by the kind of people that you associate with on a daily basis. You can and must pick your associations. Try to surround yourself with positive, motivated and upbeat people. Limit your contact with people who are continually negative, pessimistic or mean. You may say at this point “well, I can’t pick my friends and associations.” That is what you have decided to believe, but it is not the truth. The truth of the matter, is that you decide every day who to make friends with and to keep that friend who has driven you crazy for years!
What about your family? You can’t pick your family; they are the cards that you have been dealt in life. Most families have some jokers! However if you have members of the family, that are negative and continuously difficult, limit your contact to the proverbial thanksgiving dinner and pass the gravy.
I want you to think of negative people as “energy vampires” they just sneak up from behind and suck the positive energy and motivation right out before you even realize it! My best friend is a gentleman named Dave. Unfortunately we live in different states. When I call Dave, he is always positive, upbeat and supportive. At the end of a call with Dave, I always feel better than before the call started. Friends should be the people who support and motivate you. Will there be times when you feel less motivated? Times that you are down? Sure! The key in those times is to have a friend that you can call, to help bring you back up and give you a positive perspective when you are in a “funk”. Not the friend who will say will say, “Well let me tell you what happened to me,” and tell a sad tale of woe. If you surround yourself with positive upbeat people, you cannot fail!
Exercise -No, this is not a misprint! I said exercise. Exercise is a superb tool to get you motivated and keep you motivated. If you want to be pumped, get in a great workout! In my mind there are two keys to exercise being a motivational activity: 1)Knowing that you have a long-term goal. (see chapter 1) 2) You need to find an exercise program that you enjoy and find rewarding. If it isn’t enjoyable and rewarding it won’t last long!
Here is another compelling reason to exercise. Aside from the fact that you will live a longer and healthier life, in surveys that have been done, only 16% of the people asked said they work out on a regular basis. That means that if you exercise, you will immediately separate yourself from 74% of people that you may be competing against. That is a competitive edge! Exercise, as you have probably heard many times releases many chemicals such as endorphins, which are “natural highs”. I find that exercise gives me more energy and more confidence. Try it you will like it. If you don’t like it, try some other form of exercise until you find one that you really like.
Music– Imagine the great movies of our age without music. Can you imagine Jaws without music? Gone with the Wind? Star Wars? This proves that music can have a powerful impact on people, and it can have a powerful effect on you! Whenever you are feeling “down” or feeling less than motivated, use music as a tool to help you get back up. Find out what kind of music gets you going. It may be music from a soundtrack, from a movie, or a play. It may be a specific kind of music like rock, country or rap. Here is the key guideline; it has to work for you.
Role Models – It is a useful technique to identify people from the past and present that you admire, that you can use for role models. Reading and studying about other people, who have been highly successful, can help you become more motivated. I am a big fan of Walt Disney, and whenever I read about him and all that he achieved; I just get completely fired up. When I read about all of the adversity he overcame and succeeded in overcoming, in spite of everyone’s predictions, it makes me want to work even harder at achieving my goals.
Theatrical Shows– I think one of the reasons why Broadway shows are so popular, is that great musicals have always been inspiring. Maybe it is because I am of Irish descent, but whenever I see the show Riverdance my heart soars! Find what kind of shows get you going, whether it is musicals dramas or operas.
The Power of Other Environments
Find out what other kinds of environment get you going and get your wheels spinning. To get motivated, maybe a visit to your local museum, a visit to a certain store or a trip to your favorite coffee shop. Perhaps a nice walk in your favorite park, or a visit to the local luxury car dealer, to look at the car you are going to own!
The bottom line is to really understand yourself well enough, to know what the keys are to your motivational lock. It is important to know the activities that get you motivated, keep you motivated and to be in an “up” mood instead of a “low” mood. Don’t get me wrong everybody gets down on occasion and that is OK. What isn’t OK. is to stay there! I don’t think someone in a foul mood has ever accomplished anything productive. One proven method to get out of a down mood or frame of mind is to do something, call a friend, go for a walk, but do something!
If you work at identifying the activities that really help bring you up, then like a doctor, you write your own prescription to solve the problem.
One thing I can guarantee, it is almost impossible to stay down when you are doing one of your “mood lifter” activities. There are so many people who seem helpless, trapped in dull boring lives, that are “in a rut”. I think it is tragic, for if they only understood they are the ones who control the quality of the life they live. Don’t live “a life of quiet desperation!” Decide that you are going to lead an exciting productive life of motivation!
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