It indeed is the persistent problem of the human condition that so few of us actually follow through and do what is necessary to achieve our goals and dreams. If you have, or are, then this post is not for you. But support me, and share it with those you know who need to read this.
If there is anything more worrisome to me, it is to witness first hand how many people are looking to others to hand them success, and how unwilling they are to fully invest themselves into demonstrating their willingness to earn it on their own. Why is this?
Are we faced with too many constant obstacles and difficulties? Is this causing us to distrust ourselves and our abilities?
Why is it that we don’t persevere anyway and focus on making our best better to achieve our goals? Why is our motivation so lacking?
For one, I think we are more in love with the illusion of success than what it takes to get there.
Our world is plastered with popular images of what success is suppose to look like instead of what it actually takes to achieve.
Sure, it’s important to have a mental image of what you want to achieve in your head. I pull mine out and look hard at it when I am feeling really low, or when I need to find my motivation to ‘keep on keeping on’ with a messy difficult task that is part of that middle squiggly mess above in the image. But that’s about all your mental image is good for if you don’t commit yourself to the hard work and grind of doing what it takes to achieve your vision.
I think another problem is that we focus on the worst most challenging parts of the job in front of us; instead of realizing that each part when combined with others will make a beautiful whole. Sometimes we have to invest all of ourselves into something we don’t love, for even a significant period of time, to get what we want in the end. I can tell you I have spent days, months and years investing into my future and there have been many points I was doing work that seemed far from what I loved to do. And yes, it gets old but what other choice do you have?
It’s a pretty simple fact that if you try, you risk failure. If you don’t try you ensure it. The only choice you have is to try and build new skills; try and find new resources; and try to develop your network to accelerate the building of new opportunities. All of these require different kinds of investments; some of which- until you have team to help you on your journey- will simply not be as fun to do for you. No one likes to do everything on their own; especially when it does not come easy or there is too much to do.
And yes, you need creative thinking abilities. A lot of them these days with the speed of change our world is experiencing. Building a STEAM team around your interests is the fastest way to find your motivation and divvy up all the chores and responsibilities of the ideas you have and want to build upon and share with the world. While the acronym STEAM implies interdisciplinary- a team who comes together across different sectors- science, technology, engineering, art and math- it also implies a team with diverse thinking abilities.
You need a diverse team of friends to help you get motivated and stay motivated.
You need one friend, for sure, who self defines as a creative- a robust curious generalist. You need another who has the gift to gab and connect to others and would die if they were not doing it. Yet another who can organize and see patterns that make sense and who is driven to push you towards people, situations and things that will accelerate you towards your goals. And another who is looking to keep it all in control and measuring and weighing the facts. They are historians and come usually packaged as accounting analysis types.
This is what I call a #STEAMTEAM to accelerate your motivation and learning. Do you have one?
And psychologists have also proven that your brain will ‘abandon ship’ at the first sign of distress when things are not going well.
It’s much more than a momentary act of weakness: psychologists have observed that this is much more likely to happen as a result of you missing a previously set goal.
Specifically, in research by Janet Polivy and her colleagues, people who were actually on diets were tested with pizza and cookies.
In the study, two groups of participants (those on diets and those not dieting) were told not to eat beforehand and then served exactly the same slice of pizza when they arrived to the lab.
Afterwards, they were then asked to taste and rate some cookies (I’m getting hungry already : )).
The thing was, the experimenters didn’t really care about the cookie’s rating, they just wanted to see how many people ate.
This is because they tricked some of the participants into thinking that they had recieved a larger slice than the others (using framing and false information). This was to make them believe that they had most certainly “ruined” their diet goals for the day.
When the cookies were weighed, it turned out that those who were on a diet and thought they’d blown their limit ate more of the cookies than those who weren’t on a diet.
This doesn’t paint the true picture though: they ate over 50% more!
~ How are brains stop us from achieving our goals and how to fight back by Gregory Ciotti
So now that you know this, don’t allow one set back to push you over the cliff. You have to commit to your ideas and then recommit yourself over and over again. Commit to yourself until you find out who you are and what you are passionate about. And commit to doing the heavy lifting involved in chipping away at discovering what you are made of; because by doing so you will never lose your commitment to yourself or motivation again. It’s cyclical- both up or down. Whatever behavior you make yourself act on and choose (and inaction is a choice by the way) you will find your strength and will and determination either will grow or will weaken you and die.
This last few weeks have been frustrating for me. The human condition is so frail and weak today- not like it was when I was growing up. My entire extended family was motivated to do the work necessary to grow and that was a huge help to me in finding my own motivation to do the same.
Perhaps you fear that none of your dreams will come true, at least not the big ones. You may feel that some unforeseen force is against you. So you try to fight an enemy you cannot see.
The truth is you are disappointed with you. Instead of condemning yourself and everyone around you, why don’t you start listening and acting on the advice given to you by others? And by doing so you will begin to rebuild being a friend to you too. As you change, learn, and grow will you do everything right? No, that’s human too.
But folks, its time to get up and try again. I know there is a fighter inside of you.
About Lisa Canning
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