Many people find that when it comes to getting the boost of motivation that they need to achieve their personal or professional goals, they look to older mentors for advice, or the people who have done it before.
This is a great place to look if you want someone to model yourself after. However, when it comes to finding some motivational life tips, many people do not realize that the best sources for inspiration are often right in front of them, they just need to look down.
Kids can be some of the best people to look to for motivation and can offer lessons that any adult can benefit from. Many times, it is because kids are still operating with a clean slate, and have not been influenced by their experiences or the world around them.
While there is no way to go back and have the same world view that children do, there are some important life lessons that we can learn from children, if we just take the time to look at the way they view the world.
Here are 4 lessons we can learn from children:
1. Never stop exploring
When you stop exploring, asking questions and having a general curiosity about the world, you have started to limit yourself and the type of opportunities that can be put in front of you. Kids have this uncanny ability to ask strings of questions in order to find out everything from “why does a bird fly?” to “where do babies come from?” This mentality of exploring and asking questions cannot only help you learn more, but it may open up new opportunities, passions or pathways that you never considered before.
“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” – Pablo Picasso
2. They are not afraid to make mistakes
If you look at a little kid trying something new for the first time, you will quickly see how fearless they are. They may try a hundred times to tie their shoes, and do a rather poor job at it, but they will keep doing it over and over again no matter how many times they fail. They may try to stand up 50 times in a row, without success, but it doesn’t mean they will stop. This is because kids are not as pressured by society as we are about failures. They don’t let one mishap bring them down. If we all took our failures in this way, many of us would be far more successful in our personal and professional lives.
3. Be brave
It always seems to amaze people how brave little kids can be. Whether they are ready to jump in the deep end without knowing how to swim or climb on the roof before they can really master walking, kids always seem to be getting into dangerous situations without fear. While this can give any parent a mild heart attack, there is an important lesson to be learned about bravery. You should not fear the unknown. Just because you don’t know how something will end up, you shouldn’t be afraid of it. Be brave when pursuing your goals, and if you aren’t, then just pretend to be so you can start moving forward.
“Bravery never goes out of fashion.” – Pablo Picasso
4. They are not afraid to dream big
Dreaming big is the first step to doing something big. However, for many adults today, they are afraid to dream too big because they are afraid of what other people will say or they are afraid of failure. Kids do not have this type of inhibition. Kids are never afraid to dream big. Think about the last time you asked a little kid what they wanted to be when they grew up. Chances are you heard answers like “a princess,” “an astronaut,” “the first woman president,” or “a baseball player.” These are some pretty big and lofty dreams to adults, but to kids they seem like reality. Don’t be afraid to make your dreams a little bigger, you never know if they are possible until you try.
What are some lessons you have personally learned from kids? Please share them with us in the comment section below!
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
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