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4 Things to Remember When Doubters Tell You “You Can’t”

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When you have a dream, you will have doubters. It’s right up there with death and taxes – probably because nobody has to pay taxes or die for doubting. These gleeful killjoys shoot us down before we take off. They say “you can’t” when we thought we can. They make us hesitant when we were sure, silly when we were smart.

External doubt feeds self-doubt; the number one dream-killer as shown in studies. Life and success aren’t about what happens to you, it’s about how you perceive and respond to what happens to you. And doubters happen. They happen fast and hard on your unsuspecting dream. Be ready for them. Better yet, benefit from them. Because, as unthinkable as that sounds, you can.

Here are four ways to give your dreams the benefit of the doubters:

1. Doubters actually care

Don’t hate on those who don’t believe in your dreams, because they might be the very people who love you. Oftentimes, it is those who are closest to us that have the loudest voice of discouragement. This could be your father, your partner, or your best friend.

Sometimes, even your dearest ones cannot see in you what you can see for yourself. They unwittingly project their own self-limitations on you to “protect” you from the pain of failure. A father who has failed in business may urge his entrepreneurial son to “be realistic” and get a “proper” job with a steady paycheck.

The good news is, they want you to succeed. This gives you a chance to turn them into staunch supporters after their initial resistance.

Stay true to your course while making allowance for their advice. Earn their approval and support by addressing their deepest fears about your endeavor. As you progress toward your goals, you’re helping them disprove their assumptions and undo their own limitations too.

“I tend to enjoy proving people wrong.” – Hayley Williams

2. Doubters show you where to improve

Put aside the apparent assault on your ego for a moment and consider what your critics are saying. If you can get over yourself, there’s a lot you can learn there. Take the criticism objectively. Try to find at least one valid point in what they’re saying.

For example, if a headhunter dismisses your aspiration to land a bigger job, she could be 99 percent wrong. The other one percent could be the nugget of insight that will help you. This may be a skill you need, a person whose connection you should make, or better timing to make your move.

The next time you hear others doubting you, find the sliver of truth in their words. Build that into your game plan. You’ll be better for it.

3. Doubters make the best motivation

In his Hall Of Fame speech, Michael Jordan thanked his detractors for the motivation. He credited them for being the driving force behind his legendary work ethic. Jordan was a fierce competitor. He hardly needed any push during his playing career. Yet he chose to turn his doubters into demons he had to slay to prove his greatness.

They were his best motivational buttons and he mashed those poor buttons like a teenager playing NBA2K. Be careful not to invest emotionally in the critics, for they will drain you. It doesn’t matter whether they were being personal or not, as long as you don’t take it personally. Don’t burn out trying to manage others’ opinions of you.

Know that your skeptics cannot define you, unless you allow them. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Turn their action into a positive, powerful reaction that works in your favor. The motivation to prove your critics wrong may be exactly what you need to push for greatness.

“When the doubters tell you it can’t be done and all kind of tragedies will come your way, I say nonsense. If you can get to the very root of who you are and make something happen from it, my sense tells me you are going to surprise yourself.” – Vidal Sassoon

4. Doubters can become powerful allies

Naysayers are oftentimes the byproduct of differences. People can harshly judge ideas or ambitions that are not in line with their own beliefs, opinions, or behavior.

If you can bridge the differences to create win-win relationships, skeptics can become strong allies. They’ve already proven they have a voice and they are willing to use it, only this time, in your favor.

In a team setting, you will have to use your communication and people skills to not just win the argument, but to win the sentiment. Sharing your vision and getting others to stand behind it isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth your effort. Creating advocates of your dream can only accelerate your success.

The bigger and more audacious your dream, the more naysayers you will experience. Be like Usain Bolt who said, “To all my doubters, thank you very much because you guys have also pushed me.”

Are you allowing the doubters to control your life? What are you going to do to change that? Leave your thoughts below!

Victor Ng is an executive coach and entrepreneur who helps those with ambition overcome adversity to reach their goals. Download his free self-coaching worksheet “Adversity To Advantage” to reframe challenges and refocus on your success. Victor has 18 years of corporate experience in advertising and marketing communication. He is one of the youngest in his industry to reach the regional C-suite, and is credited with over 100 industry awards, including Cannes and Clios.

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Motivation

You Can’t Be 100% Motivated And On Fire All The Time So Stop Trying To Be.

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Right now, I’m not feeling that motivated. In fact, I haven’t felt very inspired or motivated all week. Given that motivating and inspiring others is my passion and it’s what I do every day, you’d think my career was over. You’d think maybe I have no more positivity left in me.

Even the most inspirational people in the world have times when nothing happens.

I recently watched Gary Vaynerchuk give advice to a young teenager. The teenager said:

“Gary, my girlfriend broke up with me and a relative just died. The last two weeks are hell.”

Gary took a few deep breaths and you just knew he was going to say something epic – and he did.

He said to the boy “Two weeks of lows doesn’t define the rest of your life.”

 

We’re all entitled to be down for a bit.

What I learned from Gary is that we are all going to have times during our life where nothing sticks. In the last few weeks, I’ve missed several great career opportunities, had a lot of rejection, seen a slump in shares/likes on some social media platforms and had some personal challenges.

All of this is normal.

 

What’s not normal is what you see online.

That’s the real point here. What is normal has been overshadowed by all the self-help, success talk that happens online 24/7. We’re being bombarded by it and we think we have to be motivated 100% of the time.

If we have a day when we’re not inspired, we think something is wrong. In my case, given my profession, it’s even harder. There’s this stigma that I have to be some perfect human being to do what I do. That’s BS.

It’s normal for anyone you admire and even your heroes to have low points or long periods of nothing – that’s the actual norm. The highlight reel you see online of the people you follow is what’s not normal. No one lives life like how we see people living online.

The cameras are only with these people of influence some of the time. What you didn’t see was them taking a dump or having an argument with their partner.

All you saw was a highly edited success reel of what they wanted you to see so they could send you to a landing page, put up a payment wall and monetize you. That’s what being motivated 100% of the time told them to do.

You can’t blame them entirely.

What the internet really needs is more of the truth. That is, more people talking about what goes wrong, more people documenting what’s really happening.

In simple terms, the internet needs less perceived perfection and success, and more of what’s real like disappointment, f*ck ups and challenges.

 

Not being motivated is where it all happens.

The opposite of what we’re led to believe is true. It’s during the moments of zero inspiration, bugger all motivation and low points that we discover who we are. It’s in our weakest moments that our strength, resilience and courage is built.

What I’ve learned during my recent low moments is that if I can handle this sh*t, then I can handle anything.

“Motivation comes from eating crap for dinner every day of the week and still persisting with your goals”

I’m writing these words today and not really feeling like it. It’s the art of doing even through the tough times that allows me to have a 60-second highlight reel on social media that makes me look like a freaking god that goes viral all over the internet hourly.

My success highlight reel looks very impressive and it sounds fantastic during one of the speeches I give. In job interviews, it really helps. When I pitch for business, it gives me credibility.

Our success highlight reels look freaking phenomenal but it’s 0.99% of the actual story.

If humans are motivated by storytelling, then let’s start telling the real story.

We’re not f*cking motivated 100% of the time so let’s stop pretending we are. Cheers to the moments when we feel like dirt and keep going.

 

Then everything changes.

What do I mean? This week I have no motivation but I already sense that next week is shaping up to be a big one. I find out about a number of life-changing opportunities. Knowing I could get through a tough week and be cool to keep inspiring gives me hope. That hope translates into strength.

Next week could be a disaster and these so-called life-changing opportunities could all amount to a mound of dust and broken dreams. But because I survived the tough times I know I can excel during times when I plateau, go backwards or even experience massive growth.

“It only takes one moment for everything to change and before you know it you’re 100 steps ahead of where you thought you’d be”

 

Quit the game.

The game of endless success. The rat race that is showing how perfect you are.

Show up with your best self. If that best self is 1% motivated or 100% motivated it doesn’t matter. The fact you showed up and got through the quicksand of life is all that counts. Sometimes that struggle will look like winning an Oscar and other times that struggle will look like pissing your pants.

Take a step back and see the bigger picture.

No one (including me) needs to, or is, motivated 100% of the time.

You don’t need to be either.

<<<>>>

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Motivation

2 Things You Need to Know: How to Hack Motivation With Avoidance and Approach Goals

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Motivation is a sneaky beast. It can hide in plain sight, and it can express itself when we least expect it. Motivation (and its frequent companion inspiration) can often elude us for days, weeks or years, only to jump out at in an instant with such force that we drop everything in order to capture it before we lose the moment.

Often times, these random “attacks of motivation” happen with little warning, when we are least prepared to take advantage of them. For instance, how many of you have had a moment of clarity or have felt motivated to act on some idea while in the shower? How many of you have perhaps had a similar feeling when going for a run or driving to work? Motivation can come at any time and in any way. Unfortunately, the very randomness keeps us from being able to act effectively to get more done. So what do we do to take hold of our lives and guide our own sources of motivation?

To get more done in less time, we need to understand the power of two types of motivation. Once we explore each of these types of motivation, we must learn to set goals around both to create positive feedback loops. This will make it easier for us to develop stronger motivational habits and take control of what motivates us.

While there are many ways to define motivation, today I will focus on two types: avoidance and approach motivation. The way we will define both types of motivation provides an in-depth look into how we see the world, and ultimately how successful we will be in it.

1. What is avoidance motivation?

Avoidance motivation is part of what makes us human, and it is integral to our survival. This type of motivation helps us avoid negative experiences across psychological, physical, and social boundaries. It’s what told us to run away from saber-toothed tigers or to not dive into shark infested waters looking for food. Clearly, avoidance is a good way of staying safe in a world of unknowns. Unsure about what your boss thinks about your last project? It’s best not to ask to avoid disappointment or emotional trauma. Considering whether to apply for a job in another country? Best to avoid it in case you like the culture.

Unfortunately, avoidance motivation often has negative consequences. It makes us more likely to avoid tasks that we know rationally will be positive experiences for us. It makes us avoid going for that big promotion we aren’t necessarily qualified for. It makes us not get on that airplane to travel to that new new country and experience that new culture.

“Press forward. Do not stop, do not linger in your journey, but strive for the mark set before you.” — George Whitefield

2. What is approach motivation?

Approach motivation is any type of motivation that drives action and forward progress towards a certain outcome or activity. It’s what pushes the nerdy high school kid to talk to their crush in the hallway. It’s what drives the explorer to see what the view looks like from the top of the tallest mountain. It’s the itch the traveller gets when they go too long without taking a trip. It’s what inspired humans to explore outer space. Rather than avoiding certain activities, approach motivation drives individuals to explore and become more productive in their day-to-day existence.

When we consider approach motivation, the most often cited examples relate to feelings of opportunity, fulfilment and exploration. When you see an opportunity to achieve some goal that falls along Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, you are more likely to take action. When you see the opportunity to grow your pool of resources, that may motivate you to take action (strengthening your ability to provide food and shelter to yourself and your family). Similarly, you may see the opportunity to gain recognition or acclaim through appearing on television or writing a blog post. This feeds your ability to achieve self-fulfilment, belonging and perhaps even self-actualisation.

“Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.” — Sam Levenson

So how do we take this information and action it? How do we make it useful on a day-to-day basis?

The best way to leverage the lessons of approach and avoidance motivation is to set goals that align with each type of motivation. Take the following approach to help guide you on the path to taking control of what motivates you:

First, understand the difference between avoidance and approach goals. Most people will find that they tend to avoid activities that are unpleasant to them, all the while approaching those activities that are most enjoyable or fulfilling. Let’s think of approach goals as positive (i.e. finishing a project ahead of schedule, finding a new job) and avoidance goals as negative (i.e. avoiding drinking too much, avoiding talking in public).

Avoidance goals are goals for reducing, avoiding or eliminating undesired outcomes. While these goals are powerful, they are often harder to accomplish. You may want to cut down the number of sweets you eat each day, the number of cigarettes you smoke, the total time you spend watching Netflix. These types of goals work, sometimes, but they are much more likely to stick if you spin them to an approach goal with a positive spin.

Approach goals aim to guide someone to reach or maintain a desired outcome. People are more likely to commit to completing tasks and taking part in activities that are positioned in a positive light. Approach goals become more potent motivational goals because they focus on action and activity around what can be done to reach a goal.

If you want to get better at setting and following through on your personal and career goals, make a point of creating both approach and avoid goals and being aware of the subtle differences between both.

Do you have any approach or avoidance goals that have been particularly challenging to reach? Would love to hear about them!

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Motivation

Motivational Advice You Never Hear From Elon Musk

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Elon Musk is the hottest entrepreneur on the planet right now. From launching an electric car into space, selling flamethrowers on Twitter, and tunneling holes throughout the country, his unconventional ventures are inspiring millions.

It should come as no surprise that his motivational advice is unconventional, as well. Motivational content can become cliche and overused. Every now and then, you need to hear an opposing idea to challenge your way of thinking.

Here are 3 things from Elon Musk you never hear from motivational blogs that will shake you up and make you reconsider your approach:

Quote #1: “If you need inspiring words, don’t do it.”

Entrepreneurs don’t read motivational blog posts all day. They have real life problems that they need to find real life solutions to. If they have a hiring need, they contact recruitment agencies, compare costs for different vendors, implement solutions, test results, and learn from their experiences. Inspiring words are a shot of espresso to boost their performance, not the food pyramid that nourishes their body to keep going throughout the day.

A motivational quote or video might inspire them for a moment, but they certainly are not spending hours pouring through the self-help section at Barnes and Nobles. If that is you, reconsider whether you are addicted to being motivated or you are addicted to whatever it is you want to do. If you’re an aspiring writer, are you spending more time reading how to write, or are you spending more time actually writing? Audit your behavior and be honest with yourself.

If you are relying on external motivation to keep you going on a project, then once that external motivation is gone, you slow down. You must find something deeper within yourself to keep pushing through the hard times. Doubt is inevitable but failure is necessary.

Quote #2: “If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.”

People tell you to play it safe, find a mentor, research your market, make sure there is demand. All of this is conventional wisdom. It’s not bad advice, but it’s what everyone is told and it’s what everyone is doing. If Elon Musk listened to this advice he would not be Elon Musk.

Elon Musk revolutionized two industries that people never would have thought to enter. Tesla became the first American car company to go public since Ford Motor Company in 1956. When starting SpaceX, one of his friends collected several clips of rockets blowing up and made him watch a video. Elon proves if you want to make it big, you have to take a big risk.

Most importantly, if you want to succeed, you have to do something you are passionate about. Elon Musk could have made it rich in any other industry doing something far less complicated. Instead, he chose to pursue his passion for making the world a better place by providing alternative energy transportation and creating a new movement of space travel to save humanity.

He gave himself a 10% chance of success rate with both companies when he started. He chose to start them anyway. If you have nothing to risk, you have nothing to gain. The reward is proportional to the risk. If something is important to you, you will pursue it in spite of any amount of risk you might face.

Quote #3: “You should take the approach that you’re wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong.”

Most people avoid criticism. Criticism shows us we might be something wrong. We were raised to avoid being wrong but Elon Musk actively seeks it. Criticism shows you how you can improve and learn.

You learn nothing when someone tells you what you’re doing right. It might feel good, but like it is said in the movie Whiplash, “There are no two words in the English language more harmful than ‘good job’.” Feeling good breeds contentment and leads you to a place of complacency.

Of course, most of us are not Elon Musk and do not operate at his level of intensity. You might decide relentless improvement is not something you value or want in your life. Nothing is wrong with being content and happy with where you are in life. A continual desire for improvement does not mean you need to be discontent with everything. You can choose how far you want to go on your journey of self-improvement and success.

In a world where companies try to pretend like everything is going right, Elon Musk takes the opposite approach. He pretends like everything is going wrong, and he wants to make things less wrong. His approach opens the door for failure and welcomes the opportunity for improvement. Are you allowing yourself to fail? Are you acknowledging your flaws?

We all want to be like Elon Musk. Not all of us want to work 100+ hours a week. There is a middle ground somewhere where we can all learn from. Find your ‘why’ and let that inspire you. Don’t rely on motivational words to keep you going, use it as a supplement, not a meal. Lastly, when everyone is asking themself what is going well, ask yourself what is going wrong.

What do you think of Elon Musk? Comment below!

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Motivation

Struggling With Procrastination and Self-Doubt? Here’s How to Overcome Both

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Procrastination and self-doubt are two of the biggest killers of dreams and goals. I’ve been there more than once in my life regarding some important goal I set for myself to achieve. Only when it comes time to take physical action on my plans in the real world, and expose myself to rejection or failure, I start experiencing paralyzing self-doubt and fear. This turns into procrastination in the form of distractions that only create a false illusion I’m achieving my goals. In reality, I’m accomplishing nothing.

Have you ever been there? If left unchecked and unresolved in your life, this cycle of procrastination and self-doubt will soon become a habitual downward spiral where you can go for months without having produced any substantial results towards the goals. Eventually you’ll just give up on the entire goal altogether, leaving the hopes and dreams you had associated with that goal to be delayed even longer.

Here are my 3 best tips for overcoming this goal-killing self-perpetuating cycle of self-doubt and procrastination:

1. Winning The Mind/Body Game

If you’ve studied personal development for even a few minutes, you should already know that anything and everything we ever want to achieve or experience in life first starts in the mind. However, there’s also another component to the process that is just as important to develop control over, and that is the body.

Our minds can conjure up an unlimited number of ideas, solutions, and businesses with ease, but if the body isn’t activated effectively to carry out these ideas and bring them into physical reality, then nothing is accomplished and the ideas remain as only a figment of imagination, not benefiting anyone.

To overcome self-doubt and procrastination in your life, it’s first important to realize that you must become 100% acutely aware of these two components of yourself and how they operate. There is also a third component to who you are – the consciousness of you, some call it your Higher Self, which is in control of both mind and body.

We as humans have the ability, at any time that we choose, to use our conscious intention and a higher level of personal awareness to guide our thinking patterns and our physical actions in a very focused and productive way. If done this way, we can create certain desired outcomes and achieve our goals.

Without this level of self-awareness, you’ll be almost totally powerless to overcome the negative forces of self-doubt and procrastination once they start gaining momentum in your life. Know that you have the awesome creative ability to observe, evaluate, and correct your own thinking patterns and personal habits from this higher perspective.

“You have to change your thinking if you desire to have a future different from your present.” – Germany Kent

2. Developing Brutal Honesty

When we find ourselves caught in a negative cycle of procrastination and self-doubt, one critical action you should take right away is to become brutally honest with yourself about the situation. When I do this, I get out a notebook and start writing out all the things (thoughts, actions, behaviors) that I know I should be doing in order to achieve my goals, and then I write out all the things that I’m actually doing so that I can see the stark contrast between the two.

This makes it plainly obvious to me why my goals aren’t being reached, and what I can do to immediately change that trajectory. Then, I like to contemplate and visualize the pain I would experience by not seeing my goals accomplished, and compare that to the minimal amount of “pain” I may experience from taking appropriate action and staying true to my goals. At this point, it becomes clearly obvious which is the greater of the two pains – which is not achieving my goals and living with regret.

3. Third-Party Accountability

Once you’ve started getting an understanding of your mind/body connection, and developed brutal honesty with yourself, the best way to tie it all together is to establish a third-party accountability structure with a trustworthy person.

For this role, a professional accountability coach is by far the best investment anyone could make into their future. Similar to a life coach, an accountability coach is specifically focused on helping you stay 100% accountable (or as close to 100% as possible) to the daily actions, behaviors, and habits that are necessary for you to make your goals a reality.

Not only that, but a good accountability coach will also impart a heavy dose of motivation, inspiration, and positive energy with every interaction you have with them. They’ll help you believe in yourself even when you don’t. They’ll be a trusted partner who walks with you step-by-step through the journey of creating your dreams and goals.

“Choose to focus your time, energy and conversation around people who inspire you, support you and help you to grow you into your happiest, strongest, wisest self.” – Karen Salmansohn

The top-performers of every industry all rely on having specific types of coaches, consultants and mentors to help them follow-through on their goals and achieve excellence in their results. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t even be in those top positions of their field.

How much has procrastination and self-doubt affected you?  Leave a comment and let me know!

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5 Ways to Realize Your Authentic Self

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I was a scared kid throughout my younger years. Overly-cautious and wildly unsure were just a few of my characteristics as I headed into adulthood. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t present to many of the decisions I made in my youth in regards to navigating life thus I was blindly going along with it. (more…)

Dan Whalen is a franchise operator with College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving, personal development writer, and NLP master practitioner. He has a background in business management and team leadership spanning nearly a decade, and has a deeply-rooted passion for helping people experience fulfilling lives. You can find him on Twitter at @DanielJWhalen.

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Motivation

You Can’t Be 100% Motivated And On Fire All The Time So Stop Trying To Be.

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Right now, I’m not feeling that motivated. In fact, I haven’t felt very inspired or motivated all week. Given that motivating and inspiring others is my passion and it’s what I do every day, you’d think my career was over. You’d think maybe I have no more positivity left in me.

Even the most inspirational people in the world have times when nothing happens.

I recently watched Gary Vaynerchuk give advice to a young teenager. The teenager said:

“Gary, my girlfriend broke up with me and a relative just died. The last two weeks are hell.”

Gary took a few deep breaths and you just knew he was going to say something epic – and he did.

He said to the boy “Two weeks of lows doesn’t define the rest of your life.”

 

We’re all entitled to be down for a bit.

What I learned from Gary is that we are all going to have times during our life where nothing sticks. In the last few weeks, I’ve missed several great career opportunities, had a lot of rejection, seen a slump in shares/likes on some social media platforms and had some personal challenges.

All of this is normal.

 

What’s not normal is what you see online.

That’s the real point here. What is normal has been overshadowed by all the self-help, success talk that happens online 24/7. We’re being bombarded by it and we think we have to be motivated 100% of the time.

If we have a day when we’re not inspired, we think something is wrong. In my case, given my profession, it’s even harder. There’s this stigma that I have to be some perfect human being to do what I do. That’s BS.

It’s normal for anyone you admire and even your heroes to have low points or long periods of nothing – that’s the actual norm. The highlight reel you see online of the people you follow is what’s not normal. No one lives life like how we see people living online.

The cameras are only with these people of influence some of the time. What you didn’t see was them taking a dump or having an argument with their partner.

All you saw was a highly edited success reel of what they wanted you to see so they could send you to a landing page, put up a payment wall and monetize you. That’s what being motivated 100% of the time told them to do.

You can’t blame them entirely.

What the internet really needs is more of the truth. That is, more people talking about what goes wrong, more people documenting what’s really happening.

In simple terms, the internet needs less perceived perfection and success, and more of what’s real like disappointment, f*ck ups and challenges.

 

Not being motivated is where it all happens.

The opposite of what we’re led to believe is true. It’s during the moments of zero inspiration, bugger all motivation and low points that we discover who we are. It’s in our weakest moments that our strength, resilience and courage is built.

What I’ve learned during my recent low moments is that if I can handle this sh*t, then I can handle anything.

“Motivation comes from eating crap for dinner every day of the week and still persisting with your goals”

I’m writing these words today and not really feeling like it. It’s the art of doing even through the tough times that allows me to have a 60-second highlight reel on social media that makes me look like a freaking god that goes viral all over the internet hourly.

My success highlight reel looks very impressive and it sounds fantastic during one of the speeches I give. In job interviews, it really helps. When I pitch for business, it gives me credibility.

Our success highlight reels look freaking phenomenal but it’s 0.99% of the actual story.

If humans are motivated by storytelling, then let’s start telling the real story.

We’re not f*cking motivated 100% of the time so let’s stop pretending we are. Cheers to the moments when we feel like dirt and keep going.

 

Then everything changes.

What do I mean? This week I have no motivation but I already sense that next week is shaping up to be a big one. I find out about a number of life-changing opportunities. Knowing I could get through a tough week and be cool to keep inspiring gives me hope. That hope translates into strength.

Next week could be a disaster and these so-called life-changing opportunities could all amount to a mound of dust and broken dreams. But because I survived the tough times I know I can excel during times when I plateau, go backwards or even experience massive growth.

“It only takes one moment for everything to change and before you know it you’re 100 steps ahead of where you thought you’d be”

 

Quit the game.

The game of endless success. The rat race that is showing how perfect you are.

Show up with your best self. If that best self is 1% motivated or 100% motivated it doesn’t matter. The fact you showed up and got through the quicksand of life is all that counts. Sometimes that struggle will look like winning an Oscar and other times that struggle will look like pissing your pants.

Take a step back and see the bigger picture.

No one (including me) needs to, or is, motivated 100% of the time.

You don’t need to be either.

<<<>>>

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Motivation

2 Things You Need to Know: How to Hack Motivation With Avoidance and Approach Goals

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how to hack motivation

Motivation is a sneaky beast. It can hide in plain sight, and it can express itself when we least expect it. Motivation (and its frequent companion inspiration) can often elude us for days, weeks or years, only to jump out at in an instant with such force that we drop everything in order to capture it before we lose the moment.

Often times, these random “attacks of motivation” happen with little warning, when we are least prepared to take advantage of them. For instance, how many of you have had a moment of clarity or have felt motivated to act on some idea while in the shower? How many of you have perhaps had a similar feeling when going for a run or driving to work? Motivation can come at any time and in any way. Unfortunately, the very randomness keeps us from being able to act effectively to get more done. So what do we do to take hold of our lives and guide our own sources of motivation?

To get more done in less time, we need to understand the power of two types of motivation. Once we explore each of these types of motivation, we must learn to set goals around both to create positive feedback loops. This will make it easier for us to develop stronger motivational habits and take control of what motivates us.

While there are many ways to define motivation, today I will focus on two types: avoidance and approach motivation. The way we will define both types of motivation provides an in-depth look into how we see the world, and ultimately how successful we will be in it.

1. What is avoidance motivation?

Avoidance motivation is part of what makes us human, and it is integral to our survival. This type of motivation helps us avoid negative experiences across psychological, physical, and social boundaries. It’s what told us to run away from saber-toothed tigers or to not dive into shark infested waters looking for food. Clearly, avoidance is a good way of staying safe in a world of unknowns. Unsure about what your boss thinks about your last project? It’s best not to ask to avoid disappointment or emotional trauma. Considering whether to apply for a job in another country? Best to avoid it in case you like the culture.

Unfortunately, avoidance motivation often has negative consequences. It makes us more likely to avoid tasks that we know rationally will be positive experiences for us. It makes us avoid going for that big promotion we aren’t necessarily qualified for. It makes us not get on that airplane to travel to that new new country and experience that new culture.

“Press forward. Do not stop, do not linger in your journey, but strive for the mark set before you.” — George Whitefield

2. What is approach motivation?

Approach motivation is any type of motivation that drives action and forward progress towards a certain outcome or activity. It’s what pushes the nerdy high school kid to talk to their crush in the hallway. It’s what drives the explorer to see what the view looks like from the top of the tallest mountain. It’s the itch the traveller gets when they go too long without taking a trip. It’s what inspired humans to explore outer space. Rather than avoiding certain activities, approach motivation drives individuals to explore and become more productive in their day-to-day existence.

When we consider approach motivation, the most often cited examples relate to feelings of opportunity, fulfilment and exploration. When you see an opportunity to achieve some goal that falls along Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, you are more likely to take action. When you see the opportunity to grow your pool of resources, that may motivate you to take action (strengthening your ability to provide food and shelter to yourself and your family). Similarly, you may see the opportunity to gain recognition or acclaim through appearing on television or writing a blog post. This feeds your ability to achieve self-fulfilment, belonging and perhaps even self-actualisation.

“Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.” — Sam Levenson

So how do we take this information and action it? How do we make it useful on a day-to-day basis?

The best way to leverage the lessons of approach and avoidance motivation is to set goals that align with each type of motivation. Take the following approach to help guide you on the path to taking control of what motivates you:

First, understand the difference between avoidance and approach goals. Most people will find that they tend to avoid activities that are unpleasant to them, all the while approaching those activities that are most enjoyable or fulfilling. Let’s think of approach goals as positive (i.e. finishing a project ahead of schedule, finding a new job) and avoidance goals as negative (i.e. avoiding drinking too much, avoiding talking in public).

Avoidance goals are goals for reducing, avoiding or eliminating undesired outcomes. While these goals are powerful, they are often harder to accomplish. You may want to cut down the number of sweets you eat each day, the number of cigarettes you smoke, the total time you spend watching Netflix. These types of goals work, sometimes, but they are much more likely to stick if you spin them to an approach goal with a positive spin.

Approach goals aim to guide someone to reach or maintain a desired outcome. People are more likely to commit to completing tasks and taking part in activities that are positioned in a positive light. Approach goals become more potent motivational goals because they focus on action and activity around what can be done to reach a goal.

If you want to get better at setting and following through on your personal and career goals, make a point of creating both approach and avoid goals and being aware of the subtle differences between both.

Do you have any approach or avoidance goals that have been particularly challenging to reach? Would love to hear about them!

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Motivation

Motivational Advice You Never Hear From Elon Musk

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Elon Musk is the hottest entrepreneur on the planet right now. From launching an electric car into space, selling flamethrowers on Twitter, and tunneling holes throughout the country, his unconventional ventures are inspiring millions.

It should come as no surprise that his motivational advice is unconventional, as well. Motivational content can become cliche and overused. Every now and then, you need to hear an opposing idea to challenge your way of thinking.

Here are 3 things from Elon Musk you never hear from motivational blogs that will shake you up and make you reconsider your approach:

Quote #1: “If you need inspiring words, don’t do it.”

Entrepreneurs don’t read motivational blog posts all day. They have real life problems that they need to find real life solutions to. If they have a hiring need, they contact recruitment agencies, compare costs for different vendors, implement solutions, test results, and learn from their experiences. Inspiring words are a shot of espresso to boost their performance, not the food pyramid that nourishes their body to keep going throughout the day.

A motivational quote or video might inspire them for a moment, but they certainly are not spending hours pouring through the self-help section at Barnes and Nobles. If that is you, reconsider whether you are addicted to being motivated or you are addicted to whatever it is you want to do. If you’re an aspiring writer, are you spending more time reading how to write, or are you spending more time actually writing? Audit your behavior and be honest with yourself.

If you are relying on external motivation to keep you going on a project, then once that external motivation is gone, you slow down. You must find something deeper within yourself to keep pushing through the hard times. Doubt is inevitable but failure is necessary.

Quote #2: “If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.”

People tell you to play it safe, find a mentor, research your market, make sure there is demand. All of this is conventional wisdom. It’s not bad advice, but it’s what everyone is told and it’s what everyone is doing. If Elon Musk listened to this advice he would not be Elon Musk.

Elon Musk revolutionized two industries that people never would have thought to enter. Tesla became the first American car company to go public since Ford Motor Company in 1956. When starting SpaceX, one of his friends collected several clips of rockets blowing up and made him watch a video. Elon proves if you want to make it big, you have to take a big risk.

Most importantly, if you want to succeed, you have to do something you are passionate about. Elon Musk could have made it rich in any other industry doing something far less complicated. Instead, he chose to pursue his passion for making the world a better place by providing alternative energy transportation and creating a new movement of space travel to save humanity.

He gave himself a 10% chance of success rate with both companies when he started. He chose to start them anyway. If you have nothing to risk, you have nothing to gain. The reward is proportional to the risk. If something is important to you, you will pursue it in spite of any amount of risk you might face.

Quote #3: “You should take the approach that you’re wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong.”

Most people avoid criticism. Criticism shows us we might be something wrong. We were raised to avoid being wrong but Elon Musk actively seeks it. Criticism shows you how you can improve and learn.

You learn nothing when someone tells you what you’re doing right. It might feel good, but like it is said in the movie Whiplash, “There are no two words in the English language more harmful than ‘good job’.” Feeling good breeds contentment and leads you to a place of complacency.

Of course, most of us are not Elon Musk and do not operate at his level of intensity. You might decide relentless improvement is not something you value or want in your life. Nothing is wrong with being content and happy with where you are in life. A continual desire for improvement does not mean you need to be discontent with everything. You can choose how far you want to go on your journey of self-improvement and success.

In a world where companies try to pretend like everything is going right, Elon Musk takes the opposite approach. He pretends like everything is going wrong, and he wants to make things less wrong. His approach opens the door for failure and welcomes the opportunity for improvement. Are you allowing yourself to fail? Are you acknowledging your flaws?

We all want to be like Elon Musk. Not all of us want to work 100+ hours a week. There is a middle ground somewhere where we can all learn from. Find your ‘why’ and let that inspire you. Don’t rely on motivational words to keep you going, use it as a supplement, not a meal. Lastly, when everyone is asking themself what is going well, ask yourself what is going wrong.

What do you think of Elon Musk? Comment below!

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Motivation

Struggling With Procrastination and Self-Doubt? Here’s How to Overcome Both

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Procrastination and self-doubt are two of the biggest killers of dreams and goals. I’ve been there more than once in my life regarding some important goal I set for myself to achieve. Only when it comes time to take physical action on my plans in the real world, and expose myself to rejection or failure, I start experiencing paralyzing self-doubt and fear. This turns into procrastination in the form of distractions that only create a false illusion I’m achieving my goals. In reality, I’m accomplishing nothing.

Have you ever been there? If left unchecked and unresolved in your life, this cycle of procrastination and self-doubt will soon become a habitual downward spiral where you can go for months without having produced any substantial results towards the goals. Eventually you’ll just give up on the entire goal altogether, leaving the hopes and dreams you had associated with that goal to be delayed even longer.

Here are my 3 best tips for overcoming this goal-killing self-perpetuating cycle of self-doubt and procrastination:

1. Winning The Mind/Body Game

If you’ve studied personal development for even a few minutes, you should already know that anything and everything we ever want to achieve or experience in life first starts in the mind. However, there’s also another component to the process that is just as important to develop control over, and that is the body.

Our minds can conjure up an unlimited number of ideas, solutions, and businesses with ease, but if the body isn’t activated effectively to carry out these ideas and bring them into physical reality, then nothing is accomplished and the ideas remain as only a figment of imagination, not benefiting anyone.

To overcome self-doubt and procrastination in your life, it’s first important to realize that you must become 100% acutely aware of these two components of yourself and how they operate. There is also a third component to who you are – the consciousness of you, some call it your Higher Self, which is in control of both mind and body.

We as humans have the ability, at any time that we choose, to use our conscious intention and a higher level of personal awareness to guide our thinking patterns and our physical actions in a very focused and productive way. If done this way, we can create certain desired outcomes and achieve our goals.

Without this level of self-awareness, you’ll be almost totally powerless to overcome the negative forces of self-doubt and procrastination once they start gaining momentum in your life. Know that you have the awesome creative ability to observe, evaluate, and correct your own thinking patterns and personal habits from this higher perspective.

“You have to change your thinking if you desire to have a future different from your present.” – Germany Kent

2. Developing Brutal Honesty

When we find ourselves caught in a negative cycle of procrastination and self-doubt, one critical action you should take right away is to become brutally honest with yourself about the situation. When I do this, I get out a notebook and start writing out all the things (thoughts, actions, behaviors) that I know I should be doing in order to achieve my goals, and then I write out all the things that I’m actually doing so that I can see the stark contrast between the two.

This makes it plainly obvious to me why my goals aren’t being reached, and what I can do to immediately change that trajectory. Then, I like to contemplate and visualize the pain I would experience by not seeing my goals accomplished, and compare that to the minimal amount of “pain” I may experience from taking appropriate action and staying true to my goals. At this point, it becomes clearly obvious which is the greater of the two pains – which is not achieving my goals and living with regret.

3. Third-Party Accountability

Once you’ve started getting an understanding of your mind/body connection, and developed brutal honesty with yourself, the best way to tie it all together is to establish a third-party accountability structure with a trustworthy person.

For this role, a professional accountability coach is by far the best investment anyone could make into their future. Similar to a life coach, an accountability coach is specifically focused on helping you stay 100% accountable (or as close to 100% as possible) to the daily actions, behaviors, and habits that are necessary for you to make your goals a reality.

Not only that, but a good accountability coach will also impart a heavy dose of motivation, inspiration, and positive energy with every interaction you have with them. They’ll help you believe in yourself even when you don’t. They’ll be a trusted partner who walks with you step-by-step through the journey of creating your dreams and goals.

“Choose to focus your time, energy and conversation around people who inspire you, support you and help you to grow you into your happiest, strongest, wisest self.” – Karen Salmansohn

The top-performers of every industry all rely on having specific types of coaches, consultants and mentors to help them follow-through on their goals and achieve excellence in their results. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t even be in those top positions of their field.

How much has procrastination and self-doubt affected you?  Leave a comment and let me know!

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