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5 Things Mentally Tough People Don’t Do

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Mental Toughness Arnold Schwarzenegger

Whether you are on the court or in the board room. Mental strength is demanded on a day to day basis for those in high profile positions. Athlete’s, CEO’s and risk hungry Entrepreneurs excel in their fields only by pursuing their goals with a thick skin and a high level of mental strength.

In this article, Sports and Performance Psychologist “Justin Sua” tells us what it takes to be mentally strong enough to take on the big wigs in the arena.

 

Are you mentally tough enough?

 

1) They don’t feel sorry for themselves

They understand that complaining doesn’t make the situation better.

They know that people won’t treat them the way they want to be treated, circumstances might not be ideal, and they will experience adversity; however, rather than complain about the negative aspects of their situation, they focus on what they want to happen and what they’re going to do about it.

 

2) They don’t give people power over them

They are not people pleasers.

They are relentless in their pursuit of their passion and aren’t worried about what other people think.

They give power to what they focus on, and if they waste their time focusing on the opinions of others, they lose sight of the things that will make them truly successful.

 

3) They don’t avoid change

They are always looking for ways to evolve. They believe that if they continue to give their best, their best will continue to get better over time.

With the competition continuing to get bigger, stronger, faster, and smarter; it’s important to have the mindset to improve by learning from successes and failures.

 

4) They don’t play small

The mentally tough swing for the fences and know that it might mean striking out a few times (or many times). Their purpose for achieving greatness casts away their fear of failure. They refuse to tip-toe through life, they intend on creating a legacy for the future by making an impact in the here-and-now.

 

5) They don’t focus on things they can’t control

They refuse to waste time focusing on things they can’t control because there is nothing they can do about it!

They understand that the less control a person feels the more susceptible they are to making poor decisions, falling into bad habits, and crumbling under pressure.

 

Muhammad Ali mental strength

 

Justin Su'a in an expert in sport and performance psychology, the author of, "Parent Pep Talks” and the Head of Mental Conditioning at the IMG Academy, the world-leading provider of athletic and personal development training programs for youth, adult, collegiate and professional athletes, located in Bradenton, Florida. Follow Justin on Twitter: @justinsua

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55 Comments

55 Comments

  1. @StephenGopaul

    Sep 12, 2013 at 3:37 am

    Short and sweet.

  2. skipprichard1

    Sep 3, 2013 at 1:12 am

    I appreciate this list for its simplicity and directness. Obviously there are exceptions, but these are the bold moves to move you forward. This is particularly a good list to review when you are tentative and slow to act.

  3. David King

    Sep 3, 2013 at 12:06 am

    I wonder where that puts someone like me, that literally loves the discomfort of training.

  4. Dionne

    Sep 1, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Change is good! Change is what makes you grow as a person. Always like changing!

  5. e lugsdin

    Aug 31, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    First of all you need the body and other attributes to be a pro dancer for instance.. There are some people even with all the teaching and effort will never make it. so people need to focus on their potential and it may lay in other areas. This is where our education fails all but the mainstream candidates. Attitude and focus will never help you if you are in the wrong areas. The influence on genetic advantage will always mean that in all areas of competition certain individuals will always struggle to attain the success they expect from all of their training education and experience. The real skill is recognising the appropriate area to concentrate efforts.

  6. Anthony

    Aug 30, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    Gary and David, this will be my last response as we both have opinions that can’t seem to see eye to eye……we’ll agree to disagree, yea?.

    I would however love for you to please explain to me (because you keep comparing it to sports where drugs ARE illegal and it IS cheating) how it is ill ethical or cheating when it is NOT banned and EVERYONE in the sport is using it LEGALLY. It is like calling Usain Bolt a cheat for wearing shoes even though everyone else is and it is a legal to do.

    Sports where PEID’s are banned (Athletics, Baseball etc.) = Cheating
    Sports where PEID’s are legal and uniformally taken amongst competitors (Mr Olympia Bodybuilding Competition) = Not cheating

    I don’t know how to simplify that anymore for you guys who keep calling Arnold a cheat for taking PEID’s in bodybuilding.

    His infidelity (which I have repetitively stated I don’t condone) has nothing to do with the content in this article or his sporting success.

    I do wish you guys all the best in finding someone as successful as Arnold or Ali, to provide you with inspiration who haven’t made poor choices in their personal lives.

    • Gary

      Sep 3, 2013 at 10:28 am

      Fair call Anthony. Healthy debate is always good

  7. TJ Hale (@SharkTankPdCast)

    Aug 30, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    Great article – I will be linking to it in my newsletter. NUmber 1 & 2 could fix most people’s problems.

    TJ

  8. Derek Neighbors

    Aug 30, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Justin. Spot on.

  9. anaris

    Aug 30, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Wait… you think that people who start off powerless but end up controlling things don’t think about the things they can’t yet control?

    Because that is pretty much what half of all inventors do, let alone entrepreneurs and investors. Obsessive pursuit of dreams and goals that are currently out of reach is the central force of success for many people.

    • Wen Mei

      Aug 30, 2013 at 10:28 pm

      I don’t think that kind of control is meant. Rather, you cannot control *everything* in your environment *ever* (what will happen by chance, the people and their actions and choices around you etc) So why bother trying to control situations or people out of fear for an (otherwise) negative outcome. It doesn’t serve anyone. Least of all yourself.

      Well that was how I read it 🙂

    • YourMom

      Sep 4, 2013 at 11:39 pm

      Those were obviously things they COULD control.

  10. vinodha

    Aug 30, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    motivating

  11. Bdibur

    Aug 30, 2013 at 8:19 am

    The article is about success and achievement. Obviously, there has to be an equal – OR HIGHER – attention given to the personal growth and development of a human aspect. But the advice in that regard wouldn’t be much different – it takes just as much determination and effort to Love Your Neighbor As Yourself.

  12. Gary

    Aug 30, 2013 at 7:55 am

    What? Anthony Your quote (People need to differentiate personal life actions and business/career achievements) NO they shouldn’t and NO they don’t. Clearly your self perceived clever attacks on people with different views here require you to return a comment each time someone has their say that u don’t agree with. Business/career different from personal life actions? Thats humorous. Drug cheats are drug cheats and because others are doing it, doesn’t make it right. The article is quite good but the image doesn’t support the message. That’s the point originally made. If u wanna argue his success no problem. But u can’t take bits if a journey and make excuses for the rest.

  13. Sonia

    Aug 30, 2013 at 5:31 am

    So I presume we are only discussing sporting, entrepreneurial success. Relationship and lifeskills also require self discipline and focus. Arnie does not tick all of the boxes but I guess it depends on what your aspirations are.

  14. Tom Gerace

    Aug 30, 2013 at 3:43 am

    Kinda depends on your definition of success doesn’t it? If fame and glory at any cost is your idea of a life well lived I personally believe you are helping to drive the wagon of societal decline…..

  15. Anthony

    Aug 29, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    Scott…….EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE he ever competed against in professional bodybuilding was on performance enhancing drugs. It is a part of the trade, it wasn’t a question of sacrificing ‘ethics’. Also, if you think for a second that just because Arnold was on PIED’s meant he didn’t work hard tells me you are even more ignorant than your initial post suggests.

    Another thing, I can’t understand why his infedelity keeps being brought up either. Yes, it is a terrible thing to do but I can’t see what that has to do with what and how he has achieved what he has? People need to differentiate personal life actions and business/career achievements.

    P.S. Great article.

    • David

      Aug 30, 2013 at 5:52 pm

      Anthony, this is what you are saying in simplified form:

      #6 Do whatever it takes to win, that includes cheating if need be.

      Maybe you’re right. Peds have been working out great for athletes of all kinds like baseball players. Its just sad when a true great like Babe Ruth never needed them and was hugely successful and now his records are challenged by cheaters.

      Also, how you conduct your self in your personal life will always end up affecting your business life eventually.

    • Ty

      Aug 30, 2013 at 9:16 pm

      Forget the article. Great f#!@ing comment.

  16. Richard Bilodeau

    Aug 29, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Thank you for sharing your success strategy, I have used the self confidence exercise and I tell the truth, it works.

  17. Scott

    Aug 29, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Can one truly be called a ‘success’ who has to sacrifice their ethics to win?

    What does it say about efforts of a man that works hard, but is defeated by someone using performance enhancing drugs?

    • sylverg

      Aug 30, 2013 at 6:41 am

      If you were faced with the same temptations and opportunities and if your life were put under as much scrutiny as Arnold’s life, would it hold up to the lofty billing you claim?

      Perhaps, but then again perhaps not.

      It’s kind of comparing Bob, who can’t get a girl, vs a monk who makes a chastity vow. Both are virgins but only one of them can take pride in it.

      Eden would have been a lot less challenging for Eve had there been no apple tree.

      I just watched Day 4 of the World Judo Championships and I have seen many many mistakes that I know I wouldn’t have made. Mentally, I am screaming “don’t let that hand through, you will get choked out”, “Left! Go left, can’t you see that’s his weak side?”, “Foot sweep incoming in 3, 2, 1… splash – how did you not see that coming?”. I was right most of the time too. The girl did get choked out a couple seconds later, the guy failed his throw and got countered.

      I knew better. I was right. I would probably have made none of those mistakes… but I would have made so many other mistakes that it’s unlikely I could win a match against any of the guys on the mat. Starting with the fact that I train less in a week than they do in a day.

      We love to point out the faults of the rich and famous, and tell ourselves that we would never have made those blatant mistakes. And that’s quite possible. But most of us make so many other blatant mistakes that we don’t even get in a position where our mistakes make the news.

      Not only that but a lot of our mistakes come from not even trying. There goes a beautiful girl, a successful model, a top athlete, etc., and she smiles at you and she seems to like the look of you, and you can’t work out the guts to walk over. So you smile and you look away. You don’t take the chance and tell yourself that’s all right because ____(insert a stupid excuse here). Could be the worst mistake of your life right here, but it’s never going to be in the papers. You did was the “polite” thing to do, nobody will even notice you missed the love of your life. .

      If you do have the guts to try, maybe it doesn’t work out. Maybe you misunderstood and she was smiling to someone else and she laugh that you might have thought yourself worthy of her attention. People call you a creep.

      It’s way safer to remain “politely” out of the way and criticizes the guys who do try. To be in the sideline and tell your friends about that “creep” who tried to flirt with a star.

      You criticize Arnold and the guy has done some pretty stupid things indeed, but what about you? What have you done or failed to do?

  18. Anthony

    Aug 29, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Marita, are you serious?…..

    Arnold: -The best in the world for his chosen field (bodybuilding) for many years
    – One of the most successful actors of the 90’s
    – Successful real estate and business investor
    – Elected Governor of one of largest economies in the world.

    Do I think some of the decisions he’s made in his personal life been the most moral? Not at all.

    Although it’s something l personally strive to do in my own life, this site isn’t dedicated to providing inspiration for living the most ethical lives we can. It’s a source of inspiration for people looking to SUCCEED and I think Arnold is an excellent role model for someone looking to do that.

  19. Marita

    Aug 29, 2013 at 12:51 am

    Liked the message, the photo-examples, not so much.

    Arnold gropes women, has illegitimate children while married, and took so many performance-enhancing drugs that he spends many hours a week in dialysis.

    Muhammad Ali–yes, live the rest of your life brain-damaged. . .

    • FTW

      Aug 29, 2013 at 3:01 pm

      What an ignorant comment.
      What does achieving success have to do with personal vices?
      Arnold set 3 goals in his life:
      To be Mr. Olympia (which he did 7 times)
      To be an action move star (speaks for itself)
      To be a politician

      Performance enhancing drugs are the norm in that industry, if you’re not on them, you’re not going to win.
      So he wasn’t faithful to his wife, does that mean his success is written off?

      Both of these men have achieved far more than you ever will.
      Keep your negativity to yourself.

      • Matt

        Aug 29, 2013 at 6:19 pm

        At what cost to their personal life and their character? Who cares if you are “successful” but in the wake of your success destroy the only true thing that will last for eternity: our relationships with people.
        I thought these tips were so-so. The last one concerns me because it is telling people to ignore the things we cannot control. MOST OF LIFE IS OUT OF OUR CONTROL. No one can even control whether or not our heart keeps beating. This just seems to encourage people to focus on the shallow aspects of life without paying attention to the spiritual implications of our daily decisions. Which is why our 20-somethings and younger have a yolo attitude and avoid thinking about the more deeper issues of life.
        Tip #6 Don’t waste your life on things that won’t matter 1,000 years from now (1,000 years from now no one will know who Arnold or Ali is).

        • Frederick Henderson

          Aug 30, 2013 at 11:15 am

          Thank you Matt, I had a great time reading your comment, my abs still hurt.

        • Evan

          Aug 30, 2013 at 3:20 pm

          That’s faulty logic. The whole YOLO attitude is that you should make whatever decisions you feel like making and not worry about the consequences. But you have control over whether you sleep with a girl without a condom or whether you jump off a 3 story building into a pool. Saying that you shouldn’t worry about things you can’t control doesn’t mean you should put yourself in situations where your fate is out of your control. You have control over whether you are in those situations or not.

          Instead, the point of #5 is that instead of sitting around praying that your dream company is going to find your resume on monster, you should go out and try to schedule a meeting with the hiring manager and do whatever you can to try to further your chances. When people sit around stressing and hoping for good things to come to them, they can start to become indifferent and believe that they have no control over their lives. This can lead to depression and that’s when people start to develop poor habits like drug use.

          Yes, most things are out of your control, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do everything you can to try to help yourself. If you want to find the girl of your dreams, go out and talk to girls instead of sitting on your ass hoping she’ll just come and ring your doorbell one day. If you want to become a good athlete, go to the gym and workout instead of praying that a top physical trainer will show up at your house and decide to whip you into shape. If you have a goal, do everything that is in your control to try to make it come true. That’s the mentality of a champion.

        • Emily

          Aug 30, 2013 at 3:35 pm

          I agree. This is someone’s opinion on what they consider “tough.” The world is full of complex people. Entrepreneurs and those who focus their energy on business success are not the gold standard. The examples listed don’t include people who worked hard to make a deep positive impact on the world, but rather did whatever it took to meat their own desires/goals.

      • savage

        Aug 29, 2013 at 7:37 pm

        Ignore haters like this loser. Focus on positive things. Rule #5

      • Baby Spice

        Aug 30, 2013 at 8:11 am

        The main issue is that you should never compromise your health for success.Taking drugs for whatever cause is just plain foolish and -paradoxically- testifies to your desire to please others and be admired by masses at your own expense (or resolving some childhood trauma/trying to prove something to your dad etc etc etc). Humility and knowing your limits is the great absence on the list. It is humility that ultimately makes you immune to any form of (sometimes disguised) self-destruction in the long term.

    • freddy

      Aug 29, 2013 at 3:36 pm

      “… They are not people pleasers. They are relentless in their pursuit of their passion and aren’t worried about what other people think” 😉

    • dstar

      Aug 30, 2013 at 2:13 am

      rule number 2

  20. Ale Montemayor

    Aug 28, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    I really liked this article.

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Motivation

How To See What You’re Truly Capable Of Becoming And Then Becoming It.

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I have an opportunity right now to do something that will propel my life and career to a whole new level. It will take me from behind the keyboard and into the spotlight of critics, people with a lot of power, people I admire and the masses.

It’s a dangerous crossroads in a lot of ways. There’s a lot that could go wrong. Normally I am full of belief, but in the last few days, I’ve had my doubts.

Maybe I shouldn’t aim so high so quickly. Maybe I will get distracted from what I really love doing. Maybe I don’t have the skills just yet.

What you’re hearing here is the thoughts of a stock standard, off the shelf, pink brain that was designed hundreds of years ago for a different purpose.

None of these thoughts are valid unless I accept they are.

Seeing what you are capable of becoming requires a few key steps. Then becoming it is the hardest part.

Here’s how to see what you can become and then actually become it:

 

Believe first.

“This is not gospel talk. I didn’t pull this one out of the pages of a hymn book. Until you can see what you are able to become, no one else can see it”

There’s an element of visualization required here. Ask yourself the question “What if there were no barriers and I could achieve anything?”

I want you to assume this is the case. To see what you are able to become you must see it first without barriers, negative thinking and outside opinions.

Once you can see what you can become, you then have to start believing. That requires you to see a positive outcome and have the courage to dare to do something phenomenal.

Believing first requires a degree of ignorance. In a way, I suppose you are ignoring logic. You are being somewhat irrational and not using common sense. You’re using belief to see a future version of yourself that achieves something meaningful to you, and to those who are inspired by your work.

 

Make it really big.

The next step is to dream really big. Our mind often constrains us and forces us to focus on what we’ve done in the past as the basis for what we can become in the future.

The stupid thing is that past results don’t necessarily predict the future. If that were true, we’d all bet on the stock market based on what has happened before and we’d be millionaires sipping mojitos off the bar of our luxury yachts.

Making your dream really big is an art. Your imagination that has been mostly switched off since you were a child and the creativity that has been sucked out of you by society needs to be reignited for the dreaming element of your mind to be turned on again and lit on fire baby!

If you aim really high and think you can deliver a speech in front of 50,000 people and then you fall short and deliver an inspiring speech in front of 2000 people, have you really failed?

The obvious answer is no. At least you got out of your warm bed and took a chance. Maybe there were a lot of seats empty but you at least influenced one person in a positive way.

“Giving it a shot is half the game of life”

 

Disconnect from the result.

Being fixated on the result stops you from ever taking the first step. I’ve been so focused in the last week on whether I can deliver and whether I have the experience to do something audaciously big that I didn’t take action.

I was blindsided by fear even though I know fear better than my own body.

Fear has been the thing that nearly ruined my life and prevented me from typing these very words. In some ways, it’s because I can smell the perfume of fear and see it a mile away with my Superman eyes, that I’m able to see what’s really going on, not only in my life, but the lives of others.

Never giving it a go is a far bigger failure than trying something and not succeeding. Not taking a chance and not risking it all for the person you’ve always wanted to become is something you’ll regret for the rest of your life.

Right up until the day of your death you’ll regret not knowing what could have happened if you saw what you were capable off, took a moon-shot opportunity and became that person.

“Regret is far worse than failure will ever be”

 

Be okay with not knowing a hell of a lot.

Part of the battle of seeing what you can become and then becoming it is that there is a lot you won’t know. The person I want to become in the coming weeks and months, and the opportunity I’m scared to say yes to has a lot to do with the core issue: I have no idea whether I can deliver on my promise.

I have no clue if I am this person that people think I am on the internet. Do I really inspire people? Or do I get inspired by other people and use that as fuel to pass it on?

We’ll never know the answers to these questions. We all have doubts and pieces to the puzzle of life that we can’t figure out.

In the end, there’s only a few harsh truths:

–    You must say yes to big opportunities

–    You must not overthink every decision

–    You must not try to have all the answers

–    You must not continually play out every scenario in your head thus draining your energy

All you can do is have guts, believe in yourself, have the courage and become who you’re truly capable of becoming through relentless action.

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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.

<<<>>>

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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

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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Success Advice

5 Ways to Think Yourself Into Mind Blowing Results From Globally Renowned Leaders

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deep thought

Many wonder why someone who’s less qualified is achieving greater success even though you’re smarter, work harder, or even have more influential connections. The only way someone succeeds is by thinking correctly. It doesn’t matter who you know, what school you attended, or what grades you got; all that matters are your thoughts. Both men and women around the world have been telling people “the secret” to success for hundreds of years. It’s time to listen. (more…)

Lucas Robak used to fly planes, now he leads various wisdom-sharing communities. Being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), Lucas began researching how to successfully live with it. Soon after, he was leading a health & wellness community and helping entrepreneurs use a published book for marketing. As a visionary, creative thinker, and strategist, Lucas discovered many mind hacks, health tips, and business tricks along the way which he loves sharing. To experience your own results from a #1 bestselling author, find him on LinkedIn or www.LucasRobak.com.

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55 Comments

55 Comments

  1. @StephenGopaul

    Sep 12, 2013 at 3:37 am

    Short and sweet.

  2. skipprichard1

    Sep 3, 2013 at 1:12 am

    I appreciate this list for its simplicity and directness. Obviously there are exceptions, but these are the bold moves to move you forward. This is particularly a good list to review when you are tentative and slow to act.

  3. David King

    Sep 3, 2013 at 12:06 am

    I wonder where that puts someone like me, that literally loves the discomfort of training.

  4. Dionne

    Sep 1, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Change is good! Change is what makes you grow as a person. Always like changing!

  5. e lugsdin

    Aug 31, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    First of all you need the body and other attributes to be a pro dancer for instance.. There are some people even with all the teaching and effort will never make it. so people need to focus on their potential and it may lay in other areas. This is where our education fails all but the mainstream candidates. Attitude and focus will never help you if you are in the wrong areas. The influence on genetic advantage will always mean that in all areas of competition certain individuals will always struggle to attain the success they expect from all of their training education and experience. The real skill is recognising the appropriate area to concentrate efforts.

  6. Anthony

    Aug 30, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    Gary and David, this will be my last response as we both have opinions that can’t seem to see eye to eye……we’ll agree to disagree, yea?.

    I would however love for you to please explain to me (because you keep comparing it to sports where drugs ARE illegal and it IS cheating) how it is ill ethical or cheating when it is NOT banned and EVERYONE in the sport is using it LEGALLY. It is like calling Usain Bolt a cheat for wearing shoes even though everyone else is and it is a legal to do.

    Sports where PEID’s are banned (Athletics, Baseball etc.) = Cheating
    Sports where PEID’s are legal and uniformally taken amongst competitors (Mr Olympia Bodybuilding Competition) = Not cheating

    I don’t know how to simplify that anymore for you guys who keep calling Arnold a cheat for taking PEID’s in bodybuilding.

    His infidelity (which I have repetitively stated I don’t condone) has nothing to do with the content in this article or his sporting success.

    I do wish you guys all the best in finding someone as successful as Arnold or Ali, to provide you with inspiration who haven’t made poor choices in their personal lives.

    • Gary

      Sep 3, 2013 at 10:28 am

      Fair call Anthony. Healthy debate is always good

  7. TJ Hale (@SharkTankPdCast)

    Aug 30, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    Great article – I will be linking to it in my newsletter. NUmber 1 & 2 could fix most people’s problems.

    TJ

  8. Derek Neighbors

    Aug 30, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Justin. Spot on.

  9. anaris

    Aug 30, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Wait… you think that people who start off powerless but end up controlling things don’t think about the things they can’t yet control?

    Because that is pretty much what half of all inventors do, let alone entrepreneurs and investors. Obsessive pursuit of dreams and goals that are currently out of reach is the central force of success for many people.

    • Wen Mei

      Aug 30, 2013 at 10:28 pm

      I don’t think that kind of control is meant. Rather, you cannot control *everything* in your environment *ever* (what will happen by chance, the people and their actions and choices around you etc) So why bother trying to control situations or people out of fear for an (otherwise) negative outcome. It doesn’t serve anyone. Least of all yourself.

      Well that was how I read it 🙂

    • YourMom

      Sep 4, 2013 at 11:39 pm

      Those were obviously things they COULD control.

  10. vinodha

    Aug 30, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    motivating

  11. Bdibur

    Aug 30, 2013 at 8:19 am

    The article is about success and achievement. Obviously, there has to be an equal – OR HIGHER – attention given to the personal growth and development of a human aspect. But the advice in that regard wouldn’t be much different – it takes just as much determination and effort to Love Your Neighbor As Yourself.

  12. Gary

    Aug 30, 2013 at 7:55 am

    What? Anthony Your quote (People need to differentiate personal life actions and business/career achievements) NO they shouldn’t and NO they don’t. Clearly your self perceived clever attacks on people with different views here require you to return a comment each time someone has their say that u don’t agree with. Business/career different from personal life actions? Thats humorous. Drug cheats are drug cheats and because others are doing it, doesn’t make it right. The article is quite good but the image doesn’t support the message. That’s the point originally made. If u wanna argue his success no problem. But u can’t take bits if a journey and make excuses for the rest.

  13. Sonia

    Aug 30, 2013 at 5:31 am

    So I presume we are only discussing sporting, entrepreneurial success. Relationship and lifeskills also require self discipline and focus. Arnie does not tick all of the boxes but I guess it depends on what your aspirations are.

  14. Tom Gerace

    Aug 30, 2013 at 3:43 am

    Kinda depends on your definition of success doesn’t it? If fame and glory at any cost is your idea of a life well lived I personally believe you are helping to drive the wagon of societal decline…..

  15. Anthony

    Aug 29, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    Scott…….EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE he ever competed against in professional bodybuilding was on performance enhancing drugs. It is a part of the trade, it wasn’t a question of sacrificing ‘ethics’. Also, if you think for a second that just because Arnold was on PIED’s meant he didn’t work hard tells me you are even more ignorant than your initial post suggests.

    Another thing, I can’t understand why his infedelity keeps being brought up either. Yes, it is a terrible thing to do but I can’t see what that has to do with what and how he has achieved what he has? People need to differentiate personal life actions and business/career achievements.

    P.S. Great article.

    • David

      Aug 30, 2013 at 5:52 pm

      Anthony, this is what you are saying in simplified form:

      #6 Do whatever it takes to win, that includes cheating if need be.

      Maybe you’re right. Peds have been working out great for athletes of all kinds like baseball players. Its just sad when a true great like Babe Ruth never needed them and was hugely successful and now his records are challenged by cheaters.

      Also, how you conduct your self in your personal life will always end up affecting your business life eventually.

    • Ty

      Aug 30, 2013 at 9:16 pm

      Forget the article. Great f#!@ing comment.

  16. Richard Bilodeau

    Aug 29, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Thank you for sharing your success strategy, I have used the self confidence exercise and I tell the truth, it works.

  17. Scott

    Aug 29, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Can one truly be called a ‘success’ who has to sacrifice their ethics to win?

    What does it say about efforts of a man that works hard, but is defeated by someone using performance enhancing drugs?

    • sylverg

      Aug 30, 2013 at 6:41 am

      If you were faced with the same temptations and opportunities and if your life were put under as much scrutiny as Arnold’s life, would it hold up to the lofty billing you claim?

      Perhaps, but then again perhaps not.

      It’s kind of comparing Bob, who can’t get a girl, vs a monk who makes a chastity vow. Both are virgins but only one of them can take pride in it.

      Eden would have been a lot less challenging for Eve had there been no apple tree.

      I just watched Day 4 of the World Judo Championships and I have seen many many mistakes that I know I wouldn’t have made. Mentally, I am screaming “don’t let that hand through, you will get choked out”, “Left! Go left, can’t you see that’s his weak side?”, “Foot sweep incoming in 3, 2, 1… splash – how did you not see that coming?”. I was right most of the time too. The girl did get choked out a couple seconds later, the guy failed his throw and got countered.

      I knew better. I was right. I would probably have made none of those mistakes… but I would have made so many other mistakes that it’s unlikely I could win a match against any of the guys on the mat. Starting with the fact that I train less in a week than they do in a day.

      We love to point out the faults of the rich and famous, and tell ourselves that we would never have made those blatant mistakes. And that’s quite possible. But most of us make so many other blatant mistakes that we don’t even get in a position where our mistakes make the news.

      Not only that but a lot of our mistakes come from not even trying. There goes a beautiful girl, a successful model, a top athlete, etc., and she smiles at you and she seems to like the look of you, and you can’t work out the guts to walk over. So you smile and you look away. You don’t take the chance and tell yourself that’s all right because ____(insert a stupid excuse here). Could be the worst mistake of your life right here, but it’s never going to be in the papers. You did was the “polite” thing to do, nobody will even notice you missed the love of your life. .

      If you do have the guts to try, maybe it doesn’t work out. Maybe you misunderstood and she was smiling to someone else and she laugh that you might have thought yourself worthy of her attention. People call you a creep.

      It’s way safer to remain “politely” out of the way and criticizes the guys who do try. To be in the sideline and tell your friends about that “creep” who tried to flirt with a star.

      You criticize Arnold and the guy has done some pretty stupid things indeed, but what about you? What have you done or failed to do?

  18. Anthony

    Aug 29, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Marita, are you serious?…..

    Arnold: -The best in the world for his chosen field (bodybuilding) for many years
    – One of the most successful actors of the 90’s
    – Successful real estate and business investor
    – Elected Governor of one of largest economies in the world.

    Do I think some of the decisions he’s made in his personal life been the most moral? Not at all.

    Although it’s something l personally strive to do in my own life, this site isn’t dedicated to providing inspiration for living the most ethical lives we can. It’s a source of inspiration for people looking to SUCCEED and I think Arnold is an excellent role model for someone looking to do that.

  19. Marita

    Aug 29, 2013 at 12:51 am

    Liked the message, the photo-examples, not so much.

    Arnold gropes women, has illegitimate children while married, and took so many performance-enhancing drugs that he spends many hours a week in dialysis.

    Muhammad Ali–yes, live the rest of your life brain-damaged. . .

    • FTW

      Aug 29, 2013 at 3:01 pm

      What an ignorant comment.
      What does achieving success have to do with personal vices?
      Arnold set 3 goals in his life:
      To be Mr. Olympia (which he did 7 times)
      To be an action move star (speaks for itself)
      To be a politician

      Performance enhancing drugs are the norm in that industry, if you’re not on them, you’re not going to win.
      So he wasn’t faithful to his wife, does that mean his success is written off?

      Both of these men have achieved far more than you ever will.
      Keep your negativity to yourself.

      • Matt

        Aug 29, 2013 at 6:19 pm

        At what cost to their personal life and their character? Who cares if you are “successful” but in the wake of your success destroy the only true thing that will last for eternity: our relationships with people.
        I thought these tips were so-so. The last one concerns me because it is telling people to ignore the things we cannot control. MOST OF LIFE IS OUT OF OUR CONTROL. No one can even control whether or not our heart keeps beating. This just seems to encourage people to focus on the shallow aspects of life without paying attention to the spiritual implications of our daily decisions. Which is why our 20-somethings and younger have a yolo attitude and avoid thinking about the more deeper issues of life.
        Tip #6 Don’t waste your life on things that won’t matter 1,000 years from now (1,000 years from now no one will know who Arnold or Ali is).

        • Frederick Henderson

          Aug 30, 2013 at 11:15 am

          Thank you Matt, I had a great time reading your comment, my abs still hurt.

        • Evan

          Aug 30, 2013 at 3:20 pm

          That’s faulty logic. The whole YOLO attitude is that you should make whatever decisions you feel like making and not worry about the consequences. But you have control over whether you sleep with a girl without a condom or whether you jump off a 3 story building into a pool. Saying that you shouldn’t worry about things you can’t control doesn’t mean you should put yourself in situations where your fate is out of your control. You have control over whether you are in those situations or not.

          Instead, the point of #5 is that instead of sitting around praying that your dream company is going to find your resume on monster, you should go out and try to schedule a meeting with the hiring manager and do whatever you can to try to further your chances. When people sit around stressing and hoping for good things to come to them, they can start to become indifferent and believe that they have no control over their lives. This can lead to depression and that’s when people start to develop poor habits like drug use.

          Yes, most things are out of your control, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do everything you can to try to help yourself. If you want to find the girl of your dreams, go out and talk to girls instead of sitting on your ass hoping she’ll just come and ring your doorbell one day. If you want to become a good athlete, go to the gym and workout instead of praying that a top physical trainer will show up at your house and decide to whip you into shape. If you have a goal, do everything that is in your control to try to make it come true. That’s the mentality of a champion.

        • Emily

          Aug 30, 2013 at 3:35 pm

          I agree. This is someone’s opinion on what they consider “tough.” The world is full of complex people. Entrepreneurs and those who focus their energy on business success are not the gold standard. The examples listed don’t include people who worked hard to make a deep positive impact on the world, but rather did whatever it took to meat their own desires/goals.

      • savage

        Aug 29, 2013 at 7:37 pm

        Ignore haters like this loser. Focus on positive things. Rule #5

      • Baby Spice

        Aug 30, 2013 at 8:11 am

        The main issue is that you should never compromise your health for success.Taking drugs for whatever cause is just plain foolish and -paradoxically- testifies to your desire to please others and be admired by masses at your own expense (or resolving some childhood trauma/trying to prove something to your dad etc etc etc). Humility and knowing your limits is the great absence on the list. It is humility that ultimately makes you immune to any form of (sometimes disguised) self-destruction in the long term.

    • freddy

      Aug 29, 2013 at 3:36 pm

      “… They are not people pleasers. They are relentless in their pursuit of their passion and aren’t worried about what other people think” 😉

    • dstar

      Aug 30, 2013 at 2:13 am

      rule number 2

  20. Ale Montemayor

    Aug 28, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    I really liked this article.

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Motivation

How To See What You’re Truly Capable Of Becoming And Then Becoming It.

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I have an opportunity right now to do something that will propel my life and career to a whole new level. It will take me from behind the keyboard and into the spotlight of critics, people with a lot of power, people I admire and the masses.

It’s a dangerous crossroads in a lot of ways. There’s a lot that could go wrong. Normally I am full of belief, but in the last few days, I’ve had my doubts.

Maybe I shouldn’t aim so high so quickly. Maybe I will get distracted from what I really love doing. Maybe I don’t have the skills just yet.

What you’re hearing here is the thoughts of a stock standard, off the shelf, pink brain that was designed hundreds of years ago for a different purpose.

None of these thoughts are valid unless I accept they are.

Seeing what you are capable of becoming requires a few key steps. Then becoming it is the hardest part.

Here’s how to see what you can become and then actually become it:

 

Believe first.

“This is not gospel talk. I didn’t pull this one out of the pages of a hymn book. Until you can see what you are able to become, no one else can see it”

There’s an element of visualization required here. Ask yourself the question “What if there were no barriers and I could achieve anything?”

I want you to assume this is the case. To see what you are able to become you must see it first without barriers, negative thinking and outside opinions.

Once you can see what you can become, you then have to start believing. That requires you to see a positive outcome and have the courage to dare to do something phenomenal.

Believing first requires a degree of ignorance. In a way, I suppose you are ignoring logic. You are being somewhat irrational and not using common sense. You’re using belief to see a future version of yourself that achieves something meaningful to you, and to those who are inspired by your work.

 

Make it really big.

The next step is to dream really big. Our mind often constrains us and forces us to focus on what we’ve done in the past as the basis for what we can become in the future.

The stupid thing is that past results don’t necessarily predict the future. If that were true, we’d all bet on the stock market based on what has happened before and we’d be millionaires sipping mojitos off the bar of our luxury yachts.

Making your dream really big is an art. Your imagination that has been mostly switched off since you were a child and the creativity that has been sucked out of you by society needs to be reignited for the dreaming element of your mind to be turned on again and lit on fire baby!

If you aim really high and think you can deliver a speech in front of 50,000 people and then you fall short and deliver an inspiring speech in front of 2000 people, have you really failed?

The obvious answer is no. At least you got out of your warm bed and took a chance. Maybe there were a lot of seats empty but you at least influenced one person in a positive way.

“Giving it a shot is half the game of life”

 

Disconnect from the result.

Being fixated on the result stops you from ever taking the first step. I’ve been so focused in the last week on whether I can deliver and whether I have the experience to do something audaciously big that I didn’t take action.

I was blindsided by fear even though I know fear better than my own body.

Fear has been the thing that nearly ruined my life and prevented me from typing these very words. In some ways, it’s because I can smell the perfume of fear and see it a mile away with my Superman eyes, that I’m able to see what’s really going on, not only in my life, but the lives of others.

Never giving it a go is a far bigger failure than trying something and not succeeding. Not taking a chance and not risking it all for the person you’ve always wanted to become is something you’ll regret for the rest of your life.

Right up until the day of your death you’ll regret not knowing what could have happened if you saw what you were capable off, took a moon-shot opportunity and became that person.

“Regret is far worse than failure will ever be”

 

Be okay with not knowing a hell of a lot.

Part of the battle of seeing what you can become and then becoming it is that there is a lot you won’t know. The person I want to become in the coming weeks and months, and the opportunity I’m scared to say yes to has a lot to do with the core issue: I have no idea whether I can deliver on my promise.

I have no clue if I am this person that people think I am on the internet. Do I really inspire people? Or do I get inspired by other people and use that as fuel to pass it on?

We’ll never know the answers to these questions. We all have doubts and pieces to the puzzle of life that we can’t figure out.

In the end, there’s only a few harsh truths:

–    You must say yes to big opportunities

–    You must not overthink every decision

–    You must not try to have all the answers

–    You must not continually play out every scenario in your head thus draining your energy

All you can do is have guts, believe in yourself, have the courage and become who you’re truly capable of becoming through relentless action.

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

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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