Has your hard work ever been overlooked? Maybe you’ve been working overtime for weeks, and when promotion time came along, a less experienced co-worker (who rarely, if ever, stays past clock out time) is applauded for his great work and is rewarded with a higher, better paying position.
Or maybe a new website you’ve been working for weeks isn’t getting the traffic you think it deserves. And other, lower-quality websites seem to be as popular as ever (despite being “uglier” or having worse content on it).
Whatever it is, it’s a terrible feeling knowing you’ve worked hard on something only to see others “take” all the credit. And if you’re like most normal people, you’ll probably feel angry… jealous… or even prideful… in response to these unjust situations.
Well, while you can’t always stop this from happening, there IS a way to use this situation to create powerful motivation to bounce back from it. And possibly even let you get what you deserve after all. Life is unfair but it’s more unfair when you don’t handle it well
It’s normal to feel upset or envious whenever you see people succeed when you’ve been struggling (with little to show for it). Most of the time, people end up throwing their hands up in frustration and giving up in response. “What’s the point if it’s just gonna end up like this?” they might think.
Unfortunately, that’s the wrong way to go about things. Transform anger, jealousy, and pride into motivational fuel Rather than letting negativity tear you down, what if you instead used it to drive positive change in your life?
That might sound a bit strange. But at the end of the day, certain negative emotions drive action. Of course, these are usually unhelpful actions. But there’s no reason you can’t channel this energy into something that improves your life instead of hurts it.
Here’s how to use 3 supposedly “bad” emotions in a way to propel you forward into motivational and productive success.
1. Unleash Your Anger
Anger is the antidote to fear and anxiety. Whereas unease will cause you to shrink away from challenges and opportunities, anger will make you metaphorically raise your fists and blast your enemy to pieces. For those of you who suffer through apprehension when you know doing something will improve your life, find something to get angry at… and let em’ have it!
If you want a promotion but are afraid of rejection, imagine a lazy co-worker getting it (and gloating about it), and use that as fuel to go take it for yourself.
If you’re afraid to promote your website, but see other “lesser” websites gaining traction, think to yourself “Hey, that’s MY traffic!” and then “fight” for your website to take the spotlight. In the right doses, anger is your friend. Learn to control it and it can become a powerful weapon.
“A person should set his goals as early as he can and devote all his energy and talent to getting there. With enough effort, he may achieve it. Or he may find something that is even more rewarding. But in the end, no matter what the outcome, he will know he has been alive.” – Walt Disney
2. Get Green With Envy
When you see a person with a better paying job than you, how does that make you feel? Or what about seeing someone with a nicer body than you, what about then? No need to think about it much – you (and I) will both feel jealousy. We want what they have. And WE want it NOW.
Problem is, this feeling usually just gets compartmentalized because we don’t like this feeling. It makes us feel inadequate and uncomfortable. And most people are experts at running away from these feelings.
But that’d be a waste of your envy! A much better reaction would be to look at the person you’re jealous of, study their methods of success, and adapt it to your own life – but better. Nobody is successful overnight. So see if there’s a way to improve on that person’s method so you can do even better than they have.
3. Be a Stubborn and Prideful Person
If you lack a certain “stick-to-it” capability that hurts your self-discipline, then pride may be what you need. I’m sure you’ve seen those people who refuse to give up on something because they’re just too darn stubborn. Most people view this as a bad thing, but is it, really?
What if you could convert that stubbornness to a more productive outcome? Well, here’s what drives that stubbornness… pride.
A person is stubborn because it would hurt their pride to give up otherwise. It’s like admitting they aren’t who they say they are if they call it quits. And I think that’s nearly a superpower if applied to important goals.
To make this work, you need to find something you’re prideful or stubborn about. For example, maybe your family is known for its stubborn ways. Well, that’d be perfect! Next time you’re working on a goal, and feel that urge to give up settling in, just say, “I’m a Johnson, and we don’t give up!” and then push through till that feeling dissipates.
Or maybe you’re prideful about doing great in college or taking care of your family or being a great worker… all of these things can be used to drive you through tough times.
Just remind yourself that the thing you’re prideful about means you ARE capable of doing great things. And that you won’t give in to feelings of laziness just because they happen to you.
“If you’re not stubborn, you’ll give up on experiments too soon. And if you’re not flexible, you’ll pound your head against the wall and you won’t see a different solution to a problem you’re trying to solve.” – Jeff Bezos
I like to believe in the idea that everything is to your advantage. Good things are helpful. But if you’re creative and open-minded enough… so are the bad things. When you start to think like this, you begin to see that everything can help you. And when that happens, you might even start hoping you have a bad day… just to use it as motivation fuel.
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
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