Every superhero, fictional or real, needs theme music. And every one of us underdogs needs theme music too! The unmistakable sound of the intro beat starts, your energy level rises, you hear “…the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight…”, instantly you are ready to take on your next challenge as if Creed or Rocky, or some old school Wu-Tang song comes on and suddenly you’re reminded of Marvel’s Luke Cage action scenes and are now ready to, figuratively, save Harlem, your neighborhood, and the world!
Music is part of our daily lives. It’s often around us, even when we don’t mean for it to be. To reach peak performance in our day-to-day routine, it’s crucial to be aware of the music around us and work to consciously choose the music we are around.
Music moves us in more ways than you might think, and just like our friends, our hobbies, our meals and anything else which gives us that extra swagger, music is a powerful tool that can create all the difference in our mood, our productivity, and our results. Whether you are on the come up, the comeback, or fighting to keep what you hustled so hard to create, the journey is a daily grind and music can help you keep that grind going, and going strong.
Your daily hustle can be stressful. Listening to music, according to Medical News Today, has many health benefits. Music can reduce your stress and anxiety, ramp up your memory and improve medical conditions such as seizures or brain damage caused from strokes.
Music can even help you ideate differently because it makes you more creative overall, according to a team of researchers at the University of Technology Sydney and Radboud University in Nijmegen. So, cue up some music and get your creative juices flowing. Your stress will go down and your creativity will go up, leading you to feel happier about yourself and your life overall.
“Whenever humans come together for any reason, music is there… weddings, funerals, graduation from college, men marching off to war, stadium sporting events, a night on the town, prayer, a romantic dinner, mothers rocking their infants to sleep and college students studying with music as a background… music is and was [always] part of the fabric of everyday life.” – Daniel Levitin
Sometimes when you’re on the long road to success you start losing motivation for your goals. Eventually, many of us come to a crossroads of moving forward or turning back, and sometimes all it takes is a quick motivational activity to get your energy back. You could make a vision board, refine your core value, update your bucket list, create a to-do list, and so on.
I’m all for each of those as ways to get your swagger back and keep it, but at the same time, sometimes daily motivation calls for new approaches too. Especially approaches that are easily accessible at any moment and don’t require a huge investment of time, money or other resources you may or may not have.
An intentional use of music could be the new approach that you take to help you get through those days when you feel like giving up. Time for you to have your “Eye of the Tiger” and make a comeback. And “Protect ‘Yo Neck” and others to save the day like Luke Cage. Then “Cheers” with everybody that knows your name and always glad you came. Let’s create our own theme music and intentionally enjoy the health benefits and swagger of music.
Your Theme Music
Here’s how to create your personal soundtrack so you can have something to motivate you anytime you need it, no matter where you’re at. Begin with a playlist of about five songs. Pick songs that will raise your energy level and remind you of your purpose, important goals, and/or your core values.
Then create a name for your playlist and a nickname for yourself. You can refresh your personal soundtrack as your priorities and goals change. And for us underdog music junkies already bothered by the five song limit, you can create an additional playlist called “The B-Side” for all other songs.
Here’s an example (You’ll get to see mine!):
Playlist Name: The Voice of the Underdog!
Your Nickname: The O.G. aka The Original Gregory aka Mr. Reset Button
Five Songs Playlist:
1: “The People” by Common. – I do what I do for the people aka the Underdogs!
2: “The Point of It All” by Anthony Hamilton – …because a healthy love life is part of a healthy life.
3: “Reach” by Robyn Hood – I’m gonna keep reaching and hustling hard.
4: “Sky’s The Limit” by Biggie Smalls – I mean, the title says it all, right?!
5: “Hate It or Love It” by The Game, 50 Cent – Hate it or love it Underdogs will be on top!
Bonus Track: “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” by Gil Scott-Heron – All of the turnaround won’t be televised, but it will happen. Keep pushin!
Playlist Playful Description:
I do it for “The People” and the people I love, that’s “The Point of It All.” Now is the time I “Reach” even higher because “The Sky’s The Limit.” “Hate It or Love It” Underdogs are gonna be on top. “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” but there will be music playing and I will make it happen!
“Music can change the world because it can change people.” – Bono
Press Play Daily
Well, what ya waiting for!? Music helps with creativity so turn on some of your favorite music right now and start brainstorming the songs that have meaning to you, will motivate you and inspire your daily hustle.
When you’re done creating your personal soundtrack, you’ll have mobile motivation that is only a press of the play button away. What will be your theme music? Really, what will it be? Because every one of us underdogs needs theme music so we can get and stay motivated to get from Front Street to Swaggerback Boulevard.
Image courtesy of Twenty20.com
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We have all been there, looking at something and wishing we had it. The girl, the car, the money, the family, the lifestyle…but then we tell ourselves “Yeah, but that’s not me”. The people who get that are cut from a different cloth and we keep telling ourselves that until it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We waste the wings we got believing the entire time that we can’t fly and that it’s impossible for us. We don’t even see our wings most of the time. (more…)
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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