You hate your job, don’t you? You’re tired of the same schedule and the lousy pay. You’re tired of busting your ass only for your boss to get all of the credit.
You’re tired of begging for days off. You’re sick of working when you’re sick. You’re fed up with having more work piled on you when you’re busy enough as it is. I’ll bet you weren’t offered a raise when they said you have to take on more responsibility, were you?
You’ve thought about finding a new job or better yet, working for yourself. Perhaps you want to be the one calling the shots and own the whole thing. You dream about taking a day or a week or month off whenever you like. You envision a future where you don’t have to worry about money. You long for the day when you can say that you “made it.” How long have you been thinking like this? Weeks? Months? Years?
What have you done about it?
What action have you taken?
You haven’t have you? Oh sure, you’re on Google every night, looking up websites and information about “how to find the next big idea” or “how do I find my passion.” It’s a start you say! O.k., sure, just not much of one.
Now, on the other side of the coin, there are people who are at the proverbial water’s edge, so to speak. All ready to go but they just can’t make the leap. They’ve done the market research, they’ve figured out how they’re going to incorporate their business, they have a company name and logo and a domain name picked out, and they’ve written a business plan. Everything is in motion, but then they stop. Why?
You are afraid
Now, don’t get it twisted. You might not be afraid consciously, but make no mistake; subconsciously, you’re scared. What if you fail? What if you go broke? What will my wife or parents or friends think? How will I introduce myself at parties? Here’s the good news, it’s not your fault!
Picture a baby that is developing in its womb. It is warm and sheltered. Its mother keeps it safe from danger. It is provided with the proper foods and nutrients it needs to grow. All of its needs are being met. Now, picture a baby that has just been born. IT’S A MESS! It is traumatized by the birth. It is born into a world where sound is too loud and lights are too bright. It is cold and hungry. It can no longer be fed automatically through the umbilical cord. It is no longer automatically sheltered by the womb inside its mother’s uterus. It is literally cut off from its mother. For all the baby knows, it is alone.
The baby must now rely on others for its survival. They must rely on parents or other adults to feed them and shelter them and provide clothing for them. They must rely on parents or other adults to keep predators away and protect them from disease.
This is where fear in each human being originates. By birth, you are born afraid. You need someone to take care of you. This original fear is the basis for all of our fears. It’s why you wake up every day and dread going to the hell hole you call a job again yet you won’t quit. It’s why you do the same thing every day and think that somehow something will change. Maybe this time it will be different. It won’t.
“I know I was born and I know that I’ll die, the in-between is mine. I am mine.” – Pearl Jam
Take a look at how you got to where you are right now. You followed a pattern, didn’t you?
Pre-school to kindergarten to elementary school to junior high to high school. You were sent to these schools and you were told who your teachers would be, what you would learn, when you could go to the bathroom, when you could eat, when you could play and when you could leave. All of these things were decided for you by others. You didn’t know any better because it’s literally what EVERYONE was doing. So you kept plugging away until you finally graduated high school.
Then what? I’ll bet you were offered only two choices; go to college or get a job. If you look at it, it’s kind of really only one choice because the only reason MOST (not all) of us go to college anymore is because we think it will land us a better paying job. So really, the choices are:
- Get a job right away
- Get a job 4-6 years from now
So it’s really the same choice with the difference being when you decide to join the work force.
Why do you work?
Now, why do we even need a job? You’ll say that it’s because we need money for a house and cars and to pay back student loans and to buy food and have a retirement and blah blah blah. You’re right but you’re wrong. The reality is that we need others to take care of us. Just like we did when we were born (original fear).
A modern day corporation takes care of you by providing you a paycheck, health insurance, retirement benefits, vacation days, sick days, comp time. All of these are designed to entice you to work there.
In exchange, you do the same thing you did in school. You do what others decide for you. After all of those years of school, you go right back to being told when you can arrive, when you can eat, who you can talk to, what you can wear, who you can date, when your absence is “excused,” what you can work on and when you can leave. You get to help make other people rich. Doesn’t that make you feel just grand inside!
You try to justify all of this by saying that this is “the real world.” These are the sacrifices we have to make to have the things we want. Plus, everyone does this so what’s the big deal?
You do realize that this “reality” is only about a 70 years old right? Out of the thousands upon thousands of years that humanity has roamed the Earth, the “real world” as you are told exists is only about 70 years old, give or take a decade.
Do you think that a person who lived in, let’s say, Rome in the 2nd century was overcome with fraught because they didn’t know how to “find their passion?” I think “when the hell am I going to eat again” was probably a bigger concern.
That is the beauty of all of the things that we have now. We don’t have to worry, for the most part, about where our next meal is going to come from or if we are going to have enough clothes to stay warm. It is a luxury afforded to some of us that we can even think or worrying about “finding our passion.” You can be passionate about a lot of things. Do them all!
You don’t have to rely on corporations to take care of you anymore. All of the technological inventions that we have today have made it possible for you to do things that you used to need permission to do. The choices aren’t just college or a job anymore. You don’t need giant corporations to give you permission to do things anymore.
Take control of your own life
Here’s a list of things that you can do now, on your own, that you used to have to ask permission from a big corporation to do:
- Publish your own books.
- Produce your own movies.
- Create a podcast.
- Create your own YouTube channel and have the equivalent of a weekly TV show.
- Create and promote your own music.
- Build your own websites.
- Create your own online courses.
- Learn how to code.
- Teach a new skill.
- Create a business. Drop shipping, subscription businesses, consulting, product businesses, information products.
- You can be a freelance writer or a freelance editor or a freelance web designer.
- You can create websites where you don’t own a single thing on the website and make BILLIONS of dollars. These are called platforms. I’m sure you’ve heard of a few.
Facebook, Alibaba, YouTube, Twitter, Uber, AirBnB, Craigslist. These companies do not own anything. Take Uber for example. You own the car and you are the one doing all of the work, Uber just gives you a chance to find a customer. You own the room or the house and you are responsible for making sure it’s clean and looks nice, but AirBnB gives you a chance to find a customer. YouTube gives you a place to upload a video or watch others who have uploaded videos. Facebook is just a place where everyone congregates and shares stories about their own lives.
You can hire and outsource work on websites like Fiverr, Elance, Freelancer, or Get Friday. You can find someone who can do pretty much anything that you can think of. The technology is there to 3D print a prosthetic limb for Christ’s sake!
“Time to change has come and gone, watched your fears become your god. It’s your decision”- Alice in Chains
Give yourself room to fail. Take a chance, hire a coach, keep your day job and start a business on the side. Take acting classes, teach a class, learn a foreign language, learn how to code, write that book you have been putting off!
There’s never been a better time to take control of your own life. You don’t need others to take care of you any longer. The original fear that you were born with does not need to hold you back any longer.
Be responsible for yourself and your own future. Be fearless!
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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