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Some things in life are oddly simple yet go completely unaware. Take the issue of personal motivation. Different things motivate different people. There are people who do things for money. There are people who do things to feel significant. The “carrot” is different for everyone.
Allow me, if you will, to share my personal story and then we will look at how we can apply this to our lives and use it to make them even more amazing.
Much like some of you, what motivates me has changed through the years as I have grown older and hopefully matured. What really motivates me now is making a difference in people’s lives as well as the world as a whole. Being able to see that is what keeps me writing. Do not misunderstand me, book royalties, and speaking fees sure are nice, but when I read a comment online about how what I have written impacts someone’s life or hear from someone one in person who shares their story with me that is why I continue to work so hard at researching and bringing you the best tools to reduce stress, increase joy and become the best versions of ourselves. If I were to make a great fortune doing this and never know that it make a difference there would be no motivation for me to continue.
How does all this affect our lives and how can we use it to improve our lives? Staying motivated daily can give us energy to accomplish great things in our lives, the lives of others and the world we all share. How do we manage to stay motivated, especially on the really tough days? There are a few simple steps taken with some inner reflection that can have us waking up with more energy and vitality than ever before.
The first step is where the inner reflection comes into play. Figure out what is our principle motivation in life. Do we work just for the money? Chances are if you reflect on this for a while the answer is not so cut and dry. Perhaps you work for the freedom the money affords you. The freedom to purchase what you want, or do want you want. Maybe you work because the money allows you to support your family? I was speaking to a friend of mine who has spent their entire life as a server in the restaurant industry. A lot of people would either ask him why he didn’t try to “go further in life” or consider him a failure. When I asked him why he stayed in the hospitality field in the role of a server his answer was simple. He told me he likes the impact he can have on people’s lives. He makes very decent money, but to him that was not what was important. When you do this exercise I suggest grabbing a pen and a piece a paper. Write down what is important to you.
Now that have our motivation a little more clear, what do we do with it? Find a way to make it measurable. This can often be tricky, especially with the less material. How do you measure the job you are doing taking care of your family? Sometimes giving yourself a ‘grade’ or rating yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 can help. Maybe illicit the help of others. Ask your spouse how good of a partner you are doing. Being honest with yourself here helps. If there happens to be a day you think you did not live up to your own standards, use that for motivation.
Here is the third and final step, put more of what motivates you into your life. Some of that has been accomplished with the second step, but find ways to take it further. In my personal example I encourage others frequently to offer their input on my writing. This post and letting people know that hearing from them and learning how my writing impacts their life is what motivates me will help. Also, knowing the more my writing improves, the greater the chance that I will write something that will touch someone keeps me working to improve my writing. Knowing that I can help someone enjoy their life more and bring a smile to their face and heart motivates me to research more ways of doing just that so I can share them with all of you.
I would love to hear what motivates you and how you plan to include more of that in your life. When we do we wake up with a drive and sense of purpose that makes life a lot more fun to live!
“The rich get richer,while the poor get poorer”. How many of us have heard this saying before? Lord knows I must have heard it a million times growing up. Not to inspiring especially if you find yourself in the latter of the two categories. It doesn’t sound fair does it?
It would be great if I were here to tell you that isn’t true, or some secret method to beat the system, but I am not. In fact, quite the opposite. I am here to show you how this is not only true in the world of finance but in most other areas as well. Great you might be thinking, just what I need to hear today. Do not become discouraged. Knowledge is potential power and what you are going to learn here today is something that you can use to your advantage. It will not change much of what you may be doing to improve any area of your life by itself.
So why read any further? What are we going to learn here today and how will it serve us? We are going to learn why the axiom above is true in so many areas of life and how we can use that to increase our drive and commitment to obtain our goals. We will learn why that skinny person at the gym barely has to brake a sweat and we just look at a slice of pizza and gain a pound. Why they can workout 30 minutes and stay as fit as a fiddle, while we can spend our whole day in the gym and not notice a single improvement. We will also learn why that happy person in the office just manages to stay bubbly even if the world is falling down around them and how stress just seems to pass them by while we feel like we are dragging a lead weight behind us.
I am going to start with the fitness example first, but as you will see they are actually all interchangeable. I am working out at the gym, because like some of you I cannot say ‘no’ to any slice of pizza offered my way. While doing so I listen to different things to inspire me and keep me moving when my body is begging to quit. One of those things is videos by the late Greg Plitt, who was a fitness model as well as a great motivator. He taught me something I never knew and always wondered. I am going to share it with you here because unless you are really into fitness this may also be news to you. So why does that person who is already fairly fit not have to work as hard to maintain that level of fitness as do those of us who are trying to obtain it? It has to do with Muscle verses fat. Fat is stored energy and does not require the effort by the body to burn as does muscle. At first this sounded great I don’t have to work as hard to burn fat? Not quite. What this means is to move muscle and fiber requires more effort and calorie usage than moving fat. Meaning if a fit person and a person who is not so fit walk a mile at the same pace the fit person will actually burn more calories. Not before you succumb to the urge to knock the skinny person off the treadmill in front of you let me explain what this means. As we continue to get more in shape our ability to burn calories efficiently will also continue to improve. It is like trying to mold clay. When you first start and the clay is cold the clay is not easily molded. As the we keep working the clay and it heats up the rate in which we are able to shape it also increases. While this may seem to really suck as we begin a fitness routine, it may also keep us in the gym well past when most people quit because they are not seeing results.
Ok, so what does this have to do with living an amazing life and maintaining a positive attitude? Plenty! The same principle applies. A lot of people tell me “It is easy for you to not let things get you down because you are so positive”. In a way that is true, but it was not always that way. As the years went by and I have practiced a lot of the principles I teach on this site, at seminars and in my book A Happy Life for Busy People I began, in essence, to build my positivity muscle. Through practices like being grateful and asking how I can use challenges I learned to be more positive and as a result more resilient. So, the more positive you are, the easier it is to remain positive in the face of challenges.
Here is what we have discovered. The rich get richer, the fit have and easier time staying so and being positive helps you stay the way when the world throws you a curve ball. This news may not seem that great if you are financially challenged, overweight or negative. Again, knowledge is potential power, so what you do with this information is up to you. You can let it get you down, or provide proof the world is stacked against you. You can also use it to keep you chasing your fitness goals knowing the more you help your body, the more it will help you. You can use it to work on developing that positive and grateful attitude now so when you face a challenge in life you are better prepared.
All this will not happen overnight. Knowing that once you get to the tackle any challenge it will be easier to maintain those results than it was to achieve them should keep us all pushing.
This story was inspired with a conversation I had this Saturday night. We will begin with an odd question. Which of these is most valuable? A rock given to you from a child, a bag of spicy pork rinds or a reassuring compliment? Depending on your love of either geology or fried parts of a pig your answer may very. So what does this have to do with living an amazing life? Let us find out.
Before we craft our answer to the first question, let me throw a second question at you. Which of these two items are more valuable, a diamond or some water? As happens quite often, you may be tempted to question my sanity. It is the diamond right? Not so fast. Sure in our day to day lives if given the choice we would take the diamond. After all how many fancy bottles of water could you buy with that diamond? Well what if you happened to be stranded in the desert? Or what if that water was given to you by someone who was stranded in the desert with no water? You see, value not only depends on meaning but on situation as well.
Back to our original question. After DJing a busy show on a Saturday evening my lady and I had a chance to share a quick conversation with our friend Nicole. She told us of a recent story where her son had given her a rock and told her “I want you to have this”. (It should be noted this generous young man gave me a drawing he created for my last birthday) The reason she shared this with me is that is reminded her of a section from my book A Happy Life for Busy People titled ‘Gratitude in your pocket’. Which basically instructs one to carry a special talisman in their pocket to remind them of things they have to be grateful for. If you would like more info search the blog post of the same title or purchase a copy of my book. What she said next is what really got me thinking. “That was all he had” You see that child could not give her a new car, a diamond or anything else he did not possess, but he gave the one thing he had which was the rock. She saw the value in that and now uses it to remind her of what she has to be grateful for.
Ok, spicy pork rinds? How valuable are they? $2.99 a bag? Not in this case. During this same conversation Nicole was telling us how proud she was of the growth she saw in her husband. She mentioned how he knew to take her on their first date to all the places she liked. Then she added “The other day he bought me a bag of spicy pork rinds”. To some if their significant others bought them something like that they may just say a simple ‘thank you’ or even ask “Is that all you brought me?”. Nicole chose a more intelligent way of receiving this gift. She told us “This means he listened to me about what I like and went out and got it”. How valuable is it to you to know someone cares enough to listen to what makes you happy and then go out and take action on it? Certainly more than $2.99 a bag. Admittedly this is a lesson I did not always appreciate, but through the love of my young lady I am now relishing in it.
Speaking of my young lady, that brings us to the last item, a reassuring compliment. I mentioned it was a very busy night that night. My baby being the caring and wonderful DJ and person she is was extremely focused on making sure everyone had their song in and nothing went wrong technically. (sometimes I even wonder what I am there for). A few hours into the evening she stopped and looked right at me and kissed me. What she said next melted my heart. She said “I’m sorry I know I working so hard right now and not really talking to you I just wanted to let you know I appreciate you and love you”. Wow. That meant more to me than if she would have bought me another drink, or even gave me a diamond. Sounds crazy but true. To know that she thought enough to realize that although she was busy making sure everyone of our amazing friends was well taken care of, she knew her man would appreciate knowing he was too.
Did you notice something about what Nicole and I did? We took gifts that on a material level may not seem like much and appreciated the thought, effort and feeling behind them. When you do that not only do the ones giving the gifts feel appreciated, but you realize something even more important. You can be, in fact you are, rich right now. You give yourself the gift of feeling loved and abundant. So when someone gives you a gift, make sure you see the true value in it.
Here is a great savings plan that is very easy to stick with and can go a long way into helping you in the new year. It is very easy and I shall explain it here.
Starting the first week of the year deposit one dollar in a savings account (or even put it in a coffee can for all that it matters) now in the coming weeks add a dollar each week to that total. Meaning the second week of the year you put two dollars in, the third week three dollars. Ok, so after three weeks you will have six dollars. Vacation fund it is not. At the end of the year do you know how much you will have? $100? $300? $500? Actually you will have almost $1400! that may not be a new car, but having that little extra money could go a long way to taking the stress out of holiday shopping or pay for a vacation you deserve. There are a few little rules to observe. One, you cannot touch the money once you put it in. Also do not skip a week expecting to ‘make it up’ the next week. Stick to it, you will never have to put in more than $52 and that isn’t even until the last week. Two months in you will only be at $8. This also helps show the power of compound interest, which is something I would recommend to anyone wanting to live an amazing life! So let us start this week! We could all be on vacation together this time next year! In that case, remember to save some rum and an island girl for me!