It’s not what you say to everyone else that determines your life – it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the greatest power.
The most common problem with motivation, often not understood until later in life, is that when we say we’re looking for motivation, it implies that our motivation is somehow hiding behind a bush or under a rock somewhere. But that’s far from the truth.
The truth is, our motivation comes from doing the right things. When our efforts have meaning behind them it motivates us to take the next step. For me – and we’re all different – I am motivated primarily by two core ambitions:
- Knowing more today than I knew yesterday, especially as doing so relates to meaningful projects and desires
- Easing the pain of others
Living by these two core ambitions on a daily basis, and regularly reflecting on the progress I’m making, invigorates me, personally and professionally.
That’s really the most important aspect of generating long-term motivation: knowing what your core ambitions are (figuring out what truly drives you) and living by them. Think about it: Underneath all the things you say you have to do, at the end of each day, what is the meaning and value you hope to create?
Once you’ve got that down, and you’re on a meaningful path, a pertinent question remains:
What’s the easiest way to motivate yourself through life’s inevitable moments of negativity and discouragement?
Truth be told, in the near-term there will always be little stumbles along the way – those bad days when you’re tripping over a rocky road, and all you need is a quick pick-me-up to re-center your mind and regain your footing. It’s really important to be prepared for these situations too. Because, as human beings, we tend to be generous with our own nonsense and pessimism. And while it may seem logical, or just easier, to feed our inner negativity, please remember that the diet we need to be on is a mindful and positive one. Be cautious with what you feed your mind and soul – watch your self-talk. Fuel yourself with sensible thoughts and let that fuel propel you into positive action.
When you’re feeling dispirited, and lacking the mindset you need to step forward, reflect on the mantras below. Over the years, Angel and I have worked with hundreds of course students who have successfully used these mantras to fuel their positivity and motivation on the toughest of days. So pick one (or more) that’s relevant to your present life situation, and repeat it in your mind until it sinks in…
- Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness and peace of mind. Tell yourself, “I am ENOUGH!” anytime you begin to feel like you aren’t. What we do in life ultimately comes out of who we believe we are.
- Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask yourself, “Do you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the present and future?”
- Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings. Anything you truly want must be worth working on and fighting for. Imagine the incredible progress you can make simply by doing what you’ve been telling yourself you should do. Say it and believe it: “The most satisfying time to take the next step is now!”
- “It’s time to do what’s right, not what’s easy.” And remember, when the task is a big one, do just a little bit of it every day. Even the tiniest daily ritual changes everything in the long run. (Angel and I build tiny, life-changing rituals with our students in the “Goals and Growth” module of Getting Back to Happy.)
- Occasionally, you are disappointed in yourself. When that happens, transform your disappointment into forgiveness… and then determination. “It’s OK to make mistakes. That’s how you get wiser.” Give yourself a break, and don’t give up! Good things take time, and you’re getting there.
- Temporary pain is inevitable. Long-term suffering is optional. So do your best to let it GO. And on particularly hard days when you feel that you can’t endure, remind yourself: “Your track record for getting through hard days is 100% so far.”
- “It isn’t as bad as it feels right now. It will all work out. Relax and trust yourself.” That is the truth. Be present. Put your full trust in yourself by following your intuition and doing your best. Life will not forsake you. Mindfulness and hard work combined rarely lead a person astray in the long run.
- “It’s not personal (it’s really not), even though it feels personal.” Yet, it’s so hard not to internalize other people’s negative remarks as a reflection on your worth. But they aren’t – the way other people behave is not about you. Most people are so caught up in their own issues that the thought of being kind doesn’t even cross their minds. They aren’t being purposely rude – they’re just self-centered sometimes. And that’s OK. It’s not evidence of some fundamental flaw on your part. It doesn’t make you unworthy. It just means that some people aren’t very good at looking beyond their own egocentric bubble. But the fact that you are – that despite the darkness you feel, you have the ability to share your love and light with others – is an incredible strength. (Angel and I discuss this in detail in the “Relationships” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
- You are in 100% control of YOU. Your decisions in each and every moment determine the quality of life that you live. Be positive, always. When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s where your power is! Take a deep breath and remind yourself of the truth: “I choose my response, and that changes everything.”
- You must make a firm decision that you’re going to let go and move forward. It won’t always happen naturally or automatically. Sometimes you will have to rise up and say, “I don’t care how hard this is. I don’t care how disappointed I am. I’m not going to let this get the best of me. I’m moving on with my life.”
It’s ultimately your choice…
Yes, it’s your choice.
You are choosing right now.
And if you’re choosing…
to be stuck in the past…
to act like a victim…
to feel insecure…
to feel anger…
to feel hate…
to be naïve…
to ignore your intuition…
to ignore good advice…
to give up…
…then it’s time to choose differently.
But, let me also remind you that you are not alone. Generations of human beings in your family tree have chosen. Human beings around the world have chosen. We all have chosen at one time or another. And we stand behind you now whispering:
Choose to let go.
Choose to be present.
Choose to be positive.
Choose to forgive yourself.
Choose to forgive others.
Choose to see your value.
Choose to see the possibilities.
Choose to find meaning.
Choose to prove you’re not a victim.
Choose to find the motivation you need to take a step forward.
Please leave a comment below and let us know:
What is your greatest source of motivation?
Do you have anything else to share?
We would love to hear from YOU. 🙂
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Photo by: Todd Quackenbush