Welcome to Day 1168 of our Wisdom-Trek, and thank you for joining me.
This is Guthrie Chamberlain, Your Guide to Wisdom
Self-Motivation – Ask Gramps
Wisdom – the final frontier to true knowledge. Welcome to Wisdom-Trek where our mission is to create a legacy of wisdom, to seek out discernment and insights, and to boldly grow where few have chosen to grow before.
Hello, my friend, I am Guthrie Chamberlain, your captain on our journey to increase wisdom and create a living legacy. Thank you for joining us today as we explore wisdom on our 2nd millennium of podcasts. This is Day 1168 of our trek, and it is time for our Philosophy Friday series. Each Friday, we ponder some of the basic truths and mysteries of life and how they can impact us in creating our living legacy.
As we continue on this trek called life, sometimes we have questions about life, so our Friday trek is a time where we can “Ask Gramps.”Gramps will answer questions that you would like to ask your dad or granddad, but for whatever reason, you are unable to. No matter how old we are, I know that all of us would like the opportunity to ask Dad or Gramps questions about life in many areas.
We may mix it up a bit on our Friday episodes, but we will strive to keep them down to earth and enjoyable. If you have any questions that you would like to ask Gramps, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
So the question for this week is…
“Hey, Gramps, it seems like you don’t have a real problem staying motivated, but staying motivated for me is a real struggle. I am constantly assaulted by negative thoughts and anxiety about the future. Do you have any wisdom to help me stay motivated more?”
Staying motivated is a struggle for nearly everyone. Even though I tend to be highly disciplined, I also have to be constantly vigilant so that I can remain on task. I have to admit that our drive is constantly assaulted by negative thoughts and anxiety about the future. Nearly everyone faces doubt and depression, but that doesn’t mean we should give up. What separates the highly successful from the unsuccessful is the ability to keep moving forward.
There is no simple solution for lack of motivation. Even after beating it, the problem reappears at the first sign of failure or discouragement. The key is understanding your thoughts and how they drive your emotions. By learning how to nurture motivating thoughts, neutralize negative ones, and focus on the task at hand, you can pull yourself out of a slump before it gains momentum.
I have boiled it down to three primary reasons we lose motivation.
Lack of confidence – If you don’t believe you can succeed, what’s the point in trying?
Lack of focus – If you don’t know what you want, do you really want anything?
Lack of direction – If you don’t know what to do, how can you be motivated to do it?
First, let’s explore how to boost confidence because the first motivation killer is a lack of confidence. When this happens to me, it’s usually because I’m focusing entirely on what I think I want and neglecting being grateful for what I already have. When you only think about what you want, your mind creates explanations for why you aren’t getting it. This creates negative thoughts. Past failures, bad breaks, and personal weaknesses dominate your mind. You become jealous of others and start making excuses for why you can’t succeed. In this state, you tend to make a bad impression, assume the worst about others, and lose self-confidence.
The way to get out of this thought pattern is to focus on gratitude. Set aside time to focus on everything positive in your life. Make a mental list of your strengths, past successes, and current advantages. We tend to take our strengths for granted and dwell on our failures. By making an effort to feel grateful, you’ll realize how competent and successful you already are. This will rejuvenate your confidence and get you motivated to build on your current success.
It might sound strange that repeating things you already know can improve your mindset, but it’s amazingly effective. The mind distorts reality to confirm what it wants to believe. The more negatively you think, the more examples your mind will discover to confirm that belief. When you truly believe that you are capable and deserve success, your mind will generate ways to achieve it. The best way to bring success to yourself is to genuinely desire to create value for the rest of the world, to help others also succeed.
Next, you need to develop a tangible focus because the second motivation killer is a lack of focus. How often do you focus on what you don’t want, rather than on a concrete goal? We normally think in terms of fear. I’m afraid of being poor. I’m afraid no one will respect me. I’m afraid of being alone. The problem with this type of thinking is that fear alone isn’t actionable. Instead of doing something about our fear, it feeds on itself and drains our motivation.
If you’re caught up in fear-based thinking, the first step is focusing that energy on a well-defined goal. By defining a goal, you automatically define a set of actions.
If you have a fear of poverty, create a plan to increase your income. It could be going back to school, obtaining a higher paying job, or developing a profitable website. The key is moving from an intangible desire to concrete, measurable steps.
By focusing your mind on a positive goal instead of an ambiguous fear, you put your brain to work. It instantly begins devising a plan for success. Instead of worrying about the future, you start to do something about it. This is the first step in motivating yourself to take action. When you know what you want, you become motivated to take action.
The final piece in the motivational puzzle is direction. If focus means having an ultimate goal, direction is having a day-to-day strategy to achieve it. A lack of direction kills motivation because, without an obvious next action, we succumb to procrastination. An example of this is a person who wants to have a popular blog but spends more time reading posts about blogging than actually writing articles.
The key to finding direction is identifying the activities that lead to success. For every goal, there are activities that pay off and those that don’t. Make a list of all your activities and arrange them based on results. Then make an action plan that focuses on the activities that lead to big returns. To continue the example from above, a blogger’s list would look something like this:
Research relevant topics.
Network with other bloggers.
Optimize design and ad placements.
Answer comments and email.
Read other blogs.
Keeping track of your most important tasks will direct your energy towards success. Without a constant reminder, it’s easy to waste entire days on filler activities like reading social media posts, email, and random web surfing.
When my motivation starts to wane, I regain direction by creating a plan that contains two positive actions. The first one should be a small task you’ve been meaning to do, while the second should be a long-term goal. I immediately do a smaller task. This creates positive momentum. After that, I take the first step towards achieving a long-term goal. Doing this periodically is great for getting out of a slump, creating positive reinforcement, and getting long-term plans moving.
It’s inevitable that you’ll encounter periods of low energy, bad luck, and even the occasional failure. If you don’t discipline your mind, these minor speed bumps can turn into mental monsters. By being on guard against the top three motivation killers, you can preserve your motivation and propel yourself to success.
Remember, it all begins in the mind. To correct your motivation problem, you must first correct your thinking. Put into practice the advice found in Philippians 4:8,“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
That is a wrap for today’s question. Join us again next Friday for another question on our “Ask Gramps” episode. Our next trek is Mediation Monday, where we will help you reflect on what is most important in life. So encourage your friends and family to join us and then come along on Monday for another day of our Wisdom-Trek, Creating a Legacy.
If you would like to listen to any of the past 1167 daily treks or read the associated journals, they are all available at Wisdom-Trek.com. I encourage you to subscribe to Wisdom-Trek on your favorite podcast player so each day will be downloaded to you automatically.
Thank you so much for allowing me to be your guide, mentor, and most of all, your friend as I serve you through this Wisdom-Trek podcast and journal.
As we take this trek together, let us always:
Live Abundantly (Fully)
Lend to others Generously
Lead with Integrity
Leave a Living Legacy Each Day
I am Guthrie Chamberlain reminding you to Keep Moving Forward, Enjoy Your Journey, and Create a Great Day Everyday!See you on Monday!