Are you still in doubt about the power you possess in your mind? Are you ruining or building your life by your thoughts?
As “enlightened” human beings we always look to science to give us the answers or to “prove” that something is true. However, it is often the case that whatever science discovers or proves has long been known by the more wise people around us and even revealed and talked about long before science ever thought to investigate it.
Mind over matter – ageless wisdom
The theory of mind over matter is one example. The teachers of positive thinking and those who believe in God’s word have long said that the mind and thoughts have the power to influence the physical and to bring about what we think about. This belief has been based on nothing more than faith and has worked for countless numbers. Now science has jumped on it and is starting to “discover” what has already been known for thousands of years to those that are truly enlightened.
Mind over matter – scientific support
“Researchers are just starting to appreciate the power that the mind can have over the body,” says Tor Wager, an assistant professor of psychology at Columbia University in the States. This statement was made after it was found in studies that some people actually got better when they were being given placebo drugs, which are actually not real drugs but harmless pills meant to make the patient think they are taking medication for their illness. Chuck Park was a depression patient who got better after a few weeks of taking sugar pills which he thought were antidepressants. After he was told that he was not getting the real drug Park said “I guess I wanted it to work — and in a way, it did.”
In a very big way it did. Just the thought that he was getting medication and the expectation that he would get better actually made him better. “There have always been people who have said that we could make ourselves better by positive thinking,” says Dr. Michael Selzer, professor of neurology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. “After pooh-poohing this for years, here are studies that show that our thoughts may actually interact with the brain in a physical way.”
Just to add more understanding to this phenomenon, science has taken this knowledge a step further. Using PET scanners and MRIs to look at brain activity in patients who respond to placebo; researchers have found that the dummy drugs actually lead to changes in brain chemistry. So the thoughts that these patients have of getting better actually leads their brains to get better physically in a very visible way.
“An emerging idea right now is that belief in a placebo taps into processes in your brain that produce physical results that really shape how your body responds to things,” says Dr Selzer. “The brain has much more control over the body than we can voluntarily exert.”
Mind over matter – positive thinking works
The point is that positive thinking and mind over matter work. All you need to do is believe this truth to utilize its immense potential. The book of Proverbs says of a man, “as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Many people have utilised this truth that don’t even believe in God and it has worked for them. Now science is starting to understand the immense power of thought. Do you still doubt, Thomas? You do so to your own peril and destruction.
Believe in the truth that your thoughts are the key to your destiny and your future. It cannot be put any simpler. But you must first be clear on what your thoughts are. What is your dream? Have you thought it out in all the detail that is required to enable your mind to feed on it and bring it to pass?
Mind over matter – practical application
Jim Rohn gives a great example of this process of being clear on your dreams and your thoughts. He says before he built his first home he would take friends and associates over to the vacant property and give them a tour of the house. That wasn’t just pointing out to them where the house would be, but actually taking them through the house room by room and describing everything in the house in great detail. He says “One day, I made the house so real that one of my friends bumped his elbow on the fireplace. I mean, it was that real.” In his mind it was so real that he started interacting with it long before it was physically there. Needless to say he did actually build the house in no time.
That is how clear you need to be with how you want to live your life. Leave nothing out. Make it detailed in your mind. Fill in all the gaps. Whether it’s a wonderful family, a successful career, a thriving business or a luxury car you want, you must have it very clearly in your mind. Most importantly, once you have the right thoughts, you must think them often and believe that they will materialize in the physical world.
Mind over matter –turning nothing into something
Rohn calls this turning “nothing into something,” but he goes on to add that thoughts are really something and belief or faith is also something tangible. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen,” according to the Apostle Paul. So if you believe something, then you have its substance and you have evidence that it exists. It’s just a matter of time before it fully manifests. As long as you don’t give up and don’t doubt this fact.
Mind over matter – amazing power
So powerful is the realization that thoughts have the ability to influence the physical that scientists are now using this knowledge to control pain. Using the same MRI techniques, one patient who was having severe pain for years following an injury she had had to her arm was made to watch images of her brain and see which areas are most active when she was feeling pain and then to see which areas became more active when she thought pleasant thoughts that lessened the pain.
Over time she learnt how to voluntarily switch on the parts of the brain that relieved the pain through her thoughts. The patient later said “I think the most incredible thing was to see that scan of my brain constantly producing pain. And then to actually gain control over the pain, to see that I had that power — even when I was making myself feel worse — was amazing to me.”
Mind over matter – conclusionWilliam James gave a great conclusion to the matter when he said: “The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”
Does Money Really Affect Motivation? A Review of the Research
How much should people earn? Even if resources were unlimited, it would be difficult to stipulate your ideal salary. Intuitively, one would think that higher pay should produce better results, but scientific evidence indicates that the link between compensation, motivation and performance is much more complex. In fact, research suggests that even if we let people decide how much they should earn, they would probably not enjoy their job more.
Even those who highlight the motivational effects of money accept that pay alone is not sufficient. The basic questions are: Does money make our jobs more enjoyable? Or can higher salaries actually demotivate us?
Let’s start with the first: does money engage us? The most compelling answer to this question is a meta-analysis by Tim Judge and colleagues. The authors reviewed 120 years of research to synthesize the findings from 92 quantitative studies. The combined dataset included over 15,000 individuals and 115 correlation coefficients.
The results indicate that the association between salary and job satisfaction is very weak. The reported correlation (r = .14) indicates that there is less than 2% overlap between pay and job satisfaction levels. Furthermore, the correlation between pay and pay satisfaction was only marginally higher (r = .22 or 4.8% overlap), indicating that people’s satisfaction with their salary is mostly independent of their actual salary.
In addition, a cross-cultural comparison revealed that the relationship of pay with both job and pay satisfaction is pretty much the same everywhere (for example, there are no significant differences between the U.S., India, Australia, Britain, and Taiwan).
A similar pattern of results emerged when the authors carried out group-level (or between-sample) comparisons. In their words: “Employees earning salaries in the top half of our data range reported similar levels of job satisfaction to those employees earning salaries in the bottom-half of our data range” (p.162). This is consistent with Gallup’s engagement research, which reports no significant difference in employee engagement by pay level. Gallup’s findings are based on 1.4 million employees from 192 organizations across 49 industries and 34 nations.
These results have important implications for management: if we want an engaged workforce, money is clearly not the answer. In fact, if we want employees to be happy with their pay, money is not the answer. In a nutshell: money does not buy engagement.
But that doesn’t answer the question: does money actually demotivate? Some have argued it does, that there is a natural tension between extrinsic and intrinsic motives, and that financial rewards can ultimately depress or “crowd out” intrinsic goals (e.g., enjoyment, sheer curiosity, learning or personal challenge).
Despite the overwhelming number of laboratory experiments carried out to evaluate this argument — known as the overjustification effect — there is still no consensus about the degree to which higher pay may demotivate. However, two articles deserve particular consideration.
The first is a classic meta-analysis by Edward Deci and colleagues. The authors synthesized the results from 128 controlled experiments. The results highlighted consistent negative effects of incentives — from marshmallows to dollars — on intrinsic motivation. These effects were particularly strong when the tasks were interesting or enjoyable rather than boring or meaningless.
More specifically, for every standard deviation increase in reward, intrinsic motivation for interesting tasks decreases by about 25%. When rewards are tangible and foreseeable (if subjects know in advance how much extra money they will receive) intrinsic motivation decreases by 36%. (Importantly, some have argued that for uninteresting tasks extrinsic rewards — like money — actually increase motivation. See, for instance, a meta-analysis by Judy Cameron and colleagues.) Deci et al’s conclusion was that “strategies that focus primarily on the use of extrinsic rewards do, indeed, run a serious risk of diminishing rather than promoting intrinsic motivation” (p. 659).
The second article is a recent study by Yoon Jik Cho and James Perry. The authors analyzed real-world data from a representative sample of over 200,000 U.S. public sector employees. The results showed that employee engagement levels were three times more strongly related to intrinsic than extrinsic motives, but that both motives tend to cancel each other out. In other words, when employees have little interest in external rewards, their intrinsic motivation has a substantial positive effect on their engagement levels. However, when employees are focused on external rewards, the effects of intrinsic motives on engagement are significantly diminished. This means that employees who are intrinsically motivated are three times more engaged than employees who are extrinsically motivated (such as by money). Quite simply, you’re more likely to like your job if you focus on the work itself, and less likely to enjoy it if you’re focused on money. This finding was true even at low salary levels (remember, as per Gallup and Judge et al, there’s no correlation between engagement and salary levels). Now, a skeptic might ask if this is just a correlation showing that people who don’t like their jobs have nothing to think about other than the money. This is hard to test. Yes, that could be one reason; another could be that people who focus too much on money are preventing themselves from enjoying their jobs.
This research also begs the question: Is this a money-focused, engagement-eroding mindset one that employees can change? Or is does it reflect an innate mindset — some people happen to be more focused on extrinsic rewards, while others are more focused on the task itself? We don’t know. But my guess is that which you’re focused on depends mostly on the match between your interests and skills and the tasks you’ve been given. And in theory, your mindset should be malleable — the brain is remarkably plastic. We can try to teach people that if they focus on the task itself and try to identify positive aspects of the process, they will enjoy it more than if they are just focused on the consequences (rewards) of performing the task. The analogy here is that it’s much more motivating to go for a run because it’s fun than because I must get fit or lose some weight.
Intrinsic motivation is also a stronger predictor of job performance than extrinsic motivation — so it is feasible to expect higher financial rewards to inhibit not only intrinsic motivation, but also job performance. The more people focus on their salaries, the less they will focus on satisfying their intellectual curiosity, learning new skills, or having fun, and those are the very things that make people perform best.
The fact that there is little evidence to show that money motivates us, and a great deal of evidence to suggest that it actually demotivates us, supports the idea that that there may be hidden costs associated with rewards. Of course, that doesn’t mean that we should work for free. We all need to pay our bills and provide for our families — but once these basic needs are covered the psychological benefits of money are questionable. In a widely cited paper, Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton reported that, in the U.S., emotional well-being levels increase with salary levels up to a salary of $75,000 — but that they plateau afterwards. Or, as Arnold Schwarzenegger once stated: “Money doesn’t make you happy. I now have $50 million but I was just as happy when I had $48 million.”
But one size does not fit all. Our relationship to money is highly idiosyncratic. Indeed, in the era of personalization, when most things can now be customized to fit our needs — from social media feeds to potential dates, to online shopping displays and playlists — it is somewhat surprising that compensation systems are still based on the premise that what works for some people will also work for everyone else.
Other than its functional exchange value, pay is a psychological symbol, and the meaning of money is largely subjective. For example, there are marked individual differences in people’s tendency to think or worry about money, and different people value money for different reasons (e.g., as a means to power, freedom, security, or love). If companies want to motivate their workforce, they need to understand what their employees really value — and the answer is bound differ for each individual. Research shows that different values are differentially linked to engagement. For example, income goals based on the pursuit of power, narcissism, or overcoming self-doubt are less rewarding and effective than income goals based on the pursuit of security, family support, and leisure time. Perhaps it is time to compensate people not only according to what they know or do, but also for what they want.
Finally, other research shows that employees’ personalities are much better predictors of engagement than their salaries. The most compelling study in this area is a large meta-analytic review of 25,000 participants, where personality determined 40% of the variability in ratings of job satisfaction. The more emotionally stable, extraverted, agreeable or conscientious people are, the more they tend to like their jobs (irrespective of their salaries). But the personality of employees’ is not the most important determinant of their engagement levels. In fact, the biggest organizational cause of disengagement is incompetent leadership. Thus, as a manager, it’s your personality that will have a significant impact on whether your employees are engaged at work, or not.
Self-Motivation Explained + 100 Ways To Motivate Yourself
The best kind of motivation is self-motivation.
To demonstrate this point, let’s consider two scenarios you’ve likely experienced:
You have something you have to do. You’re not excited or passionate about it, but you know you need to get it done. This feeling of obligation motivates you to work hard to complete the task;
You have something you get to do. You’re interested in your task—you might have even assigned this task for yourself rather than receiving it from someone else—and you are happy to put in the time and effort to complete it.
In which scenario are you more effective? In which scenario are you more efficient? And, in which scenario do you feel the most fulfilled?
I’m willing to bet that your answer to each of those questions is Scenario 2.
It likely won’t come as a surprise that doing something for its own sake and for your own purposes is likely to be more fulfilling, enjoyable, and successful than doing something to meet external standards or to please others.
The feeling described in Scenario 2 is that of being self-motivated. Read on to learn more about self-motivation and why it’s the most effective kind of motivation.
Before you read on, we thought you might like to download our 3 Emotional Intelligence Exercises for free. These science-based exercises will not only enhance your ability to understand your emotions and motivations but will also give you the tools to foster the emotional intelligence of your clients, students or employees.
Above, we explored a basic example of self-motivation, but here’s a succinct definition of the concept:
“Self-motivation is, in its simplest form, the force that drives you to do things” (Skills You Need, n.d.).
It’s the drive you have to work toward your goals, to put effort into self-development, and to achieve personal fulfillment.
It’s important to note here that self-motivation is generally driven by intrinsic motivation, a kind of motivation that comes from sincerely wanting to achieve and desiring the inherent rewards associated with it.
Self-motivation can also be driven by extrinsic motivation, the drive to achieve that comes from wanting the external rewards (like money, power, status, or recognition), although it’s clear that intrinsic motivation is usually a more effective and fulfilling drive.
Self-Motivation and Emotional Intelligence
According to emotional intelligence expert Daniel Goleman, self-motivation is a key component of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the measure of one’s ability to recognize and manage his or her own emotions and the emotions of other people.
Self-motivation’s relevance to emotional intelligence highlights its role within our ability to understand ourselves, relate to others, and succeed in reaching our goals.
Goleman states that there are four components of motivation:
Achievement drive, or the personal drive to achieve, improve, and meet certain standards;
Commitment to your own personal goals;
Initiative, or the “readiness to act on opportunities”;
Optimism, or the tendency to look ahead and persevere with the belief that you can reach your goals (Skills You Need, n.d.).
3 Examples of Self-Motivation
Self-motivation is easy to understand when you consider some examples that contrast it with other kinds of motivation:
A man who goes to work every only as a means to pay the bills, keep his family off his back, and please his boss is not self-motivated, while a man who needs no external forces to make the trek into work every day and finds fulfillment in what he does is self-motivated;
The student who only completes her homework because her parents remind her or nag her, or because they ground her when she fails to complete it is not self-motivated, but the student who completes her homework with no prodding because she wants to learn and succeed in school is self-motivated;
The woman who only goes to the gym when her friends drag her there or because her doctor is adamant that she needs to exercise to get healthy is not self-motivated, but the woman who likes the way exercise makes her feel and schedules time at the gym whether or not anyone encourages her is self-motivated.
As you can see, self-motivation is all about where your drive comes from; if your motivation comes from within and pushes you to achieve for your own personal reasons, it can be considered self-motivation.
If you are only motivated to achieve standards set by someone else and not for your own internal satisfaction, you are probably not self-motivated.
It’s possible to be self-motivated in some areas and not in others. For example, if the man from the first example is not internally motivated to go to work but is sure to make time for his marathon training, he is not self-motivated when it comes to work but might be self-motivated to run.
The Psychology of Self-Motivation: How Are Self-Efficacy and Motivation Related?
Psychologist Scott Geller is at the forefront of research on self-motivation, and he explains that there are three questions you can use to determine whether you (or someone in your life) is self-motivated:
Can you do it?
Will it work?
Is it worth it?
If you answered “yes” to each question, you are likely self-motivated.
If you believe you can do it, you have self-efficacy. If you believe it will work, you have response efficacy—belief that the action you are taking will lead to the outcome you want. And if you believe it is worth it, you have weighed the cost against the consequences and decided the consequences outweigh the cost (Geller, 2016).
Speaking of consequences, Geller considers “consequences” to be one of four vital “C” words that underpin self-motivation:
Consequences: To be self-motivated, you sincerely have to want the consequences associated with the actions you take rather than simply doing something to avoid negative consequences;
Competence: If you answer all three of the questions above with a “yes,” you will feel competent in your ability to get things done;
Choice: Having a sense of autonomy over your actions encourages self-motivation;
Community: Having social support and connections with others is critical for feeling motivated and believing in yourself and your power to achieve (Geller, 2016).
Much of Geller’s work on self-motivation is grounded in the research of psychologist and self-efficacy researcher Albert Bandura. In 1981, Bandura set the stage for Geller’s current conceptualization of self-motivation with this description:
“Self-motivation . . . requires personal standards against which to evaluate ongoing performance. By making self-satisfaction conditional on a certain level of performance, individuals create self-inducements to persist in their efforts until their performances match internal standards. Both the anticipated satisfactions for matching attainments and the dissatisfactions with insufficient ones provide incentives for self-directed actions” (Bandura & Schunk, 1981).
From this quote, you can see where Geller’s three questions come from. Believing that you can do it, that it will work, and that it is worth it will drive you to match the internal standards you set for yourself.
As you have likely already guessed, self-motivation is an important concept. While pleasing others and meeting external standards can certainly motivate us to get things done, such efforts aren’t exactly labors of love.
In other words, doing things because we feel we have to do them or to gain some external reward is enough in many cases, but it doesn’t invoke the passion needed to drive innovation and excellence.
It’s fine to use external sources to motivate you in some areas, but external motivation is less likely to leave you feeling personally fulfilled and finding deeper meaning in your life.
Not only do we generally do better work when we are self-motivated, but we are also better able to cope with stress and are simply happier when we are doing what we want to be doing.
Is Self-Motivation a Skill and Can It Be Developed Through Training?
Given the benefits of being self-motivation, your next question might be, Can I become more self-motivated?
The answer is a definite “yes.”
Self-motivation is driven by a set of skills that are within your control. Read on to learn how to use this to your advantage.
12 Tips and Skills to Motivate Yourself Today
The Skills You Need website lists six vital skills that form the foundation of self-motivation, and they are all skills that you can develop through sustained effort:
Setting high but realistic goals (e.g., SMART goals);
Taking the right level of risk;
Constantly seeking feedback to figure out how to improve;
Being committed to personal and/or organizational goals and going the extra mile to achieve them;
Actively seeking out opportunities and seizing them when they occur;
Being able to deal with setbacks and continue to pursue your goals despite obstacles (i.e., resilience).
Further, there are six things you can do to maintain your self-motivation:
Continue learning and acquiring knowledge (i.e., develop a love of learning);
Spend time with motivated, enthusiastic, and supportive people;
Identify your strengths and weaknesses, and work on them;
Avoid procrastination and work on your time management skills;
Get help when you need it, and be willing to help others succeed (Skills You Need, n.d.).
14 Strategies for Students to Increase Their Self-Motivation to Study
Students are particularly well-suited to reap the benefits of self-motivation, but it can be hard to be self-motivated in the current educational environment.
Luckily, there are some things you can do as teachers, parents, and adult mentors to help students become self-motivated. In addition, there are plenty of strategies that students can apply themselves.
Provide students with as much autonomy and freedom of choice as possible (e.g., give students a choice in their seating arrangements or a range of options for their final project, and implement problem-based learning);
Provide useful feedback, praise hard work, and deliver critical feedback using words like “and” and “what if” instead of “but” to encourage student competence;
Cultivate a high-quality relationship with your students by taking a genuine interest in them, acting friendly, staying flexible, keeping your focus on the end goal of learning, and not giving up on them;
Encourage your students to think about, write about, and discuss how what they are learning is relevant to their own lives (Ferlazzo, 2015).
And, here are some ways that students can bolster their own self-motivation:
Attach meaning to your studies and take personal ownership over your knowledge and learning;
Create a plan: Map out your semester, your month, your week, and even your day;
Build a routine and apply time management skills to become more organized and productive;
Identify several comfortable study environments (they should be quiet and have few distractions);
Get enough sleep, eat nutritious food, and exercise regularly to stay healthy;
Tame “time monsters” like the internet, video games, or unproductive time spent with friends;
Avoid multitasking by choosing one subject or task to work on at a time and focusing all of your attention on it;
Take planned—and well-earned—breaks to stay refreshed and motivated;
Connect with a support system of friends and family who will encourage you to do your best;
Talk positively to yourself (Buckle, 2013).
How to Foster Self-Motivation in the Workplace
You may find it much easier to encourage self-motivation in the workplace than in school. After all, everyone in the workplace is there because they chose to be there, not because they’re required to be there by the law or by their parents. Employees might have vastly disparate reasons for being at work, but it’s unlikely they were compelled to work for their specific organization against their will.
As a manager, there are many ways to foster self-motivation in the workplace, including:
Giving your employees one-on-one attention, feedback, and recognition;
Ensure your employees have opportunities for meaningful advancement as well as training and education opportunities;
Set the example in terms of tone, work ethic, and values. Be a role model for positivity, optimism, and hard work;
Cultivate an uplifting and motivating culture that encourages employees to want to do their best;
Foster socialization through teamwork and team-based activities, projects, and events;
Stay as transparent as possible and open yourself up to questions, concerns, and ideas from your employees. Implement an open-door policy to ensure your employees feel heard (DeMers, 2015).
Writers Nick Nanton and J. W. Dicks at Fast Company offer some further strategies to ensure that both you and your employees stay motivated:
Sell your mission statement to your team as you would to an investor. Ensure the people working to meet that mission understand it and buy into it;
Foster a culture in which each employee has a specific job and a specific role with the organization, and give them room to grow and opportunities to implement ambitious new ideas;
Focus on inspiring your staff instead of just motivating them. Inspired employees will inherently be motivated;
Show your team recognition and appreciation for the hard work they do;
Share your passion with your team and lead from the front by developing a positive mindset and displaying a positive attitude (2015).
Techniques to Motivate Yourself at Work
You can also take control of your own self-motivation at work. Some good techniques for becoming more self-motivated at work include:
Finding work that interests you (This is a vital tip—it’s much easier to be self-motivated when you are passionate about what you do and fully engaged in it.);
Request feedback from your boss or colleagues to learn about where you can improve and to enhance role clarity;
Learn a new skill that is relevant to your role (or your desired role);
Ask for a raise. Financial incentives are generally considered extrinsic motivation, but if you’re happy with your position, being paid what you think you are worth can be very self-motivating;
Remind yourself of your “why,” the reason you do the work you do. When you are doing meaningful work, you are more likely to find fulfillment and stay self-motivated;
Volunteer your services to others (This is especially helpful if you have trouble defining your “why.”);
Take a vacation to allow yourself to rest, recharge, and come back refreshed and ready to work (Stahl, 2016).
Research on Self-Motivation
The research on self-motivation clarifies its vital role in helping us achieve our goals. Check out the findings on two important and related topics below.
Self-Discipline and Self-Motivation
While self-discipline and self-motivation are two distinct concepts, self-discipline is vital to maintaining self-motivation. It’s not enough simply to be self-motivated—to achieve your goals, you need to couple self-motivation with self-discipline.
A study of online learners showed that even though they might all be considered self-motivated (since they are all taking a voluntary course with the goal of learning), those with self-discipline were the most likely to succeed. Those who were highly self-disciplined displayed higher competence at the end of the course, fulfilled more external tasks, and were more effective in achieving their goals (Gorbunovs, Kapenieks, & Cakula, 2016).
Self-Motivation and Weight Loss
Very often, self-motivation is a key component of weight loss. Research on the connection between the two is quite clear.
In multiple studies, researchers found that participants who reported greater autonomy support and self-determined motivation were more effective in losing weight, more likely to keep the weight off for longer periods of time, and more positive about their weight loss journey (Teixeira, Silva, Mata, Palmeira, & Markland, 2012).
When we have our own closely held reasons for wanting to lose weight—and these reasons are based on personal fulfillment rather than meeting external standards—we are much more likely to find success.
17 Activities, Exercises, and Worksheets for Self-Motivation (PDFs)
If you are looking for more specific and practical ways to improve self-motivation, you’ll be happy to know that there are tons of resources out there for you.
Check out the activities, exercises, and worksheets below to find ways to enhance your self-motivation. Or, share these resources with your clients to help them get self-motivated.
Quick and Easy Motivation Techniques
Some techniques and exercises are more difficult than others. If you’re looking for a quick and easy exercise or activity to boost your self-motivation, try these:
Listen to motivational music, like: a. Bill Conti’s Gonna Fly Now; b. Paul Engemann’s Push it to the Limit; c. Queen’s We Will Rock You; d. Kenny Loggins’ Danger Zone; e. ACDC’s Thunderstruck.
Watch a motivational movie, like: a. Forrest Gump; b. The Pursuit of Happyness; c. Life is Beautiful; d. Rain Man; e. The Family Man.
Read books that boost motivation from authors like: a. Napoleon Hill; b. Brian Tracy; c. Tony Robbins; d. Jim Rohn (Mueller, 2012).
Stronger Motivational Techniques
If you need techniques with a bit more power, you can try these:
Set wisely chosen and deeply personal goals that you are excited about working toward;
Schedule rewards for yourself when you accomplish your goals (or when you make steps toward your goals, for the larger ones);
Visualize yourself achieving and fulfilling these goals;
Create a vision board with your goals, aims, and dreams in mind, and post it somewhere you will see it often;
Pay attention to your “hierarchy of needs” (à la Abraham Maslow) and ensure you are meeting your lower-level needs (including physiological needs like food and sleep, safety needs, social needs, and esteem needs);
Consider using Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), the study linking neurology, language, and programming to understand human experience and motivation;
Envision what could happen when you reach your goals, as well as what could happen when you fail to reach your goals;
Incorporate things you are interested in and engage your curiosity when setting and working toward your goals;
Make a commitment to someone or something to ensure your future self will find it difficult to change plans or put things off (Mueller, 2012).
Self-Motivation Workbook (PDF)
This workbook is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to develop self-motivation.
It contains 23 pages of self-motivation information, activities, and exercises to help you find the drive within yourself that’s needed to achieve your goals.
This PDF from Texas Christian University’s Institute of Behavior Research offers many useful handouts and worksheets on motivation, along with some instructions for how to use them and suggestions for implementing change-focused counseling and coaching (Bartholomew, Dansereau, & Simpson, 2006).
It breaks things down into four parts:
The Art of Self-Motivation;
Making It Second Nature.
All four parts contain great resources, but the Art of Self-Motivation section includes some really useful handouts and worksheets, including:
Motivation and Change handout (page 28);
Taking a Hard Look – Pros and Cons (page 29);
Target Log (page 30).
Some of the resources in this PDF are targeted to people who are recovering from addiction, but it’s easy enough to alter and adapt them for more general use.
Meditation to Help Stop Procrastination (guided meditation from Jason Stephenson that’s about one half-hour);
Guided Meditation—Motivation (11-minute guided meditation from Minds with Integrity);
10 Minute Meditation for Motivation and Building a Positive Mindset (10-minute guided meditation from The Mindful Movement);
Guided Meditation—Increase Motivation and Confidence (nine-minute guided meditation from Michael Mackenzie at Project Meditation).
Self-Motivation Quizzes, Questionnaires, and Tests
There are several fun quizzes and questionnaires you can use to explore your level of self-motivation. They aren’t all rigorous and validated instruments, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be helpful.
Self-Motivation Quiz From Richard Step
You can find this quick five-minute quiz from Richard Step at this link. It includes 45 questions rated on a three-point scale (with Rarely, Maybe, and A Lot as the three options).
You can take it with a focus on your life in general, or you can narrow your focus to one of several areas, including:
Academics and schoolwork;
Career growth and change;
Entrepreneurship and self-employment;
Faith and spirituality;
Fitness and health;
Goal setting and completion;
Helping other people;
Hobbies and casual interests;
“I was asked to take the test”;
Just for fun or curiosity;
Leadership and management;
Life purpose and passions;
Marriage and relationships
Money and wealth;
Retirement and legacy living
Self-discovery and development;
Shopping and spending;
Teaching and training others;
Teamwork and team-building;
Your results from this quiz will help you determine what makes you tick and what your main motivators are.
Motivation Style Quiz
If you want to learn what type of incentives you are most responsive to, this quiz from Martha Beck at Oprah.com can help. It includes only 10 questions with five response options each, so it’s a quick and easy way to discover your motivation style.
Your results will be presented via a score on the five different motivator types:
Scores can range from 1 to 10, with higher scores indicating that something is a greater motivator for you. Anything with a score of 6 or higher can be considered one of your major motivators, while anything below 3 is only minimally important. Your main motivational style is the component with the highest score.
Along with your scores, you will see descriptions of each motivation style to get an idea of what your “type” is like.
The Self-Motivation Inventory
For a slightly more research-backed scale of self-motivation, you might want to consider the Self-Motivation Inventory. This inventory will help you determine your level of self-motivation and whether you’re driven more by internal or external motivators.
It includes 30 items rated on a scale from 1 (less true) to 5 (more true), dependent on how well you feel each item describes you.
A few sample items include:
I frequently think about how good I will feel when I accomplish what I have set out to do;
If asked about what motivates me to succeed, I would say that the number one factor is a sense of personal fulfillment, that I gave my all and did my best;
When I think about the reward for doing something, the first thing I think about is the sense of accomplishment or achievement;
On several occasions, I have given myself a consequence for making a poor or less optimal decision. For instance, if I chose to eat an extra helping of dessert, I tell myself to work out an extra 10 minutes at the gym;
Even if something makes me feel slightly nervous or uncomfortable, I typically do not have much trouble getting myself to do it.
When you have answered all 30 questions, total your responses for your overall score. Your score will place you within one of the following categories:
Total Score 113-150: highly self-motivated;
Total Score 75-112: somewhat self-motivated;
Total Score 38-74: slightly self-motivated (perhaps in one or two areas, but not overall);
Total Score 0-37: not at all self-motivated (more externally motivated).
This inventory was developed by Milana Leshinsky and Larina Kase, and you can find it at this link.
Apps for Increasing Self-Motivation
If you’ve committed to becoming more self-motivated and working toward your goals, these seven smartphone apps can help you get started and maintain your drive:
DayOneApp: This journaling app allows you to add pictures, local weather data, and geo-location to each journal entry (iOS and Android);
MyFitnessPal: This food- and exercise-focused app helps determine the calories and overall nutrition of the food you eat and records your exercise activity (iOS and Android);
Unstuck: This helpful app provides you with access to digital coaches, tips, and advice to help you find motivation, make decisions, and solve problems (iOS and Android);
Happier: This positivity app encourages you to collect positive moments and experiences throughout your day and add them to your “mental Rolodex,” helping you cultivate positivity, optimism, and gratitude (currently iOS only);
Brightest: This self-improvement app is intended to help you “shape up your home and simplify your life” with guidelines and tips on things like organization, cleaning, and do-it-yourself projects that will remove the clutter from your (mental and physical) space (iOS and Android);
Headout: This app shares exciting, last-minute deals on fun experiences, including nearby activities, events, and tours. Make sure you make time to rest and relax in addition to all the work (iOS and Android);
Coach.me: This app acts as a sort of digital coach by posing powerful questions that will help you narrow down your desires, set goals, and stay open-minded and on track (iOS and Android) (Boss, 2016).
6 Images to Inspire Self-Motivation
Similarly, sometimes a motivational poster, meme, or image can work wonders for your self-motivation. Below are six of my favorite motivation-related images.
The Classic Road Sign
I don’t know about you, but there’s something that calls to me in this image: the blue sky and clouds, the angle encouraging us to look up, and “Motivation” in big letters. For some reason, it just works!
Looking at this image makes me think about life as a journey and motivation as an important piece of that journey. If we want to reach our next destination, we need to put forth some effort to make it happen. And when we do, seeing that big road sign welcoming us can often be reward enough.
Yes I Can
The Yes I Can image also points out that the best motivation is self-motivation; as we’ve learned in this piece, that is truly the case. When we are motivated for our own internal reasons and committed to reach our goals for personal fulfillment rather than meeting the standards of others, we are more likely to succeed.
Sometimes, all we need is a quick reminder that “Yes I can!” Keep this image handy, especially when you’re working towards a particularly challenging goal, and it might give you the boost of motivation you need to stay on track.
I Cannot Change Yesterday, But I Can Change Today
The message of this image is such an important point to remember, especially for those of us who struggle with leaving the past where it belongs: in the past.
It can be all too easy to dwell on past experiences, mistakes you’ve made, and roads that you should have taken. However, that does nothing to improve your current state. It’s good to reflect on what has brought you to where you are today, but letting worry, shame, embarrassment, and self-doubt based on your past creep into your present is a sure recipe for failure.
Remember that yesterday is done and gone—you can’t change it, so there’s no point dwelling on it. Take your lessons learned and apply them to something you can change: today.
What Matters Most Is How You See Yourself
This is another classic image in self-motivation and self-esteem, probably because it has a kitten in it. Kittens make for popular images.
Besides being cute, it also gets an important point across: The most important thing is the view you have of yourself. What other people think simply doesn’t matter most of the time. It’s what you think and feel about yourself that drives your behavior.
If you want to stay motivated and achieve your long-term goals, make sure to work on your sense of self-esteem and self-efficacy. See the best in yourself when you look in the mirror, and you’ll ensure that the best in yourself is what you manifest through your actions.
This exhilarating (and potentially anxiety-inducing) image reminds us that what seems impossible is sometimes very possible. Of course, some things are truly impossible, based on things like gravity and the laws of nature, but this image isn’t about those things. It’s about things that seem impossible until you actually try them.
Challenge yourself to try something that seems impossible, giving it at least one solid attempt. You may be surprised at the outcome.
Don’t Worry, You Got This
This meme is both adorable and motivational. Featuring a tiny hedgehog in a victorious pose, this is a great image to go to when you’re in need of self-motivation combined with light-heartedness and humor. It can sometimes give a boost that simply can’t be found in more solemn inspirational quotes.
Looking at the cute little hedgehog and telling yourself, “You got this!” might be enough to get yourself in the frame of mind to take on a new challenge with enthusiasm and a smile.
15 Recommended Movies to Get Yourself Motivated
If you’re a cinephile, you might find movies a good source of motivation.
If so, this list of 15 motivational movies (along with the movies listed above) might be enough to give you a boost:
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962);
The Shawshank Redemption (1994);
Queen of Katwe (2016);
Apollo 13 (1995);
The Queen (2006);
The African Queen (1951);
Field of Dreams (1989);
My Life as a Zucchini (2016);
The Finest Hours (2016);
Begin Again (2013);
Sing Street (2016).
To see descriptions of the motivational power of these movies, read Samuel R. Murrian’s (2017) article here.
TED Talks, Speeches, and Videos on Self-Motivation
Don’t have time for a full-length feature film? That’s okay! There are also tons of great TED Talks and YouTube videos on self-motivation. Check out any of the videos listed below to learn more about self-motivation:
The Psychology of Self-Motivation by Scott Geller
Psychology Professor Scott Gellar (mentioned earlier in this article) explains how to become more self-motivated in this inspiring TEDx Talk.
How Can We Become More Self-Motivated by Kyra G.
Thirteen-year-old Kyra shares in this TEDxYOUTH talk how to be motivated by setting goals and looking up to positive role models.
Self Motivation by Brendan Clark
Another young TEDxYOUTH speaker, Brendan Clark shares his own philosophies on motivation and success in this video.
Self-Motivation Techniques: Your Reason Why by Profound Self Improvement
This video can help you build self-motivation by finding a powerful reason to accomplish your goals.
7 Books on Self-Motivation
Of course, there’s always the old-fashioned option to learn more about self-motivation: reading.
Check out these excellent books on self-motivation if you want an in-depth look at the topic:
Why We Do What We Do: Understanding Self-Motivation by Edward L. Deci and Richard Flaste (Amazon);
The Self-Motivation Handbook by Jim Cathcart (Amazon);
Self-Theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development by Carol Dweck (Amazon);
The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard (Amazon);
The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win by Jeff Haden (Amazon);
No Excuses! The Power of Self-Discipline by Brian Tracy (Amazon);
The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives by William Stixrud and Ned Johnson (Amazon).
A Take-Home Message
In this piece, we covered what self-motivation is, how it fits into similar concepts in psychology, how you can boost it in yourself, and how you can encourage it in others.
It’s possible to increase self-motivation, and in turn, to increase your productivity and success. Hopefully, this article gave you some techniques and tools for achieving this.
What’s your take on self-motivation? What works best for you? Do you find yourself motivated more by external rewards or by internal drives? Did you find that your motivation differs in different areas of life? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Courtney Ackerman, MSc., is a graduate of the positive organizational psychology and evaluation program at Claremont Graduate University. She is currently working as a researcher for the State of California and her professional interests include survey research, well-being in the workplace, and compassion.
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What makes people successful? This question has mystified people since humans first became dissatisfied with cave dwellings and tried to find some way to make life more comfortable. Perhaps the following comparisons between the characteristics of a person who fails and a successful person will help answer the question.
Successful people know precisely what they desire, have a plan for getting it, believe in their ability to get it, and devote a major portion of their time to acquiring it. The person who fails has no definite purpose in life, believes that all success is the result of “luck,” and moves on his or her own initiative only when forced to do so.
Successful people think before they speak. They weigh their words carefully. And they emphasize their likes concerning people, minimizing their dislikes or not mentioning them at all. The unsuccessful person does just the opposite. He or she speaks first, thinks later. His or her words bring only regret and embarrassment and cost him or her irretrievable benefits because of the resentment they engender.
Successful people express opinions only after having informed themselves so they can do so intelligently. The person who fails expresses opinion on subjects about which he or she has little or no knowledge.
Successful people budget time, income and expenditures. They live within their means. The person who fails squanders time and income with a contemptuous disregard for their value.
Successful people take a keen interest in people, especially those with whom they have something in common, and cultivate a bond of friendship with them. The unsuccessful person cultivates only those from whom he or she wants something.
Successful people are open-minded and tolerant on all subjects, toward all people. The person who fails has a closed mind, steeped in intolerance, which shuts him or her off from the recognition of favorable opportunities and the friendly cooperation of others.
Successful people keep abreast of the times and make it an important responsibility to know what is going on, not only in their own business, profession or community, but also throughout the entire world. The unsuccessful person concerns him or herself only with his or her immediate needs, requiring them by whatever means are available–fair or foul.
Successful people keep their minds and outlook on life positive at all times. They recognize that the space they occupy in the world and the success they enjoy depend upon the quantity and quality of service they render. They make it a habit to render more service than they promise. The person who fails looks for “something for nothing” or something under the table, which he or she did not earn. And when he or she fails to get it, he or she blames the greed of others.
Successful people have a keen respect for their Creator and express it frequently through prayers and deeds of helpfulness to others. The unsuccessful believes in nothing but his or her own desire for food and shelter and seeks those at the expense of others when and where he or she can.
All in all, there is a big difference in both the words and the deeds of the successful person and the person who fails. But all people are where they are and what they are because of their own mental attitudes toward themselves and others.
10 Success-Boosting Motivation Tips From Millionaire Entrepreneurs
Nearly anything is possible but almost nothing is easy.
Motivation is a daily struggle for entrepreneurs, so I’ve put together these motivation-boosting tips from 10 of today’s successful entrepreneurs.
1. Fear of failure.
In an article that he wrote for Bloomberg, Mark Cuban stated that he uses the fear of failure for self-motivation.
“No matter what business you’re in, you’re always at risk — particularly in technology, where it changes so rapidly you’ve got to put in the effort to keep up,” writes the Shark Tank panel member. “There’s always the opportunity for some 18-year-old to come out of nowhere and crush you—that motivates the hell out of me.”
“Every one of my companies, whether something I started or something I invested in, is a scoreboard. How am I doing? A lot of investors or advisers play it as a numbers game.”
“If they invest in 20 companies, as long as one success covers 19 losses, they did OK. I look at every loss as a huge failure. I had an investment go bad recently. I lost $1.5 million on it. It pisses me off to no end.”
Failed at something? Ask these Mark Cuban questions.
“You can also use it as motivation. What did I do wrong? Who did I trust that I shouldn’t trust? What can I learn from this situation so I can avoid it next time?”
2. Do what you’re passionate for.
This is the key. However, as Chalmers Brown, co-founder and CTO of Due writes, “We want to not only make a lot of money but enjoy what we do as well. We are willing to take on the risk of unstable pay in exchange for following our dreams.”
“Unfortunately, your dream job may not always be the best decision financially. Sometimes your hobbies are best kept as projects in your spare time for fun (which is great!). If you do want to try to turn your passion into a full-time job, these tips can help you get started the right way.”
Brown gives the tips below:
Improve something that you’re already doing.
Figuring out where market.
Sharing your passion with others.
Stay happy and motivated by assigning tasks that you’re not a fan of to someone else.
3. Keep affirmations where you can see them.
“It’s so easy as an entrepreneur to get sucked into feeling exhausted or frustrated, and often the blame is yours alone,” writes Murray Newlands, founder of online invoicing company Sighted. “But a negative mindset sucks up mental bandwidth and energy that you need to stay focused and successful.
“It is crucial to maintain an optimistic attitude in the face of setbacks. Whenever you see a quote or a picture that helps you stay positive, place it front and center so you can remember what this journey is all about.”
4. Leverage the power of rejection.
“On June 26, 2008, our friend Michael Seibel introduced us to seven prominent investors in Silicon Valley. We were attempting to raise $150,000 at a $1.5M valuation. That means for $150,000 you could have bought 10 percent of Airbnb.”
“Below you will see five rejections. The other two did not reply,” writes Airbnb Co-Founder Brian Chesky on Medium. “The investors that rejected us were smart people, and I am sure we didn’t look very impressive at the time.”
Today Airbnb is valued at just under $30 billion.
5. Surround yourself with highly successful and motivated people.
“No one does it alone,” said Mark Zuckerberg during a Q&A in 2016. “When you look at most big things that get done in the world, they’re not done by one person, so you’re going to need to build a team.”
When building your All-Star team, seek out people who excel in the areas where you’re not strong or have less experience. “You’re going to need people that have complementary skills,” Zuckerberg emphasized. “No matter how talented you are, there are just going to be things that you don’t bring to the table.”
6. Never feel sorry yourself.
“All of my best successes came on the heels of a failure, so I’ve learned to look at each belly flop as the beginning of something good,” said Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group and Shark on Shark Tank.
“If you just hang in there, you’ll find that something is right around the corner. It’s that belief that keeps me motivated. I’ve learned not to feel sorry for myself, ever. Just five minutes of feeling sorry for yourself takes your power away and makes you unable to see the next opportunity.”
7. Look for inspiration.
Inspiration is a driving force that you can use to motivate you. Lyft Co-Founder Jordan Zimmerman said that, “Right now, my daughter is a huge inspiration. Thinking about the future of our cities, the world and what environment she’s going to grow up in.”
“Also, the driver and passenger stories we hear every day. In a past team meeting, we had a mother come in and tell the story herself. She is a Lyft driver living in New York and her daughter is in Los Angeles.
“The daughter was going through a rough living situation with a roommate and had to leave and move into a new place. The mother called a Lyft for her daughter, had a quick conversation with the driver and the driver took care of her daughter in this tough situation.”
“These stories inspire us to think how we can make things more efficient and create a platform for two people to have a really positive interaction?”
8. Don’t obsess over your vision.
Yes. Think about your vision. But don’t spend too much time over it or it will bog you down. Elon Musk, for example, only spends around 30 minutes a week on his vision of SpaceX colonizing Mars. Besides those 30 minutes, Musk spends a majority of his time focused on the milestones that are the most immediate and critical.
9. Be grateful.
“Most of the time when people ask me about motivation, 80 percent of the time I attribute it to gratitude. If you want real fuel to win, be grateful,” writes Gary Vaynerchuk.
“Gratitude is what has gotten me through my toughest moments in business. Whenever I have lost a deal to a competitor, or an incredible employee, or millions of dollars in revenue, I default to gratitude. It’s impossible not to stay motivated or get too down when you’re feeling grateful.”
10. Forget about motivation.
“So many people wait to feel ‘motivated’ before they do anything. Here’s a newsflash: happy productive people do not wait for motivation, they just get on with it,” said Marie Forleo. I suggest that you watch the entire video where Marie shares her tips for motivation. It’s spot-on.
3 Effective Strategies to Help You Stop Procrastinating
Do you struggle with procrastination or a lack of focus in life?
Are you sick and tired of waking up in the morning full of hopes for things you want to complete… but by the time you go to bed they haven’t been done?
Would you like the ability to get important tasks complete without ever putting them off?
If so, then you need to keep reading. In this article I’m going to teach you three of the most effective strategies that will help you to stop procrastinating, and empower you to get more done with your life.
1 – Create a Daily To-Do List
One of the most effective strategies you can deploy when attempting to beat procrastination is to have a daily to-do list, which lets you know in advance everything you need to complete on any given day.
The benefits of using a to-do list are immense:
You’ll waste less time each day, as you know in advance what needs to be completed.
Fighting back against procrastination becomes easier, as you have a clear target to reach.
Important work won’t be ignored – with a good to-do list, it becomes almost impossible to forget tasks or duties.
So every night before you go to bed, grab a pen and paper and write down a checklist of tasks you want to complete the following day.
These can be work-related, errands, or personal items like going to the gym or practicing a musical instrument.
But here is where the hard part comes in – whatever you write down on your list, you must ensure you complete by the end of the day. This will condition you to take action, and make personal productivity a habit.
Train your mind to make taking action a habit (by ensuring that you complete your daily to-do list) and you’ll never struggle with procrastination again.
2 – Break Tasks Down Into Smaller Chunks
Here’s a tip for young players – just about anything you could ever hope to do in life can be broken down into a bunch of different parts.
Use this universal truth to make taking action (and beating procrastination) much easier.
Many times you will procrastinate a task because it seems like too big of a mountain to climb. However, if you visualize it as a series of smaller steps – and tackle it in the same manner – then you’ll soon discover just how much easier it is to get started.
If there’s a task you find yourself procrastinating, then go back to the drawing board and look for ways you can break it down into more manageable chunks.
For example, imagine you are putting off a big essay that is due in a week. The scope of what you need to achieve in such a short space of time is terrifying… and you’re frozen like a deer in the headlights as you wonder how you will ever manage to finish it.
But what if you start thinking of that essay as a whole bunch of smaller parts? There’s the research – you can polish that off in an evening – and then writing the introduction, which shouldn’t take you more than an hour. A day or two will suffice to complete the main argument paragraphs (or you could even break these down into their own mini-tasks). All that’s left now is to write the conclusion and proofread/edit.
As you can see from the above example, when you break tasks down into smaller parts they become so much more manageable. This makes it easier to start, and harder to procrastinate.
3 – Prepare Properly to Prevent Poor Performance (and Procrastination)
When I was in high school, I had a history teacher who loved reminding the class “proper preparation prevents poor performance” (his so-called Five P’s strategy).
He was absolutely, totally, resoundingly right.
Proper preparation does prevent poor performance. And proper preparation can also prevent procrastination.
One of the biggest causes of procrastination is the fear of failure (or, at the very least, the fear of not doing as well as you had hoped … which is most likely to be a problem if you are a perfectionist).
When you fear failure and its consequences, you become naturally inclined to procrastinate. This is because procrastination is a cathartic means of avoiding the potential to fail; your mind tells you that if you put off a task you can’t be seen to fail it, and therefore, you can avoid any of the negative consequences.
So what’s the solution?
You need to prepare adequately for any task you want to undertake. When you know you’ve prepared properly, you can then minimize the risk of poor performance. In turn, you will be inclined to take action and get things done, thereby beating procrastination.
What constitutes adequate preparation will vary depending on the task(s) you need to complete. But whatever it is you want to do – and avoid procrastinating – you should arm yourself with the tools, resources, and knowledge you need to complete it.
To recap, in this article you have learned a number of effective techniques that will help you to defeat procrastination and manage your time better.
However, the usefulness of any of these strategies depends on one factor – your willingness to force yourself to take action.
I’ve provided you with the tools, but it’s up to you to finish the job. Use the lessons you have learned today, in conjunction with your own desire to achieve great things in life, and banish procrastination forever.
Positive thinking is a mental and emotional attitude that focuses on optimistic and positive thoughts and expects positive results.
People with positive thinking mentality look at the bright side of life and anticipate happiness, health and success. Such people, are confident that they can overcome any obstacle and difficulty they might face.
Positive thinking is not a concept that everyone believes and follows. Some, consider it as nonsense, and scoff at people who believe in it. However, there is a growing number of people, who accept the power of positive thinking as a fact, and believe in its effectiveness.
This subject is gaining popularity, as evidenced by the many books, lectures and courses about it.
To take advantage of the power of positive thinking in your life, you need to do more than just be aware of its existence or believe in it. You need to adopt the attitude of positive thinking in everything you do.
Who brought this concept to public awareness?
Norman Vincent Peale was an American minister and author, who popularized the concept of positive thinking, especially through his book ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’, which was published in 1952.
In his book, which is still popular nowadays, he provided practical instructions designed to help the reader achieve an optimistic attitude. His techniques involved using affirmations and visualizations.
How the Power Positive Thinking Works
The following stories illustrate how the power of positive thinking works.
Richard applied for a new job, but he didn’t believe he will get it, since his self-esteem was low, and he considered himself as a failure and unworthy of success.
He had a negative attitude toward himself, and therefore, believed that the other applicants were better and more qualified than him.
Richard’s mind was occupied with negative thoughts and fears concerning the job, for the whole week preceding the job interview. He actually, anticipated failure.
On the day of the interview, he got up late, and to his horror he discovered that the shirt he planned to wear was dirty, and the other one needed ironing. As it was already too late, he went out wearing a wrinkled shirt and without eating breakfast.
During the interview, Richard was tense, negative, hungry and worried about his shirt. All this, distracted his mind and made it difficult for him to focus on the interview. His overall behavior made a bad impression, and consequently, he materialized his fear and did not get the job.
The second story is about Jim, who applied for the same job too, but approached the matter in a different way. He was sure and confident that he was going to get the job and had a good measure of self-esteem.
During the week preceding the interview, Jim often visualized himself making a good impression and getting the job. He also and repeated affirmations to that effect.
In the evening before the interview, he prepared the clothes he was going to wear, and went to sleep a little earlier. On day of the interview, he woke up earlier than usual, and had ample time to eat breakfast, and then to arrive to the interview before the scheduled time.
Who eventually got the job? It was Jim, because he made a good impression, and therefore, was hired for the job.
What do we learn from these two stories?
Was there any magic used?
No, everything happened in a natural way. The difference was in attitude, behavior and approach.
Want to succeed in whatever you do? Learn to think positive and expect successful results. Adopt a positive attitude. Do not give up on your dreams!
Positive Thinking Is a Way of Life
With a positive attitude we experience pleasant and happy feelings. This brings brightness to the eyes, more energy, and happiness. Our whole being broadcasts good will, happiness and success. Even our health is affected in a beneficial way. We walk tall, our voice is more powerful, and our body language shows the way we feel.
Positive and negative thinking are contagious.
We affect, and are affected by the people we meet, in one way or another. This happens instinctively and on a subconscious level, through words, thoughts and feelings, and through body language.
Is it any wonder that we want to be around positive people and prefer to avoid negative people?
People are more disposed to help us, if we are positive and in a good mood. Most people dislike and avoid anyone broadcasting negativity.
Negative thoughts, words and attitude, create negative and unhappy feelings, moods and behavior. When the mind is negative, poisons are released into the blood, which cause more unhappiness and negativity. This is the way to failure, frustration and disappointment.
The Benefits of Positive Outlook
A positive mental attitude affects many aspects of life in a favorable way. It affects career and success, health and state of mind, and everything else in every area of your life.
It has a good effect on your mental health and emotional health, because it makes you more confident and happy, and therefore, less worried and anxious.
This kind of mindset reduces stress and anxiety. Less stress and anxiety means better immunity system and improved physical health.
It makes you more optimistic, friendly and considerate, and this of course, can improve your relations with people.
With this attitude, you program your mind to be aware of opportunities to improve your life, and you have the confidence to take advantage of these opportunities.
With this mental outlook, you feel more motivated, and can more easily motivate people to improve themselves and their life.
With a positive frame of mind there is faster recuperation, both physically and emotionally.
This kind of outlook is one of the main keys to success, since you expect only constructive results, and no other option.
Focusing on positive thoughts awakens positive emotions and contributes to making people happy people.
Obtaining the above mentioned results requires some training of the mind and changing its focus from negativity to positivity. There are various techniques that can help you make this shift.
Harnessing the Power of Positive Thinking
In order to turn the mind toward the positive, some inner work is required, since attitude and thoughts do not change overnight.
Here are a few instructions and tips for harnessing this power and using it effectively:
Read books and articles about this topic, think about its benefits, and persuade yourself to try it.
Realize that the power of your thoughts is a mighty power that is always shaping your life. This is usually a subconscious process, but it is possible to make the process a conscious one. Even if the idea seems strange to you, give it a try. Strive being more conscious of what is going on in your mind.
It might happen that friends or family members might try to dissuade you from changing your attitude and way of thinking. If this happens, ignore what say or think about you.
Use your imagination to visualize only favorable and beneficial situations.
Once a negative thought enters your mind, you have to be aware of it, and strive to replace it with a constructive one.
If the negative thought returns, replace it again with a positive one. It is as if there are two pictures in front of you, and you have to choose to look at one of them, and disregard the other. Persistence will eventually teach your mind to think positively and ignore negative thoughts.
In case you experience inner resistance and difficulties when replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, do not give up, but keep looking only at the beneficial, good and happy thoughts in your mind.
It doesn’t matter what your circumstances are at the present moment. Think positively, expect only favorable results and situations, and circumstances will change accordingly. If you persevere, you will transform the way your mind thinks. It might take some time for the changes to take place, but eventually they will.
Add constructive, optimistic, helpful and encouraging words to your conversations. While thinking, strive to use such words too, to drive away negative thoughts and negative words.
In this way, you will change your mindset from negative to positive, and your life will change accordingly. This will also make you more popular and liked by the people around you and the people you meet.
“Few things in the world are more powerful than a positive push. A smile. A world of optimism and hope. A ‘you can do it’ when things are tough.”–Richard M. DeVos
“If you have a positive attitude and constantly strive to give your best effort, eventually you will overcome your immediate problems and find you are ready for greater challenges.”–Pat Riley
“Don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart.”–Roy T. Bennett
“Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.”–Anthony J. D’Angelo
“Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.”–Gail Devers
“It’s not the situation, but whether we react negative or respond positive to the situation that is important.”–Zig Ziglar
“Adopting a really positive attitude can work wonders to adding years to your life, a spring to your step, a sparkle to your eye, and all of that.”–Christie Brinkley
The other articles at this website, about the power of concentration, willpower, self-discipline and peace of mind, also contribute to the development of a positive mind, and are recommended for reading and practicing.
Remez Sasson is the author and creator of Success Consciousness website. He is the author of books and articles that motivate and help people to improve their life, achieve success, gain inner strength and inner peace, and become more positive and happy.
Whether you are a Realtor, Financial Planner, Residential Loan Officer, Accountant, or Entrepreneur you can start a lucrative career in Business and Commercial Real Estate finance.
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How to Enjoy Your Life When it Doesn’t go as Planned
“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell
I didn’t plan this – the life I have. It’s supposed to be different. For the last five years, I’ve felt confused and disappointed.
I couldn’t believe that the challenges I met in life didn’t depend on my choices. I thought that my wrong decisions were because of bad luck.
When life doesn’t go as planned…
But what if it’s all nonsense and there are no reasons? What if there is no explanation? What if it’s just a chain of random events that have nothing in common with destiny?
It’s too scary to admit that life could be out of our control. But you should do it if you want to live and not just exist. So what do you do when life doesn’t go as planned?
5 Things to remember when life doesn’t go as planned
1. Life happens and it isn’t always about us.
Whenever I search the web for words of comfort, I realize I’m not the only one. Lots of people are frightened or feel anxious. In worst cases, some folks will even shift the responsibility to something or someone else just so they can avoid blame.
No matter what we believe in, we still want the same things, such as acceptance. When life doesn’t go as planned, we can’t allow ourselves to wallow in self-pity or wait for windfall to come.
Who knows, maybe in the grand scheme of the universe, we had no purpose all along. So create your own mission! Life can happen. Accept what you have for the moment and learn to appreciate it.
One person buys a house with a backyard you’ve always dreamt of but you can’t because you’re financially strapped. Someone else marries the love of their life, and you haven’t yet—due to unexpected or unfortunate circumstances.
Whether you believe in luck or not, misfortune happens all the time – often, even to good people. We can’t change that. It’s the world we live in.
We deal with these things the best way we know how (either smiling or crying). But it’s the choices we make that are important.
3. Change your heading.
You tried to stick to the route but your devices broke down. You don’t know what’s next. Are you going to panic? No way! Let your fears go and discover. Life is so incredibly diverse that you’ll never get bored exploring it.
However, to truly enjoy it you need to adhere to one crucial condition – no questions. Stop asking yourself WHY life doesn’t go as planned. This question has no answer. If you want to make the most out of life, just continue.
Do not sit on the ruins of your dreams whining and pitying yourself. Use the resources you have to live the life that is happening right now.
5. Stop wasting your life and do the things you want now.
Yes, your life doesn’t mean a lot to the Universe – but it does to you. You are the only person who really cares. So why on Earth do you keep wasting it? Turn around. There are many other doors.
You are the one who makes your life meaningful. When your life doesn’t go as planned, change your perspective but do not stop dreaming.
Let yourself do things you’ve always postponed. Try yourself in art, sports, handicrafts, etc. Travel. Volunteer. Learn.
Do things you’ve always thought about doing but never had the chance to begin. There is no reason to wait. Life is happening right now. So leave the auditorium and go on stage — the performance can’t start without the lead.
We all know that motivation is important in everyone’s life, but what it is? What are the ways to strengthen it?
What Is Motivation?
Let’s first define what is motivation.
It is the inner power that pushes you toward taking action and toward achievement.
It is the strong desire to do and accomplish something that you find important.
It is the zest, drive, energy, and the fire burning inside you that keeps you going toward a certain goal.
It is the power that makes you wake up each morning with energy, ready to start your day and work to accomplish your goals.
Motivation means enthusiasm, eagerness, passion and interest.
Motivation is ambition, and the desire to do and accomplish things.
Motivation is powered by desire and ambition, and therefore, if they are absent, motivation is absent too.
Motivation is often triggered by external factors, such as the example of successful people, a movie, a book, a certain event or a pep talk. These factors awaken the desire to do something follow a dream or just carry a certain task.
These factors or triggers can be strong, motivating and pushing you forward long enough to accomplish what you set out to do. Sometimes, the trigger and desire wear off after a while, and you need another dose of incentive.
Sometimes, you might have the desire to get something done, or to achieve a certain goal, but if the desire and ambition are not strong enough, you lack the push, the initiative, and the willingness to take the necessary action. in these cases, you lack of motivation and inner drive.
When there is motivation, there is initiative and direction, courage, energy, and the persistence to follow your goals.
A motivated person takes action and does whatever is needed to achieve his or her goals.
Motivation becomes strong, when you have a vision, a clear mental image of what you want to achieve, and also a strong desire to manifest it. In such a situation, motivation awakens inner strength and power, and pushes you forward, toward making your vision a reality.
Motivation can be applied to every action and goal. There can be motivation to study a foreign language, to get good grades at school, bake a cake, write a poem, take a walk every day, make more money, get a better job, buy a new house, own a business, or become a writer, a doctor or a lawyer.
Motivation is present, whenever there is a clear vision, precise knowledge of what you want to do, a strong desire, and faith in your abilities.
Motivation Is One of the Most Important Keys to Success
When there is lack of motivation and incentive, you either get no results, or only mediocre ones, whereas, when there is motivation, you attain greater and better results and achievements.
Compare a student who lacks motivation and who hardly studies, to a student who is highly motivated, and who devotes many hours to his studies. Each student will get absolutely different grades.
Lack of motivation means lack of enthusiasm, zest, incentive and ambition, whereas the possession of motivation is a sign of strong desire, energy and enthusiasm, and the willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve what one sets out to do.
A motivated person is a happier person, more energetic, and sees the positive end result in his or her mind.
How to Strengthen Your Motivation
Here are a few tips on how to strengthen your motivation, so you can achieve whatever it is you want to do.
1. Set a goal. If you have a major goal, it would be a good idea if you split it into several minor goals, each small goal leading to your major goal.
By dividing your goal into several, smaller goals, you will find it easier to motivate yourself, since you will not feel overwhelmed by the size of your goal and the things you have to do. This will also help you feel that the goal is more feasible, and easier to accomplish.
2. Understand that finishing what you start is important. Hammer into your mind that whatever you start you have to finish. Develop the habit of going to the finish line.
3. Socialize with achievers and people with similar interests or goals, since motivation and positive attitude are contagious. Associate with motivated people, who share your interests.
4. Never procrastinate anything. Procrastination leads to laziness, and laziness leads to lack of motivation.
5. Persistence, patience and not giving up, despite failure and difficulties, keep the flame of motivation burning.
6. Read about the subjects of your interest. This will keep your enthusiasm and ambition alive.
7. Constantly, affirm to yourself that you can, and will succeed.
8. Look at photos of things you want to get, achieve or do. This will strengthen your desire and make your subconscious mind work with you
9. Visualize your goals as achieved, adding a feeling of happiness and joy. Do this several times a day, whenever you have the time.
10. If you find yourself worrying, if you feel lack of self-esteem, and if people criticize you, do not give in or give up. Taking things personally and feeling offended or unworthy hurt motivation, and therefore, you need to do your best to avoid them. and direct your attention elsewhere.
Remember, if a certain goal is really important, going through the above steps will strengthen your motivation, and keep you going forward.
“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” – Henry Ford
“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius
Do you want to succeed in whatever you do? Do not give up on your dreams! Learn to think positive and expect successful results. Adopt a positive attitude.
Remez Sasson is the author and creator of Success Consciousness website. He is the author of books and articles that motivate and help people to improve their life, achieve success, gain inner strength and inner peace, and become more positive and happy.
Whether you are a Realtor, Financial Planner, Residential Loan Officer, Accountant, or Entrepreneur you can start a lucrative career in Business and Commercial Real Estate finance.
Emotional Intelligence Exercise: Increase Your Self-Awareness
Knowing how we feel is part of our self-awareness. The more we are aware of our feelings, the better we can control our behaviours and understand those of others. This exercise helps delegates to become more aware of their emotions and learn to describe them. It also encourages them to think of ways to get to a target emotion, such as happiness.
Indicate how you feel now and find out as many emotions as you can.
What You Need
Blank 3” by 5” cards.
Run this exercise after a break as you are about to start a session.
When the delegates come in, ask them “How do you feel?”. Invariably, most people would say they are fine.
Once everyone is sited, explain that you just asked everyone if they were fine. Ask, “Why do we almost always say we are fine, even though when we are not?”
Expand the conversation based on the responses you get. Use the following as example questions:
“Do you find it easy to talk about your feelings?”
“What makes it hard to talk about your feelings?”
“Can you consciously shift your feelings from one to another?”
Explain that it is beneficial to know the range of feeling a person can experience so you are aware of how else you can feel and how others might be feeling at any given moment. You can then take steps to change the way you feel.
Place the blank cards as a stack for everyone to access.
Ask all delegates to work together to identify as many emotions as they can and write one emotion on each card.
Ask delegates to spread these cards on a table so everyone can see them. This helps them to avoid making duplicates.
Encourage them to move around the table and get inspired by emotions already written down to find more emotions.
Allocate about 10 minutes for this part.
Collect the cards and place them upside down on the table, either as a stack or spread them out.
Ask each delegate to pick two cards at random.
One by one, ask delegate to reveal their cards and explain what it takes to get from one state to another. If they are negative emotions, what does it take to get to a positive state?
After the explanation, encourage others to join and provide their answers as well.
Repeat until everyone has participated.
Follow with a discussion.
Explaining the Exercise: 0 minutes
Activity: 10 min PART 1 + 10 min PART 2 + 15 min PART 3 = 35 minutes
Group Feedback: 10 minutes
Do you think you came up with many emotions? Was it easy? Are you surprised there are so many emotions? Was it easy to switch from one emotion to another?
List of Emotions
Here are some examples of emotions for your reference: