TCOBaG: The Self-Starter Myth?

We are going to talk about some of those people you
may envy, those ‘I can do it by myself and for myself’
types. But, are they really all they seem to be?

I think not.

“Self-starters, a myth?”

People who know me, know me well even, are
often surprised to hear me say that I am lazy.

Yes, lazy. Me.

Lazy is my potential, and at times, it comes
out more than others.

They always say I am being modest, that I work
hard all the time, writing, speaking, teaching,
and that they do not know anyone with more drive
and that they wish they were a natural ‘self-starter’
like me.

I laugh. Lightly 🙂

No one is truly a ‘self-starter.’
MORE…

Yep. It is completely true.

Don’t knock yourself for ‘not having the drive’ or
not having the willpower (we talked about that, right?)
to stay on track, get everything done, and keep at it.

We are all, including myself, subject to pressures.

These pressures motivate us, for lack of a better term,
to go on, to do, to complete tasks, work, goals.

The difference is in where the pressure comes from.

We see people who we think are truly self-starters,
taking the initiative, not needing to be coaxed,
goaded, or pushed, to get their work or their lives
going.

What we don’t see, is how they think.

For me, I know, I can be lazy. Really lazy, and
a professional procrastinator.

I rely on certain pressures to keep me from falling
into that trap. They are not always obvious to others
but they nonetheless still exist and it is not ‘just
me’ doing the pushing.

There are always pressures.

It might only be a deadline.

The day a bill is due. Or simply knowing that you must
work, and usually work well, to get paid, in order to
pay those bills.

Maybe it is only thinking about what others might
say if you fail, or don’t deliver where you should.

Or what they might think, or even what they expect.

Maybe it is remembering the poor condition your life
was in before, remembering those pep talks you gave
yourself about how you were not going to live that
way forever.

So, you see the pressure is often internalized and
not easily seen.

But I assure you the pressure exists, and no one is
really just naturally doing all that they can.

Everyone is reacting to these pressures, external and
internal, in order to fulfill their own promise.

So, what can you do?

Find the right pressure.

Maybe you need someone to stay after you. Remind you
of your goals, your promises.

Maybe you need to reflect a bit on why you really want
to succeed, why you really must succeed. What will the
pain be like if you don’t?

Maybe you are like me, and you need a little of both 🙂

That’s okay, too.

Just find the right button to push, keep pushing it
when it is needed, and you will continue on the path
to achieving your goals.

I promise.

I am also available for ‘seat-of-the-pants-dusting’ on
occasion 🙂

Comment:
One thing to keep in mind about ‘motivation’ is that – other things, other people, and outside forces do not motivate us, we motivate ourselves.

We are responsible for taking, or not taking, action.

No outside force is capable of this.

Now, that said, if you’re hanging by your fingertips over a boiling lava pit, you will be motivated to hang on.

But, it’s not the pit motivating you. It is your own fear of the consequences and your desire to avoid them that is the true mechanism for hanging on.

Sure, that heat rising up off the pit affects you, but the motivation is strictly yours.

If you choose to act, and especially if you choose to act as though your life depends on it, you will find that you achieve more. Much more.

TCOBaG: Moments Define You

I’m hooked on this ‘time’ thing. “I don’t have enough” “there’s not enough time” . . . But it all boils down to moments. Period.

What we do with our lives, we get caught up in thinking over the long term, when actually we’re living in the short term.

What defines your life? 20 years of research? 38 years of dedicated marriage? 10 years as an undergrad in college? (was that just me? 🙂

None of those things, define your life, or at least they shouldn’t.

What defines your life is this moment, this time, right now . . .

what you are doing, what you choose to do, how you choose to act in the little moments of life, those are the things that define you.

A moment of joy, a moment of kindness, a moment of passion, or two moments if you’re lucky, a moment of being awestruck by seeing the fantastic, for me Rodan on display in Italy.

That’s what you should know, what you should think about in trying to live your life to it’s fullest. Living in, making the most of, and making a lot of ‘moments.’

In a way our society has now decided to reward some for their ‘lifetime achievements’ and that confuses us. Oscars, grammies, presidential awards, but even those are what?

A collection of moments.

Add one moment a day, and don’t call me in the morning.

TCOBaG: Japanese Realtors and Cialdini?

Could it be that “Influence” has been translated into Japanese? Could it be required reading for realtors?

I’ve been reading Robert Cialdini’s “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” and it makes me feel sooooooo foolish 🙂

How many little triggers are there that set us to doing things, sometimes that we want/need/should do?

But how many are there that we are unaware of? that lead us off into the ‘land to be fleeced’? or at least into the land of susceptibility?

I was cringing when I read the passage about the realtors using ‘dump houses’ to set clients up for the houses they really wanted to sell.

Why was I cringing?

Because I recently bought a house, in Japan, and this technique may have very well been in play . . .

Our realtor was showing us houses we requested to see. We were looking for a new house, a certain size (two small but growing boys after all need a little room, so their parents don’t eat them 🙂

One day we asked him to show us a house, that wasn’t new, and next thing we know he calls and says there’s a house a little like what we’re in the market for and he can show it to us.

The house was 5 years old, and still occupied, which kept us from running for the car within 5 minutes of arriving.

I’m sure we weren’t that good at hiding our disappointment, and our agent helped us out of there fairly quickly. When we arrived at our car, he said there was another house not too far away, a little older, but that we might as well look at since we were in the neighborhood.

We looked at it, we loved it, we bought it.

It looked great then. (fact is, it looks great now despite the fact that we’re living in it and I’m not the yard master or best gardener in the neighborhood).

I still wonder though if this wasn’t a classic, show them something pricey and crappy first, then show them the thing you really want them to buy and it will look so much better.

In any case, I’m still happy we bought the house. Would we have been so easy to persuade to buy a 15 year old house after looking at only new houses? I think not 🙂

TCOBaG: Staying on course

How do I stay on course?

While this is a big, broad topic, there are a few simple things that we can learn, and if applied, will help us in most areas of staying on course, or remaining focused.

First off we need to remember the ‘why’ factor in our goal. If we aren’t strong enough in the reasons we desire reaching a goal, it’s just not likely to happen, especially if that goal is a challenging one, and I do hope my readers are not choosing those simple, light-weight non-challenging goals, eh?

Okay, if we have a strong why, and we have our goal with a deadline, then we need only do a couple of things to keep on track and stay focused.

One, get someone to remind you. Simple, right? Two things this will do. One is that telling someone else about your goal makes you 70% more likely to follow through in order to remain consistent (that’s a whole other article, but it is coming. Promise.) You can also use software to remind you.

The second benefit of this is that you will be reminded about your goal, you will revisit the goal, and you will either stay focused on working towards your goal and attain it, or you will avoid the friend and drop the goal.

Two, ask yourself every day at the beginning of the day what you will do to further your journey on the path to your goal. Sometimes you don’t even need to answer the question at that time, but be open to it, be serious with the question, and if you don’t answer, tell yourself, “Self, give me the answer to this question later today when you’ve had time to mull it over.” This works very well to free you from stressing about it, and you will more often than not suddenly find you’ve been ‘inspired’ with a thought about your project or goal. Try it.

It really is that simple.

Here are a couple of easy tips to help you with this:

Put two notes on the corner of your computer screen, or work area, right in front of you. On one write the Question? Am I still working towards my goal? On the other write: Why do I want this goal?

Put them where you will see them, read them, and answer both questions honestly. It’s best to do this at least a couple of times a day. When you glance at the notes, answer the questions.

Every 3 or 4 days changed the notes, their position, simply reverse them, but do something to keep you from becoming complacent about seeing them, getting too comfortable and failing to notice and respond to them.

That’s it. You will see results from this technique almost immediately. Just remember to change them up occasionally and this method will continue to be useful tool for keeping you on track and focused on your goals.

TCOBag: Willpower vs. Imagination

Who is the winner when your Willpower goes head-to-head with your Imagination?

Willpower, without it, you are left wafting in the breeze, victim of any and every whim that takes you.

Ahhhhh, where did that ‘whim’ come from?

Just popped out of thin air?

That ‘whim’ usually comes from your imagination, and your mind is a powerful projector, a personal ‘movie maker.’

What makes you want to bite into that donut even though you’ve vowed to lose those extra 10 pounds? Is it really a lack of willpower?

I think not.

I think that your imagination is to blame 🙂

The key here is to focus on using your imagination to support your willpower, instead of undermining it.

When the urges strike you, don’t just grit your teeth, clamp down on something nearby and refuse to let go. This method will end in failure more often than not.

Instead, focus on your image, the one you created of the new, better, healthier, wealthier (whichever is closest to your specific goal) and let that feed your willpower.

Tell yourself, “I see myself feeling, looking better, and this donut isn’t part of that plan.” Imagine what it will feel like to obtain that goal, what you will look like, what others will say about you, think about you, or what you will think about yourself when your new goal has been reached and you’ve scratched it off your list.

Ask yourself, after I give in to this urge, how will I feel? Is that how I want to feel? Will it truly be worth it?

Then, willpower and imagination will be working together to help you instead of being locked in a cage match, winner-take-all brawl that willpower is bound to lose.