Archive | May 2017

Motivation is at the Core of Success

(So how do you get more of it?)

If I asked you to create a list of traits and skills that make people successful, I’m sure you could name quite a few.

On the list might be things like effective communication, self-awareness, time management, or the ability to network effectively, build trust, and maintain good relationships.

And you wouldn’t be incorrect.

These traits and skills are important.

I’d like to propose that at the very core of success is the motivation to go after it in the first place. At the core of obtaining any of the skills above is first to have the motivation to foster the skill in your life.

What do I mean by this? I’ll give you an example.

Numerous times I’ve heard people say to me, “I’m sure your book is good, but I’m not really a reader.”

Being “not a reader” is not an absolute truth in their lives. It is not a disease they have unfortunately contracted — though some people may act like it is.

“Not being a reader” is a choice people consciously make based in a lack of motivation.

What people are really saying in this scenario is, “I don’t want to read your book because I’m not motivated enough to do so.” (Don’t worry, I’m not offending these people — they aren’t reading this).

Please keep in mind a lack of motivation in this or any example doesn’t necessarily mean “lazy” or “bad.” A lack of motivation is not inherently bad. I have no motivation to start smoking cigarettes, and I think that’s just fine.

In the example above, the lack of motivation could stem from a lot of places — they might think I wrote a terrible book, they might have higher priority items on their list, they might not believe in the value of reading for leisure. No matter the case, there isn’t enough motivation for them to pick up the book.

I use the book example to tell you this:

People can choose to do just about anything if they are motivated enough to do so.

The issue is we, as humans, tend to convince ourselves we can’t, or won’t, or shouldn’t, and we lose motivation in areas we probably should keep it.

To stick with the reading example, I’d argue there are scenarios in which these people would be extremely motivated to read.

Here’s one example:

I’m guessing if someone said, “Hey, you’re going to die in three weeks. We know the cure for your illness is somewhere in this book, but we don’t have time to read it.”


So how do we become more motivated? How do we push ourselves to do the good, positive, meaningful things we know we should do in our lives?

Here are a few tips:

  1. Be conscious
    Quite often, we float through a day or a week or a month without putting much conscious thought into not only what we’re doing but how we should be doing it. We as humans are all guilty of this from time-to-time. One way to become more motivated is to wake up from this day-to-day grind and become mindfully aware of what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. Unless we obtain high levels of self-awareness, it will be hard to stay motivated over time.
  2. Find your why
    When you’ve begun the process of tuning in instead of tuning out, you then need to establish not only what you’re doing, but why you’re doing it. When you find your why, you give yourself more reason to continue when the road gets rough.
  3. Share your goals
    Experts go back and forth on this one, but I believe having a small group of motivated people to hold you accountable works wonders for motivation. Having a workout partner, joining a book club, or getting involved in a Bible study are all examples of areas others can hold us accountable and keep us motivated.

We can decide what we value. If we value the skills that lead us to a successful future, we will have the motivation to pursue and foster them. If we value meaningless conversations about the latest Netflix show, we will be motivated to watch said show and continue the meaningless discussions.

The choice is yours. Motivation is at the core of success in your life.

How do you stay motivated in the proper areas? I’d love to know — please share in the comments.


Why No One Cares As Much As You Do (and how you can get them to do so)

We all have ideas, beliefs, and habits we are passionate about or at least some we hold to be absolutely true (example: I believe smoking cigarettes is bad for humans).

However, when it comes to convincing others to join our side of an argument, most of us do a…how do I put this lightly?… an absolutely horrendous job.

We as humans are wired to believe the way we think just has to be the right way — after all, we wouldn’t think something if we believed we were incorrect, right? So our thoughts have to be the correct ones…right?

Ideas, beliefs, and habits can get us fired up — as we’ve clearly seen enough examples of in 2017.

But most of the time what we find is this:

When describing the things that get us fired up, not everyone around us will get as fired up as we are (and usually it is not even close).

This means we are not persuading in a way that is convincing enough for others to join our frame of thought.

So why do people not care as much as you do?

Let’s have an example first.

I have friends who are gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan, and they all have their reasons for doing so. Most are okay with (or at least tolerant of) the fact that I eat both gluten and meat just about every day, but every now and then they will try to convince me to join the bark side (that was a plant joke; sort of a stretch).

The reality is, I just don’t care as much as they do and the reason is simple:

I haven’t had the same experiences in my life as they have had.

Some of my gluten-free friends are simply gluten intolerant. They get ill when they consume gluten, which means they have an obvious reason to be passionate about a gluten-free diet. This is something to which I cannot relate.

Some of my vegan friends care deeply about animal treatment. This can be for a lot of reasons, but one of those reasons might be that they had pets growing up that they cared for deeply. I grew up with family members who hunted and fished regularly — this sets a different frame of reference.

Now please don’t get distracted and think this is a blog about gluten-free or vegetarian diets, celiac disease, or animal rights/cruelty — it is not.

This blog is about why others don’t care about certain ideas, beliefs, or habits as much as you do, and how you can be more persuasive.

The foundational point is this:

At the core of what we care about are the experiences we’ve had.

No one will care exactly like you do about anything because no one has lived exactly like you have.

I say this for two reasons — please keep these in mind if trying to persuade.

  1. Using your personal bias typically doesn’t help.
    This would be like a manager saying, “Hey employee, you should work really hard because if you hit your numbers, I’m going to get a huge bonus at the end of the year.” The manager’s enormous bonus isn’t going to do much to motivate the employee (it actually might make the employee work less hard out of spite).
  2. Gaining understanding helps others care.
    Knowing what others care about will help you tailor your message. While my gluten-free friends may not get very far telling me about how gluten is terrible for people with celiac disease (which I do not have), they might strike a chord if they talked about nutritional benefits that lead to a healthier lifestyle, higher energy levels, and increased athletic performance. When they have aligned what they care about with what I care about, they are more likely to persuade me to shift my perspective.

No matter what it is you care deeply about, you cannot expect others to care about it in the same way you do. If you are looking to convince others to care, keep in mind they have not experienced what you have experienced.

Your best ally in persuasion is asking questions.

Once you find out what others care about, you can present your passions in a way that might inspire them (even if you’re presenting a piece of the equation that is not most inspiring to you personally).

People may not care as much as you do about the important topics in your life, but if you are looking to be persuasive, check your personal bias, find out what others care about, and push yourself to speak to their passions.

You will always win more people to your way of thinking when you align your passions with theirs.

What ideas, beliefs, and habits are you passionate about and how are you bringing them into the world? It’s worth a short evaluation — you may make a small adjustment that helps you win over the skeptics with whom you interact every day.

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