15 Minutes

Financial, Relationship and Spiritual Growth. Personal Development. Leadership.


Passion Overcomes Complacency

A human being will not take positive steps to improve their life for one simple reason: it is easier not to. All improvement requires change, and all change meets resistance. The only time there will be a change in the status quo is when desire overcomes fear and laziness.

Today, I’m writing specifically for those people that have a vague idea that they would like to improve their life in some way, but have not yet taken proactive steps toward that idea. Either because they are scared to attempt it, or not motivated to try. These are five steps to develop a passion to overcome complacency.

1. Have a goal. When you create your goal, be specific. Not: Lose weight, make more money; instead: lose fifteen pounds, earn an extra $1000/month. Not: Be more social; rather: meet two new interesting acquaintances. Little goals are fine. Start small. Everything worthwhile begins with small improvements, and the idea of a “quantum leap” to success is largely a myth.

2. Write it down. And keep it posted someplace where you see it every day. More than one spot is fine as well. The bathroom mirror is a good spot, because it is usually the first place you see yourself in the morning. So is your car dashboard if you drive every day. Your refrigerator door if you eat every day. Keep a copy in your purse or wallet.

3. Think about it all the time. Visualize yourself having already achieved your goal. Experience the emotional satisfaction in having achieved it. If you have to set aside an alarm clock to remind you to think about your goal for fifteen minutes every day, do it. All I’m asking you to do is daydream; even the most fearful and lazy person could do this step.

4. Self-Talk about it. First you should talk about it with yourself. When you are looking at your bathroom mirror first thing in the morning, you should say to yourself “I will lose fifteen pounds,” “I will earn an extra $1000 a month.” But the next step is the most crucial and the one which will eliminate most people from progressing any further.

5. Talk about it with people that matter. This is the first step that involves anything resembling risk, because someone may tease you. If your passion to achieve your goal is not greater than your fear of being teased, then your future is sabotaged right here. That’s why you should only talk about your dreams and goals with “people that matter.” Who are those people? People that can help you and people that will encourage you. Avoid negative people like lepers. If someone has an attitude that you don’t want to catch, stop associating with them. Period. Does that sound harsh? Perhaps, but why would you want to hang out with someone that belittles your dreams? Small people want everyone around them to lose so that they can remain comfortably losers themselves.

I stole this quote from a businessman named Bob Kummer:

“The Bible states that Samson killed a thousand enemy soldiers with the jawbone of an ass. Every day, hundreds of people have their dreams stolen from them by that very same weapon.”

These are baby steps for developing a passion towards positive change. The more you think about it and talk about it, the more your goal begins to focus into a crystal clear image. When it begins to move from your head to your heart, you will develop a desire to achieve it; and when that desire–your passion–is great enough, it will give you the courage to overcome fear and the urgency to overcome laziness.

All achievement is accomplished twice. First in the mind, second in the body. So talking and thinking and imagining your way to success is not a waste of time. It is in fact a vital first step. Once you’ve gotten this far, you are literally halfway towards fulfilling your goal (and further than any of those negative “friends” have ever gotten).

Next post, an Action Plan to convert your goal into reality.

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Self-Motivation and Mathematics

If you are lacking motivation in your current endeavor, then where is that lack coming from? Thanks to modern mathematics, we now have a formula to determine what we need to analyze and increase our own level of motivation.

Motivation = Needs x Faith

Keep in mind that I failed the last math class I took, so if you want a second opinion by an actual mathematician or statistician or actuary you will need to look elsewhere. In my defense, that class was AP Calculus in my senior year of high school. Also, in my defense, I did get a 4 on the AP Calculus exam and tested out of any math classes for my entire college career so “in your face,” teacher.

Let’s analyze the variables.

Needs. Your need is a want, a dream, or a desire of some sort. If you have no need, then you have no motivation (do the math, zero times anything equals…?).

If your level of motivation is low, then perhaps your need is unclear. That’s why when leaders and motivational speakers talk about your dreams and goals, they tell you to be specific about what you want and when you want it. Money is a need to everyone who lives in modern society. But the person who is motivated to pursue wealth is the person who has a burning desire for a certain lifestyle. A certain lifestyle that they think about, dream of, meditate on. The greater the need, the greater the multiplier. The more clear and vivid your need is in your mind, the greater the motivation. See my last post on creative visualization.

But even with an enormously clear and vivid dream for your life, you can still have zero motivation. “Wait, how can that be?” I hear you cry. Again, do the math and you’ll figure it out. If your need is an 11 you can still have zero motivation if your faith is…? No, let’s not see all the same hands.

Without faith, you will never be motivated. I’m not talking about religious faith, I’m talking about faith that you can actually achieve whatever you are attempting.

Faith can be broken down into two categories. Faith in yourself and faith in others.

Faith in yourself and your own abilities, gifts and talents can either greatly increase or greatly hinder your motivation. If you see yourself as a “C-minus” achiever, then you will continue to perform at that level. Increasing your needs can only take you so far if you are being dragged down by a lack of faith in your self. See my last post on self-image.

What about faith in others? This is something that you have little control over.

Would you continue to work at a company that has laid off half of it’s employees every month for six consecutive years? (That’s actually not mathematically possible. I will wait while you confirm it). If a boss lies to you about a raise, will you continue to work in good faith? If they continually change your performance evaluations to keep you from getting a promotion or a bonus? Low faith in your employer equals low motivation.

How can you increase your motivation when you have no faith in other people? Either you can trust them blindly (meh). Or change the people around you to folks that you do trust. Sometimes people will surprise you, but continuing to put blind faith into people that continually disappoint you will damage you. So in that situation, where you have no faith in your employer, I’d advise switching jobs or consider becoming an entrepreneur. If you have more faith in yourself than the people you work for or with, than take control of the variables so that you can have the result you want.

Besides if the economy continues to implode, self-employment may soon become the new normal.

How’s your motivation level? How’s your level of need and level of faith? Where are you strong or where are you lacking? What’s the square root of 16?

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Set Yourself on Fire

fireSome people have the wrong idea about motivation and success. They think that in order to succeed, they must first get motivated then they will be able to perform at a higher level. And so they postpone their effort until they are struck by a bolt of motivation from the heavens. While that may happen on occasion, external motivation does not last forever. Also, you are just as likely to be hit by a bolt of frustration and quit if you are waiting for outside forces to move you around.

The way to avoid being manipulated by all these lightning bolts being thrown about is to rely on yourself for motivation. And the way to do that is by giving yourself a healthy dose of enthusiasm. Like motivation, enthusiasm is an emotion; A temporary feeling. But you can create enthusiasm by an act of will. Once you decide to increase your enthusiasm, just follow these simple steps:

1. Act enthusiastic

2. That’s all

What? They don’t all have to be a 10-step process do they?

When you act enthusiastic, you will become enthusiastic. When you increase your enthusiasm you will have more energy. When you have more energy, you gain motivation to get your tasks done. Congratulations, you are now motivated to succeed, all you have to do is fake it (see Step 1).

Really? Yes. (see Step 2).

Enthusiasm will increase your effectiveness at just about any task. Another benefit of your increased level of enthusiasm, is it will increase the effectiveness of the people around you. Enthusiasm is contagious. Your enthusiasm will spread to the people around you at work or at play.

Winning sports teams recognize the power of enthusiasm. One teammate steps up with a powerful move, or play, or score; And the rest of the team becomes energized and starts to gain momentum. An enthusiastic home-team crowd is so important that they are called “the extra sixth player” on the team (well, just in basketball). One player can fire up the crowd, or sometimes a particularly loyal crowd will try to fire up a team that is lacking enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm is not limited to sports though. You can inject enthusiasm into nearly any aspect of your life. Get enthusiastic about your child’s role in their school play and they will become enthusiastic about it. Get enthusiastic about your store meeting and force your coworkers that are dragging themselves in to wake up. Get enthusiastic about making a phone call, going grocery shopping, washing your dog and visiting the dentist. Enthusiasm is so important that Norman Vincent Peale wrote an entire book on the subject, Enthusiasm Makes The Difference. Frank Bettger devoted the first chapter of his book, How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling, to enthusiasm (which helped him not just as a professional baseball player, but also as an insurance salesman).

How has a healthy dose of enthusiasm helped you to thrive in a bleak situation?