GETTING STARTED

Everything you wanted to know
and didn't want to know
about motivation

 

     You can't wait another second.  You have put off getting started for years.  Now!  Right now is the moment as you think about it, - "But I can't . . . . . it's too late,. . . . . I didn't eat yet,. . . . . I just ate, I'm not dressed for it, my butt is glued to this spot, but I, but . . . .but. . .

 

Motivation

     Getting this chapter started will take some motivation.  It seems to me that all of life is based on some type or form of motivation.

     When the alarm clock goes off, motivation starts my day -- I don't want to get up but need to get up.  I guess keeping my job, getting my wife up for hers, getting the kids up for school, and letting the dog out motivates me.  The dog will not leave me alone until I get up anyway.  Realizing a deadline often initiates motivation.

     Motivation can be the cause or is caused by many different factors and or emotions.  On the other hand, many forces are at work to counter motivate and put you (not you personally) in despair and disorder.

     What causes a person to be motivated?  I can imagine dozens, even hundreds of reasons to be motivated.  Depending on what the situation is, usually will determine what the motivational factor is.

     Let's ponder, first of all, what motivation is.  Maybe a need, a want, a power, a drive (an inner drive), an incentive, a providing, an affection, or incitement, a force to provide or cause motion, an idea to initiate movement or action.

     Survival, an instinctive and maybe even a learned response, is a common motive.  During the war, survival motivated me to be extra alert in all my duties and the constant adrenalin flow helped to keep that motivation high.  Survival will motivate a person to quit smoking, especially after their first heart attack.  Proper diet and exercise could also manifest itself from the latter.  Motivation for some is fighting to survive; this could be a type of intrinsic motivation.  Motivation could be looked upon, at times, as a type of obsession.  Other people are highly motivated for just a little bit of fame, a pat on the back, a kind word, or even a smile.  I have seen what motivates people.  Craving for acceptance and appreciation; is that enough . . . . . NO?  Needs go beyond that.  People want to stand out, be noticed, made to feel important.  The efforts to get special attention start at an early age.  "Come here Mommy -- Notice Me!"

     A substantial part of children's behavior that parents might call "naughtiness" is only the outcropping of the wish for recognition.  It doesn't end when school starts.  The results of giving recognition to children in the classroom are so overwhelmingly positive that it is accepted as a significant stimulant to learning.  Gold stars being the classroom messenger to the principal's office; the hall monitor, special privileges, a name on the blackboard, a compliment, and all the many other ways of recognizing children, making them feel important, are part of the spawning process in which those little humans flourish.

     Denying attention to children is rejection.  That creates antagonism, anti-social attitudes, all sorts of behavioral problems.  I've seen it in neighborhood kids as I now look back.  Nothing very complicated about it.  Rejection is painful.  Recognition pleases, heals.

     It seems that it's a characteristic that never changes much in the life cycle.  I didn't mean to stray but stress the importance of our children and impressing our virtues and knowledge on them before it is too late.

     As I walked through nursing homes I sometimes paused just long enough to show a smile, nod, or even speak a kind word to the ones spending their final days there.  Faces would break into joy, hands would reach out to be touched, words would pour out (unspoken words), "Don't go.  Stay and talk with me  Give me your attention!  Notice Me!"  Is it too much to ask?

     I believe there to be different levels or intensities of motivation.  I hear my alarm clock and I just about crawl out of bed; barely any motivation in me -- maybe it's just a semi-conscious state of motivation.  I continue and facilitate the bathroom then have a coffee (shame on me)--my motivation is percolating.  I finish my shower, get dressed, and hit that outside morning air -- I am motivated!  I am ready for anything!  Adequate water and a few deep breaths during the day helps keep my interest high.

     Music helps to motivate.  When I need motivation for a physical workout in my home gym, nothing quite primes my pump like the theme from "Rocky" or a few other choice selections.  If I'm still not quite up to it, I'll just blast the stereo until the music vibrates me right out of the chair and on my way.  The more I exercise, the more motivated I become.  Many times when I'm faced with doing a monotonous task, certain music with a good beat will help put me in a mood and make my chore almost fun as I groove to the tune.

     Training partners can be a big help if they yell, scream, and shout terms of encouragement or ridicule to psych you out.  I have no partner -- I imagine a huge audience or an enormous crowd watching me and waiting to see if I can cut the mustard.  Another motivating trick I frequently use is imagining myself in the Olympics, going for the gold and the crowd is out of control and going wild.  This helps me to perform the sometimes dull tasks of cardio-work or strength training with revitalized interest and enthusiasm.  More times than I can remember, my dreams were my motivation.

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. . . . . . If I'm still not quite up to it, I'll just blast the stereo until
the music vibrates me right out of the chair and on my way.

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     "Sex," for some, can be an extraordinarily persuasive fortitude enhancer of motivation.  Love -- more than sex -- is a more powerful motivator for me.  The power of love is awesome and has affected my life, making me do some pretty wild and crazy things.

     Can motivation be learned or taught?  So says our text books -- extrinsic motivation with rewards or promises.  What about intrinsic motivation?  Learned or taught?  Maybe but, instilled, "yes."  If anyone is an expert in/on instilling motivation in other people, I would say it would have to be a basic training drill Sergeant for the Marines during war time.  This man can motivate the lost, lame and lazy; it may only be temporary and goal oriented.  Are all people that are motivated, goal oriented?  Do you need a Drill Sergeant in your life?

     Everybody want to be somebody -- Everybody is somebody!  Accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.  It is not always easy to keep that tunnel vision attitude.  For a few "there's no way, every day is a great day," and for others, life is great.

     Motivation is life, it is someone's zest, it's what makes somebody do something, while not being deviated from their path or led astray.  It's when times seem they're worst and all looks bleak that you must not quit.  Motivation is fuel for the finish line.  It is the feeling of power and drive . . . . . the force of my worth.  Excitement, electricity, and ecstasy are how motivation feels as you near the end of your goal and I'm starting to feel that right now.

     Keeping one's nose to the grindstone is not enough unless one is smiling while doing it.  Still questionable!  Patience plus persistence does not always equal motivation.  Persistence plus persistence would be a more appropriate equation, especially if we talk long term motivation.  To sum it up (about time, right?), you need to feel and/or act on your need or want to be satisfied.  Motivation is self persuasion succeeded.  It is your dream, your life; nothing will happen if you don't make it happen.

     In my car, I am always listening to tapes on how to better myself.  One such tape by Mr. Jim Rohn specifically dealt with the topic of self motivation.  He posed the question, why are some people self-motivated and others aren't?  After fifty years of traveling the world giving speeches, as he watched both environmental factors and genetic tendencies, he came to this astounding conclusion.  Why are some people more self-motivated than other -- "I don't know, it's just how it is.

     I will agree with his wisdom that there are no black and white rules or else everyone would be able to control their will in this life.  Yet, through my readings and observations, I believe that there are some common traits that we can hopefully model after in people's lives who have been very motivated.

     Norman Vincent Peale said "If you want to be enthusiastic, act enthusiastically and eventually you will be enthusiastic."  Profound words, if we want a specific character trait, if we can act that way long enough it will gradually become a part of us.  Perhaps, subconsciously that is what we do to become who we are.  We watch the world around us and our subconscious mind evaluates it and slowly inputs it into our computer mind and collectively all these thoughts and impressions become our actions, our behavior, our attitude, our personality, our character - the fabric of who we are.

     Napoleon Hill, in his book, "Think and Grow Rich" and William James in "As a Man Thinketh" would all agree to this way of thinking.  That, if we harbor a thought long enough, we will become that thought, or collection of thoughts.

     Robert Schuller, years ago, influenced my ways of thought as I studied in college.  He said three things are important and I write by memory of twenty years ago.  We must first believe in ourselves if we are to do anything great with our lives.  Then, we must get others to believe in us, which adds momentum to our ideas.  But, ultimately, we must realize that God believes in us and then we really have power to motivate ourselves to change people's lives.

     So, right now, instead of me going on for twenty more pages with quotes from Tony Robbins and others, let me get right to the point.  Whoever you are reading this chapter, whatever your past circumstances have been, the first step to gaining self-motivation in your life is to "believe in yourself."  To love yourself with the agape love of God, realizing that you were created unique and special, results in a strong self-esteem.  You will be battered by the storms of life, and your ideas will be tested and knocked down, but if you have strong vision in your mind of who you are, then nothing and nobody can pull you down.  You must realize that you are significant to God.  You can't do anything to make him love you any more than he does right now.  He's an awesome God!

     I have talked to Captain Coffee about how his mind was unbreakable in the P.O.W. camp for over seven years as they treated him worse than a cockroach.  In his mind, he kept the idea alive of his God, of his country, of his self-worth.  I have given his tape to young women who have been battered by their ex-husbands who told them they were worthless.  I tried to help them to realize not to accept such lies, not to allow such thoughts to deteriorate their self-esteem.  It is no different; can you see it?  The enemy will try to brainwash you in a P.O.W. camp, an abusive person, due to their own hang-ups, will try to break you so they have power over you, and society in general, will have daily negativities to make you doubt in yourself.  The battles are all the same, some are just more severe.  The remedy is all the same -- a strong conviction that you are a beautiful individual.  Then when you add self-control and persist towards your goal; mountains can be moved.

     I have seen, in coaching young children, how early the process starts.  If a child misses the shot or makes a mistake, if his/her coach ridicules him/her or is overly "constructive", the child's confidence withers and eventually their "will to succeed" is lost.  If that same child is hugged and encouraged, an inner confidence builds that later in life will be translated into "I can overcome any obstacle that I am presented with."  Yet, I caution you.

     What if in your mind or own perspective that your judgment is off.  For instance, Hitler believed in his cause and pursued it with passion and confidence.  He manipulated the German people to believe that other "less perfect" people were the cause for German's woes.  So you must balance your confidence with how others react and test your intention to see if they are honorable.  I believe you must compare your intention with God's standards.

     My heart cries when I see people who are leaders in the public eye, only to see their testimony crumble as a part if their personal life is exposed.  Live your life so that your personal life could become a video for others to follow.  Realize that everything you have is God's and you are to be a prudent steward of your body, money time . . . . .

     In his heart-opening book "Everything You've Heard is Wrong", Tony Campolo tells his audience that there's a better way to win in business.  He tells the story that once at a motivational convention for life insurance agents, he listened intently to the speaker before him.  The speaker was telling the salesmen to envision the new car, the new house, or the vacation they wanted and that would motivate them to go and make a lot of sales so they could attain their dreams.

     When Tony heard this it bothered him.  So being the conscious-led person that he appears to be, he got up behind the podium next and said; "what you just heard is wrong!"  Could you imagine the life insurance executives squirming in their seats at this moment?!

     Not to be overly confrontational, he went on to relate a story to his audience to win over their understanding.  He said he knew of a life insurance agent who, for years, pursued Martin Luther King Jr., to have an insurance policy to take care of his family's needs in case something happened to him.  Remember, at that point in history in this country, Mr. King's dream was not everybody's dream of racial and social integration.  Finally, seeing how sincere and persistent this salesman was, Martin Luther King Jr. bought a substantial life insurance policy, and unfortunately, his family was financially taken care of not long thereafter.

     This salesman was not motivated by what his needs were.  He was motivated by what he perceived his client's needs to be.  That is honorable.  That is morally acceptable.  That is what should motivate us all.

     If you want to gain self-motivation and self-confidence, meet the needs of those around you, and in being a servant, the universal laws of life will give you more than you request.  I hope I'm not coming across too abstract, for we are trying to transmute thoughts into actions, which can get "deep."  See, I believe that instead of giving you a "ten step list to gaining self-motivation", that if you start with a major premise, all else will follow.  Let me give you an example.

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. . . . . . If you want to gain self-motivation and self-confidence,
meet the needs of those around you, and in being a servant,
the universal laws of life will give you more than you request.

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     One morning I went in to wake my eleven year old daughter, Tina, for school.  As I gently nudged her and kissed her on the cheek, she wearily whispered "can I finish my dream?"  I told her "yes, but make sure the ending is a good one."

     Later that night when we had time to giggle and discuss her comical actions, she said this to me:  "I was dreaming there was a fire in the woods, but once you woke me, I became the hero and I saved all the animals and people.!  As I gave her a high-five, she went on "but Dad, when I went to school I finally had the confidence to stand up to that girl who was always manipulating me.  My dream gave me confidence."  I tell you, a simple story, but within lies my point.

     We all harbor right now as we read this, pleasant and some unpleasant thoughts in our memory banks.  Some people keep replaying their negative tape loops in their mind and it's a constant reminder of why they have not attained their goals in life.  In a way, they have pity parties for themselves and I think we all do this at times.  But, what if we only replay the positive memories?  What if we "finish our dream" by reminding ourselves of the good things we have done in the past?  I believe good thoughts result in good behavior and evil thoughts translate into evil behavior.

     So, instead of comparing yourself to others who are  more beautiful, who have better jobs, or more money, which gradually depletes you of your personal power, do the opposite.  Look within, and see how nobody else has your unique talents and gifts.  Realize how much God loves you, and as you are compelled into helping others, you will feel God's power is in your work.  You will have a single vision, you will gain discipline, and you will stop at nothing until you attain the desired goal.  That, you may define, as motivation.

     This process must be a gradual one, for you will be tested daily by the negative forces around you.  But once you have the main foundation, once you have deep roots of faith, love, and hope in your life, your tree will only get stronger by the storms of our society and it's stresses.  For some of you, it's too big of a mountain to climb.  Maybe you have a drug or alcohol addiction or maybe you are all alone.  Look for a support group, start with small successes and keep feeding the fire with small twigs and one day you will be able to handle the larger logs.  Be patient, be persistent, and keep focused on your goal and with God's grace, you will be astonished by just how motivated you can be.  I know for some of you just getting by is hard.  Let me relate a story about how small things can change your life.

     A couple came to my office, married for fifteen years with three children.  The couple eventually started making separate appointments and on each visit, they shared how painful their marriage was.  No infidelity, no alcohol or drug or physical abuse, but they were just "incompatible."  They were lonely, angry, and frustrated that their expectation of marriage did not work out.  The husband would say "I would have never dreamed that my life could be so bad."

     On one visit the father asked my advice.  He told me how his eleven year old son was failing in school and he was very rebellious at home and always fighting with the other two children.  He asked me how his son could get better grades.  I came close to this man, looked into his eyes and quietly said, "If you love his mother, his life will turn around."  The man left and I never saw him again, so I don't know if he heeded my advice.

     Don't you think children can sense the coldness in their parents' marriage?  Don't you think a child feels helpless as he sees his parents falling apart?  Don't you think a child might eventually give up on himself and stop studying, and take out his frustrations on his siblings?  Don't you think that if he saw his mom and dad hugging, kissing and laughing, his inner security would be restored?  I do.  That is why I told that father to love the child's mother.  Hard thing to do when your heart is full of anger and pain.

     The next week the wife came in and I could tell her husband had not yet applied my suggestion.  So, in her frustration, she shared her loneliness and despair.  She was sinking into deeper depression and she asked me what she should do.  I told her to make a coupon book of one date per week for the next three months.  I told her she didn't have to make expensive and exotic dates.  One coupon could be a simple picnic just with your husband as the sun sets.  Another could be a movie, pizza, bowling, anytime where just the two of them could leave the distractions behind them and renew their love.  Sometimes it is good to get away from the job, the home, the children, the various responsibilities that drain us and make time to do what initially made the two of you fall in love in the first place.

     A year later, this woman sent me a card, all it said was "thanks - the coupons worked!  The kids are fine and our love is on fire again."  So, in this case the wife was the one who was humble enough to overcome her pride, her anger, and to go the extra mile to still strive for a solution.  Had neither one tried, a divorce was imminent.  One of them had to give in.  She did and their lives were changed.

     You see, I want you to realize that motivation must come from within your heart if you are to apply it in many different situations.  I want you to, above all, love yourself.  We have all fallen short of certain goals at certain times in our lives.  We have all felt the heavy weight of guilt around our neck when we know we could be more than who we are.  It is ok to fail.  It is ok to be human, laugh at your mistakes, learn and move on.  This book is not to pressure you to be perfect.  We are hoping to give you a basket full of ideas that if applied, you could overall have a healthier and happier life.

     I hope our hearts have been exposed in this book.  Oh, I pray this book helps some people to stop smoking, maybe some marriages will be helped, maybe a lot of lives will be changed in small ways.  But know above all, our intent is to remind you that if you have no love for yourself or others, you have nothing.  If you still smoke, drink alcohol daily, overeat and never exercise, after reading this book - God still loves you.  He wants you to love yourself.  You are not a failure.  In God's eyes, we are not judged by our productivity or how motivated we were to change our life.

     One day, you will die.  If that day were tomorrow, if it truly were, what would you change now?  It is wise to look at your life through death's eyes, it gives a sense of what is really important.  What will you be remembered for?  Were you kind to your fellow employees, were you one who made a significant difference with your life?  Tony Campolo speaks of this type of thinking that will help you "to leave a legacy behind you, which will give you a plan of action for this life."  What will life be worth once you are gone?

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. . . . . . If you still smoke, drink alcohol daily, overeat and never
exercise, after reading this book - God still loves you.

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     I gave a speech a few months ago where I told the audience that we are called to be missionaries.  I am convinced that the single most important thing you can get from this book, or where to start after reading this book, is to spend your time helping those in need.  The poor, the brokenhearted, and the lonely.  They are in your families, and in your neighborhoods.  My simple plan for them was given in three steps.  To first simplify your life, then to forgive more often, and as you build up a reserve of love and energy, you can be a force of healing everywhere you go.  In the end, your life will make a difference.  You will find fulfillment and peace each night in your head as you rest on your pillow.

     Yes, we finish this chapter by suggesting to you that you have a close, personal faith with your creator.  When life tries to break you, you have a source of strength.  When you do succeed in your endeavors, you can kneel down beside your bed at night and say, "thank you."  Realizing all your "success" is a blessing, you will have a thankful, humble spirit.

     Perhaps this is the best way to be motivated, to simply being forever grateful for whatever road in life you are on, gives you a compulsion to help others as you see them worse off than you are.

     Let's now go to our final chapter, with a brief summarization of some vital points.

 

Gradual Change

     Easing into any of these suggested life modifications is the preferred method of choice so long as a gradual change doesn't take decades.  Being too hasty or abrupt with a diet change can cause you discomfort, from has to diarrhea; go from the pint of water a day to a gallon and you may spring a leak.  Go full force into an exercise program and you're in for aches and pains beyond belief, possibly even an injury.

     Use common sense and let your body adjust to the changes you're going to thrust upon it.  It will adjust.

     Where do you start? . . . . . . . At the bottom of course.  If you lie around all day, start sitting.  If you sit around, start standing (our bodies lose bone density if we don't stand for a small portion of the day).  And if you're ready for the basic cornerstone of health and fitness, start walking.

 

Spiritual Guidance

     I'm weak in so many ways.  I can never finish a project or stay with a program.  I give in to temptation and then try to rationalize my shame.

     Once temptation strikes, your first thought should be:  How do I find a way to avoid or overcome this difficulty?  Your next thought should be, why am I trying to resist this temptation -- what end result am I trying to achieve -- what plan did I start to carry out?  A final thought!!  "Please God" -- help me.  I'm desperate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . You don't have to wait until you're desperate to ask for help. .    

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