As we enter the autumn period of the year, are you on track? Are you really motivated to make this year your best ever? Are you waiting for something to happen first? Well, don’t! Start today, and remember, by Christmas you will have wished you started today.
Every action you take, no matter how big or small, defines everything that you achieve in life. And with every action there is a motive, something that puts a person in motion. But what is the real definition of motivation?
Is motivation an incentive, such as a monetary reward or a gift? For example, when you were younger, your father or mother might have told you: ‘For every A you get in school next term, I’ll give you a specified amount of money.’ I’ll bet that it probably worked. You achieved a few A’s, took the cash, and then, the following term, you achieved less than stellar grades when the incentive was not offered again.
Or is motivation a threat? For example, your doctor may have told you: ‘If you don’t lose weight, exercise regularly, and eat right, your cholesterol level will continue to be through the roof.’ So, for a few months, you do what the doctor says. You go back for a follow up, your health is better and to celebrate you head off to the nearest fast-food restaurant for a greasy burger, fries and a sugary drink. Again, the effect is temporary.
Motivation is not about external incentives, rewards, inducements, or threats. My definition of motivation is: ‘An emotion or desire that operates on the “will to do” and causes it to take action.’
To be long lasting, motivation must come from inside you. The ‘will to do’ is the greatest power in the world tied to human accomplishment, and no one can predict its limits.
Where does the ‘will to do’ come from? Unlike the products in so many advertisements, television info-commercials and spam emails, it does not come in a handy pill to instantaneously transform you from a ‘dud to a stud’. So how does one develop a high level of motivation that serves them day in, day out?
Strategy one: There needs to be a desire to change within you
Every one of us possesses some level of ‘will to do’. It is the inner energy that controls all conscious and subconscious acts. Your ‘will to do’ directs your life forces, habits (both good and bad) and your condition in life. Your will has a connection with all avenues of knowledge, activities and accomplishment. When you develop the power of concentration within you, you will have developed a higher level of self-mastery and your ‘will to do’.
The ‘will to do’ is a force that is strictly practical. We know it is a force through its cause-and-effect nature; it is a power, like electricity that we can direct. To the extent we direct it we determine our future. Every time you accomplish any definite act, consciously or subconsciously, you use the principle of the will. Through the ‘will to do’ you can do anything.
Therefore, the way you use your will both right and wrong, will make a huge difference in the outcome of your life focus. You probably know of cases where people have shown tremendous strength under some traumatic experience: The frail person who lifts a heavy car to save the person trapped underneath. The fireman who rushes into a burning building in order to save others. In both examples, they used their ‘will to do’ to accomplish the task.
The ‘will to do’ can accomplish great results through activities that grow out of great concentration. In developing the power of concentration, we acquire the power of voluntary attention to such an extent that we can direct it where we want to and hold it steadily to its task, until we accomplish our goals. When you learn to use your willpower, it becomes a mighty force. Almost everything can be accomplished through its proper use. It is greater than physical force because it can be used to control not only your physical actions, but also your mental health and mind power.
Strategy two: Develop clearly defined goals
Many human-performance experts, including yours truly, believe the number one reason why most people will never get what they want is they really don’t know what they want. A few years ago, a study by the Ford Foundation revealed that 90% of people have no idea or plans for getting what they want in life. Imagine how motivated you will be if you start every day with clearly defined goals and the emotion and desire for achievement in all areas of your life.
For example, what if you took time to visualise your exciting and very specific career and financial objectives? Then you created objectives for the personal and professional relationships in your life. When you were done, you took the time to write down these thoughts in a written action plan with ongoing self-improvement and self-development milestones. Can you see how this would give you more excitement and motivation every day? Don’t you agree that clarity about your direction in life is a powerful motivate?
Einstein said: ‘An object in motion tends to stay in motion’. I challenge you to become an object in perpetual motion by beginning to use these two strategies.
Nigel Risner was named the TEC Europe Speaker of the Year in 2004-2005, and the Academy for Chief Executives’ Speaker of the Year in 2000-2001. He has also been voted as ‘Britain’s top motivational speaker’ by Winning Business magazine and is a founder member and fellow of the Professional Speakers Association.