Motivation. The off-road tire for the muddy road of life.

In the last post I talked about getting stuck. Getting stuck is no fun. We’ve probably all been there. For some reason, we are unable to move forward creatively. Often we identify this as being stuck in a rut. We are doing the same things again and again and it seems that the song of our life only has one note. When you are stuck and unable for whatever reason to move forward, it often creates pressure. Self-imposed pressure to perform, or outside pressure to meet a deadline. Either way, if not dealt with, pressure can lead to anxiety.

I wrote that, at least for me, there were two main areas where I have been continually challenged. I have to take intentional action in these areas or I will find myself standing still instead of moving forward to pursue my goals. The first one is time. Ever since I decided to do important things with my life and be all of the influence I can be, I have also had difficulty with time management. I wrote last week about steps that I’ve taken to better manage my time.

Female hiker on mountain

Image courtesy of StockSnap.io

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.   –Thomas A. Edison

The second area I mentioned was my struggle to stay motivated. What I was facing with motivation was simple. I was having difficulty mentally disengaging from all of the other demanding things in my life in order to engage in the things I am passionate about. Because of this, when I would have some time to work on blog posts or website content, I would sit down and just stare at the computer. Emotionally I would be like a flat glass of soda. Absolutely no fizz. I am very passionate about what the Lord has put on my heart to do with this blog and website. I can see a little bit of what the Lord intends for it. When I spend time thinking about this, I get pretty stoked. When I’m in that frame of mind, I have no trouble coming up with things I want to do and what to write about. But because of the daily distractions, I would sit down to write and be mentally disengaged and emotionally cold. I couldn’t flip the switch & quickly turn on the passion. The weekend would come and I would spend a lot of time thinking about the things that are important to me. I would then start getting fired up again. Often though, it seemed that I wasted a lot of time stirring myself up that I could have been using to create quality content. More self-imposed pressure.

Motivation is defined as The act or process of providing a reason to do something. I would put my own emphasis on the words DO something. Motivation is what causes motion. It’s the why that causes us to act. Motivation is the off-road tire for the muddy road of life.  When we start to feel high drag and heavy resistance trying to climb out of a rut and move forward, it’s the motivation that gives us the traction to keep moving. People would announce to Zig Ziglar that they didn’t believe in that “motivation stuff” and would complain that motivation didn’t work because it didn’t last. It faded, and over time people would lose their zeal. Zig would respond with the statement that Bathing doesn’t last forever either but we didn’t give up on that. That’s why he recommended both motivation and bathing daily.

So how do we stay motivated? How can we keep the switch turned on? I found that I need to expose myself to the right things – constantly!  I need to be seeing, reading & hearing the right things in order to keep my focus. In the Bible, God told the prophet Habakkuk to “write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that reads it”.  (Habakkuk 2:2).  To stay motivated, I need to keep the vision ever before my eyes.  I find a lot of help in not only who but what I listen to.  I like to listen to people who exhibit the kind of character that helps keep me stirred up.  I don’t listen to just anyone.  There are certain things I am looking for.

“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”
― Lou Holtz

  1. Look for Enthusiasm. One of the things I have noticed about me is that I like being around enthusiastic people. I often find my own level of enthusiasm rising when I’m around others who have high enthusiasm. This is one important thing I’ve learned over the years. Seek out peers & friends that have enthusiasm in what they are doing. I like hanging around & growing with people who are going somewhere to do something. They are focused and goal oriented. They are looking for a place to “Happen”. Galatians 4:18 says that it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing.
  2. Look for a Positive Outlook. Henry Ford was quoted as saying “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” Recently I heard someone say that we all fail, so what we need to do is to fail fast so that we can get it out of the -way. Then start again and use the lessons of our failure. This is healthy thinking. Philippians 4:8-9 tell us that whatever is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of a good report, virtuous or praise worthy, we are to think on these things.
  3. Look for Determination. Negative people look for the failure and use it as an excuse to quit. Many years ago I was driving east on interstate 74 Champagne, IL. Suddenly all traffic came to a near stop as the Illinois State troopers diverted everyone off of the interstate. It turned out that there was a overturned semi tractor & trailer laying all the way across east bound 74 and it was literally impassable. The state troopers ran us through a detour that put us on State highway 150 for a little while and then we went back onto 74 and away we went. I tell that story because too many times, people will allow difficulty and setbacks tell them that they are on the wrong path. Sometimes these people will cast away their vision and abandon their goals. They say things like “What’s the use?” We shouldn’t let difficulty and failure determine whether or not we accomplish our goals. What if I had hit that traffic detour and threw up my hands, turned the car around and went back home? I wouldn’t have arrived at my intended destination. I wouldn’t have accomplished my goal and I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy my mother in law’s cooking. Failure and difficulty may force us to change our path to get there, but they should never keep us from going. Don’t quit!

You may not know too many people who possess these traits but don’t let that hinder you. I get a lot of my insight and encouragement from podcasts. There are some really good podcast out there and they help me stay stirred up. If you have an iphone, you can use itunes to get your podcasts.  There is a free app in the Google Playstore called Stitcher that works similar to Itunes for android phones. This is what I use to get my podcasts. I look for people who are enthusiastic, positive and determined. People with a “can do” attitude who are making things happen. Here are a few podcasts that I listen to regularly. You can also access them on the web by clicking the links.

This is your life – Michael Hyatt

Eventual millionaire – Jaime tardy

The Portfolio Life – Jeff Goins

The EntreLeadership podcast – Ramsey Solutions, hosted by Ken Coleman.

You can go to https://www.stitcher.com/ to learn more about Stitcher.

How do you stay motivated to reach your goals?  I would love to hear from you.  Please share by leaving a comment.

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One Response to Motivation. The off-road tire for the muddy road of life.

  1. Mary says:

    Thanks Art, good, informative and encouraging. I especially like the comment from Henry Ford, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” Motivating ourselves is something we must every day to successfully accomplish our goals.

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