How many times have you listened to a great motivational speaker, or read an inspirational book, and thought to yourself that your life, your career, or your business was going to be so much better and more fulfilling as a result of the experience?
Isn’t that a great feeling? Your confidence level is through the roof and you are ready to make a huge impact on your life … even the world. You go to the office the next day feeling like you’ll burst if you don’t share your new insight with your co-workers.
A few feign interest with a smile or by nodding their head, and there are a few who roll their eyes. Life seems sweeter and you skip through your day with unusual pep, but as the work week rolls on the day-to-day issues seem to bring your feet back to earth.
Before you know it, you feel like a balloon that has been filled to capacity with helium only to have sprung a leak and come floating down to the asphalt to be trampled on.
Sound familiar? It sure does to me. Why doesn’t it stick? Here’s what I’ve found to be true from my own experiences.
It’s Too Simple to Work
Life for most of us is messy. It is hectic, chaotic, and full of complicated issues and relationships. We don’t expect the answers to be simple.
We want the solution to be something new and hard to figure out on our own. We don’t want it to be something we’ve really known all along. The truth is that most of the answers in life are pretty simple.
What we hear from motivational speakers, or read in inspirational books, is just these same simple truths repackaged. This repackaging helps us to see the answers from a new perspective, but in the end, it’s still the same simple solutions.
The problem with simple is that when we try to integrate it into our complicated lives it’s easy to dismiss the answers after experiencing minimal resistance.
You Are Not Prepared
When I was in grade school I heard about a great new study method. It was called learning by osmosis. All you had to do was show up in class, or put your head on your book, and everything you needed to learn just sort of seeped into your brain.
I’ve been trying to prove that this system works for most of my life now (especially during college), and I’ve seen many of you testing it too in several of the conferences I’ve attended. We start out with our pens and notebooks ready for action, but by the time the speaker has finished all we have are a few bullet points and a bunch of doodles.
Why do we do this? First, it’s so simple we don’t feel we need to write it down. Second, our brains tend to trick us into the notion that a few words that bring back a flood of information now is all we’ll need to remember it five weeks from now. Of course, we don’t.
You Fail to Put It into Action
The largest complaint that I hear from conference attendees, readers, and even speakers is that all of the time and resources seem wasted because so very few people ultimately put it into action in their daily lives.
While the osmosis method of learning might get you through a test, its benefits are always short-term. To truly learn you must make the material applicable to your own lives.
You need to be constantly looking for areas in your life that would benefit from this new wisdom. Once discovered, develop a plan for how you will integrate it into your daily routine.
The conference, the books, the motivational tapes are only there to help you start brainstorming. It’s up to you to put it into action.
You Start Listening to Your Inner Critic
Let’s say that some of this new motivational wisdom actually made into your daily routine. This is about the time that your inner critic likes to pop up its ugly little head.
All of those memes that you’re not smart enough, strong enough, rich enough, etc. start to flood your mind when your new plan meets its first challenge.
These memes are like parasites that live off of your failures and they fight hard against motivation getting a foothold in you. If your inner critic can’t kill it off by itself, it will find reinforcement from others around you.
The best defense I have found for this it to surround yourself with positive people. Not all memes are bad for you and positivity is highly contagious.
You Don’t Stay Plugged In
Life is not a test – it’s a never-ending series of tests. Don’t expect one dose of motivation to carry you through very far.
People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily. – Zig Ziglar
No matter how great the motivational speaker or book, you need to keep partaking of the message or it will die in you. Listen or read what inspires you over and over again.
Make it a habit to fill your mind with positive thinking daily. Don’t worry. You’ll still get more than you will ever want of negativity thrown out you.
What About You?
These have been my struggles staying motivated. I’ve learned
- to accept that most of the answers are simple,
- to be prepared to accept them,
- to find ways to make them personal,
- to surround myself with positive people,
- and to wear out the pages and mp3s of what inspires me.
What are your struggles? How are you overcoming them? What advice could you give me or others about staying motivated?
Come on, don’t let your inner critic stop you from sharing your great ideas.