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Reaching You Goals: Simple & Fun
Incentives are meant to serve as motivations to encourage certain actions. When we act upon them, it’s usually to either get us closer to something that we do want, or, further from something that we don’t want. Sometimes incentives work and other times they don’t.
A certain celebrity who is facing a brewing scandal, may go to extreme lengths to avoid their secret reaching the public. They might make threats to harm those who can expose them, or instead, offer huge sums of money to keep things covered up. Why would they take such measures? More than likely, they may feel that the exposure presents serious dangers to them. They think about the loss of respect they may experience from their peers, or the embarrassment from their family and it’s so agonizing, that they will go to the ends of the earth to make sure that they never have to confront the situation.
Here’s an example of where a seemingly solid incentive doesn’t work. The physician of a diabetic has provided their patient with a rigid diet in order to help them sustain a measure of good health. Yet despite being told to either make the changes or, experience the imminent threat of detriment, the diabetic may very willfully continue eating all of the wrong foods — knowing that it will eventually kill them.
What a difference in attitude towards preservation for these two different types of individuals!
One thing that these examples can illustrate is that; for something to really give us an incentive us, it has to be relative to our personal values or desires. What may seem to be a solid reason for one person to do something, may not be for another. After all, what good are social incentives to a person who feels no social responsibility to a code of conduct? What good is a health scare to a person who prefers the immediate satisfaction of taste, over the restrictions associated with the disciplines of dieting?
On Another Note
When most people say that they truly want something, they do very little to actually go after it. Usually they blame a lack of motivation for being the reason. Because of this, there is a huge industry dedicated towards getting people fueled up to do things for themselves that they don’t feel naturally inclined to do. What most of these people don’t realize, is that motivation (a reason to do something), often comes as a result of practicing the things associated with their ideas.
If someone wants to get in shape and they don’t feel motivated to get to the gym, one of the best way to get motivated is to simply do something related to fitness. They should hit the floor and start doing some push-ups. It doesn’t matter that much if they do 5 or 50. The fact that they got down and did something, finally, after procrastinating for weeks and months, can lay the groundwork for getting them to do a little more, with a little more and a little more. It’s when we keep doing little by little, even when we don’t feel up to it that much, that we start to see small, but noticeable and important advancements.
For the soon to be “push-up master,” over a short period of time, they’ll notice the changes in their appearance, their strength and their energy, which will give them all the incentive they need to create the image of themselves that they want.
If we just wait around for something to get us fired up before we make a single move, eventually the interest will usually start to wane and we will become stagnant, until something else inspires us — that is, if it ever comes. The romanticized idea of waiting for inspiration could work wonders when it happens, but it can take far too long to come around and it isn’t as reliable as developing a workable plan.
The Learning Curve
I struggled with math through much of grade school, but the exercises that I would do concerning the process of elimination helped me to understand not only the principals around solving mathematical equations, but as an adult, the process has also helped me solve problems in my own life. I’ve been applying the principals of the process to figure out: the difference between the things that I say I want and, the likelihood that I will actually go after those things.
It’s done by analyzing the distance between my ideas (motives) and the goals (checkpoints) that I will implement to reach them. Perhaps even more importantly, it has helped me to weed out unnecessary actions and even thoughts, by identifying what is at the core of my motivations.
When I was preparing to launch TheEsquireProject.com, my vision was to develop a platform for people who I had a lot in common with. I wanted to form a community that could birth a culture. People would be able to engage with each other through exchanging and sharing philosophies and perspectives to learn how to be better versions of themselves; on a creative, business and personal development level.
Now, when you’re being influential, especially to a large group of people, it presents plenty of opportunities to get paid.
I carefully considered the profit potential and quickly grasped this truth: I could not use money as my real incentive — through the challenges of building a website with no technical experience, creating and dispensing valuable information and getting the word out on a very limited budget.
The driving force had to be to:
- make my stand in embracing my self-worth
- showcase my abundant, but neglected, talents
- see the smiles on my peer’s faces from creating a platform that assists them in getting to the top of their game
My aim was — and still is — intensely mission-driven first. Then it’s followed by being compensated for the value that I bring to people’s lives.
Food For Thought
The process of elimination is an honest way to determine if any incentive is strong and attractive enough to stimulate us into making developments.
Without a clear vision of what you want, accompanied by a magnetic pull towards activities taking you in that direction, any expectation for advancement can be minimized to being only a hallucination.
To our busy society, the idea of taking out time to draw a blueprint of success – matched with checkpoints to gauge its progress – is too rudimentary and mechanical. Some may ask themselves: is it really worth putting forth the effort and fighting through laziness and indifference?
Here’s a reality check! Observe your current situation and closely compare it to each year for the last several years. Are your developments towards your dreams insignificant at best or – worse – nonexistent? That’s a reasonable indicator that things will stay the same next year, and for the next few years as well, if adjustments aren’t made. It is crucial to consider this if we want to move from the routine of mere survival to an exciting dream-driven lifestyle.
Here’s a comparison.
Without Dreams & Goals
Your Objectives: undefined
Your Tasks: unimportant
Your Endeavors: have no feeling of purpose
Your Outcomes: unchanging
With Dreams & Goals
Your Objectives: very significant
Your Tasks: driven by purpose
Your Endeavors: enthusiastic
Your Outcomes: enjoyable pleasures
Things don’t get different by mere wishing!
So then, how do we use the process of elimination to determine our real desires and once identified, accompany them with the appropriate actions to fulfill them?
Here are two parts to the formula:
- Base your ambitions around what turns you on!
- Invest what’s necessary to make those desires become reality!
When you create simple plans with very simple, but massive steps around your true desires, then your goals will stay on target, because those activities will be surrounded by the idea of moving you towards what you truly want for yourself, not what just seems or sounds right. You can now operate from a place of pleasurable purposes instead of only obligations and expectations.
Now for the fun.
First, let’s identify what really gets you going.
What are some things that you want to do, places you want to go, items you would like to have or things that you want to learn that really pique your interests?
If you were to quickly jot down a few things that come to mind that you just can’t seem to shake, what would be on that list?
You may not feel like it right now, as you may not feel like doing a few push- ups either, but jot down a few things that come to mind or at the very least, think about them for a moment. Consider your quickly formed list and think about the resources that you have right now — in the way of your time, your energy and your money and consider if it’s possible for you to make these ideas part of your lifestyle right now.
Are you these things that you want to experience within the next week, then next month, the next few months, a year — or longer?
Are these items meant to be experienced a single encounter, a periodic indulgence or as a regular part of your lifestyle?
How do these things taste and smell? What do they sound and look like? How do they feel? How do you feel when you imagine making these dreams of yours a real part of your world?
Review a few things from this list and if you can come up with the top 5 things that are a must do, a must have or, a must become, focus on them, as these are probably your primary motivators that are based on your present values.
You should already feel like your making some progress and all you’ve done so far is think for a few minutes, much like knocking out that quick set of push-ups.
Review these items throughout your day starting today and really immerse yourself in these ideas frequently. You can put them on index cards or a regular sheet of paper and carry them around with you. Look at them when you wake up, when you’re at lunch, when you’re preparing for bed, when you’re frustrated, when you’re confused about life and when you just need a positive boost. You’re entering the next phase of advancement by implanting these dreams in your mind so that they become more real to you by focusing on them. Get used to them.
Is something on your list a bit offbeat? As you review these items does anything seem like it’s not sustainable for different phases of your life and is only short-term? That’s ok! Those ideas could very well be the answer to your higher quality of living! You need to explore these attention-grabbers frequently.
Life can be too changeable to firmly establish certain types of dreams 5 years from now. You can change your agendas as you evolve. You have the right and the responsibility to do so! So while you have an eye-opener on the types of achievements that encourage you right now, strike while the iron is hot and go for it! Don’t destroy the magic by trying to understand why it means so much to you, how long it will be relevant, or how random it seems. Just embrace it.
Remember when we talked about how the process of elimination can help to identify what’s really at the core of what we want? We can do this by assessing the desire that we’re really trying to fulfill which may be separate from the medium that think we’re supposed to fulfill it through.
I’ll give you an example. One of your items on your list may be owning a new car. You know that there are a bunch of choices out there and you can afford one with no problem. However, what you may really want is to feel cool, to have a ride that looks good and is fun to drive and one where you don’t have to be obsessed with feeling like you’re going to have a stroke if it’s not in mint condition for your first year of ownership. The car that fits that bill may be an older vehicle that you adored 8 or 9 years ago that you weren’t in a position to acquire at that time. You can probably still find one that’s been well maintained but is also “broken in” so you can be a little less stressed about the demands that you place on yourself of new car ownership and still fulfill your desire to get around in style and experience high levels of nostalgia while you’re at it.
In this age, there is so much production that goes on that we rarely get a chance to really develop an appreciation for what’s already available to us, because something new and improved is there to get us thinking in terms of the need to constantly upgrade. Primarily, I use that example to show how: A car is just the medium, but the feelings that you want from having a car are your core values.
Now fantasizing is great, however, you must also incorporate small disciplines that will ultimately make the difference in hitting your marks and missing them altogether. Say you long to lose belly fat and get flatter abs, but you have a habit of eating two doughnuts every morning. Realistically, you don’t feel that you’ll have the discipline to ditch this habit of eating doughnuts altogether right now. Well, at the very least, you can replace one of the doughnuts with an apple, banana, or other fruit which is a small step that you can take that is compatible with your physical aspiration.
It’s a step in a process that’s small, but coming from where you are it’s significant. The important thing is to be faithful to the small disciplines. Soon enough, you will see how you feel a little better and look a little better simply by changing portion sizes.
How to Up the Ante
Here’s an excellent method to help ensure that you are committed to what you say that you want. If you’re going to go for something that fulfills you, do the most you can to achieve it. The best way to do that is by giving your dreams some healthy tensions. Tensions give you a greater pull towards action.
If you dream of visiting Tokyo for two weeks within the next year, don’t waste time considering all of the arrangements. Take the biggest action step that you can afford to take right now to bring your visit closer to reality. One such step may be to purchase your round trip plane ticket immediately! The other details, such as hotel and itinerary can be worked out later.
If you have yearn to produce a documentary on a subject that you’ve been curious about the last couple of years then you should go and get a suitable camera and start filming and interviewing something or someone right now.
Have you been wanting to learn French because you think it’s a sexy language? Well, don’t waste time reading 100 reviews this week to decide if you should by a French book. Go sign up for a French class in your area. Go today.
Consider these steps as “non-refundable deposits” that are now invested into your dreams. If they literally are non-refundable, especially monetarily, even better! This healthy type of tension will keep your priorities front and center at all times. Then it’s not so easy to get sidetracked by things that you don’t really want that end up taking more space in your life than your main objectives. Don’t leave your desires unattended and left to their own devices. If you do, they will likely remain as mere fiction and never get out of your head.
Now what’s the downside of inaction or in pacifying your dreams with baby steps instead of large leaps? You could reasonably save money by shopping around for a cheaper flight to Tokyo. You could wait until everything seems lined up to make the documentary. You could see if you could get a better bargain on the French book to arrive in a few days instead of spending money on the classes.
BUT when it comes to your dreams as you will see in all things, there is a big difference between price and cost. It’s often said that the most expensive thing a person can own is a closed mind. In like manner, the momentum that you lose or never gain in the first place from not being locked into your dreams will be followed by diminishing intent. Then you will buy yourself all types of excuses as to why you shouldn’t go after these dreams anymore and you will eventually take the path of least resistance and revert back to simple survival, instead of living by design. If you were drowning, would you wait for the right time to catch your breath or would you fight like hell to get to shore?
If you wait for a more convenient way to become fluent in French, the price will certainly be cheaper. BUT, what will it cost you when you pass by that attractive person sitting across from you at the cafe visiting your city for a week who happens to only speak French? When they welcome you with a warm smile, you’ll have to wait days to even figure out how to carry on a conversation beyond bonjour.
What if you don’t buy the camera and start filming? Well think of all the connections that you may never make and the lives you will fail to impact if you parlay. You will end up buying yourself another year of mediocrity. That’s a film festival that you won’t be relevant at and cool people that you may never get the chance to meet.
What if you wait a few weeks to get the cheaper flight to Japan? Likely, something is bound to happen that takes your wallet in the opposite direction of where you want to go. Before you know it, you will have allocated you money towards miscellaneous things that could have easily went towards your trip and you will resent yourself for failing to have the means to embark on an excursion to explore one of the most spectacular societies on the planet. You had the money, you just didn’t prioritize the dream.
“Savings” are the last thing you should consider when it comes to the lifeblood of your happiness. Go in pursuit of what you want and what makes you feel the best. Strike while the iron is hot! You can be wasting weeks, months, than eventually years trying to align everything and eventually, it will pass you by.
Do the most that you can do at the time that you’re thinking of it. Lock yourself into it before it loses its appeal and becomes unimportant. It’s hard enough to find things that you’d like to pursue, things that you love, things that excite you and things that makes your heart skip a beat, so don’t decline to give those things the fair attention and resources needed to experience it in its most lively form.
Don’t allow these things to slip away because you failed to reach out to shake hands with a firm grip. If you do, you may very well encounter that you start to live a daily real-time nightmare. In this type of dream, the person who you are failed to become the person that you could have been due to sheer neglect.
Let’s get moving!
Copyright © 2016 Waymon Brown
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