Tag Archives: motivation

Inspiration for the week

What we celebrate, we will receive more of.

So what are you celebrating? What are you not celebrating enough? What do you want more of?

 

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The Most Important Question You Can Ask Yourself Today

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Mark Manson recently posted an awesome article on choosing success through choosing the pain that one can endure. Check it out below.

Everybody wants what feels good. Everyone wants to live a care-free, happy and easy life, to fall in love and have amazing sex and relationships, to look perfect and make money and be popular and well-respected and admired and a total baller to the point that people part like the Red Sea when you walk into the room.

Everybody wants that — it’s easy to want that.

If I ask you, “What do you want out of life?” and you say something like, “I want to be happy and have a great family and a job I like,” it’s so ubiquitous that it doesn’t even mean anything.

Everyone wants that. So what’s the point?

What’s more interesting to me is what pain do you want? What are you willing to struggle for? Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives end up.

Everybody wants to have an amazing job and financial independence — but not everyone is willing to suffer through 60-hour work weeks, long commutes, obnoxious paperwork, to navigate arbitrary corporate hierarchies and the blasé confines of an infinite cubicle hell. People want to be rich without the risk, with the delayed gratification necessary to accumulate wealth.

Everybody wants to have great sex and an awesome relationship — but not everyone is willing to go through the tough communication, the awkward silences, the hurt feelings and the emotional psychodrama to get there. And so they settle. They settle and wonder “What if?” for years and years and until the question morphs from “What if?” into “What for?” And when the lawyers go home and the alimony check is in the mail they say, “What was it all for?” If not for their lowered standards and expectations for themselves 20 years prior, then what for?

Because happiness requires struggle. You can only avoid pain for so long before it comes roaring back to life.

At the core of all human behavior, the good feelings we all want are more or less the same. Therefore what we get out of life is not determined by the good feelings we desire but by what bad feelings we’re willing to sustain.

“Nothing good in life comes easy,” we’ve been told that a hundred times before. The good things in life we accomplish are defined by where we enjoy the suffering, where we enjoy the struggle.

People want an amazing physique. But you don’t end up with one unless you legitimately love the pain and physical stress that comes with living inside a gym for hour upon hour, unless you love calculating and calibrating the food you eat, planning your life out in tiny plate-sized portions.

People want to start their own business or become financially independent. But you don’t end up a successful entrepreneur unless you find a way to love the risk, the uncertainty, the repeated failures, and working insane hours on something you have no idea whether will be successful or not. Some people are wired for that sort of pain, and those are the ones who succeed.

People want a boyfriend or girlfriend. But you don’t end up attracting amazing peoplewithout loving the emotional turbulence that comes with weathering rejections, building the sexual tension that never gets released, and staring blankly at a phone that never rings. It’s part of the game of love. You can’t win if you don’t play.

What determines your success is “What pain do you want to sustain?”

I wrote in an article last week that I’ve always loved the idea of being a surfer, yet I’ve never made consistent effort to surf regularly. Truth is: I don’t enjoy the pain that comes with paddling until my arms go numb and having water shot up my nose repeatedly. It’s not for me. The cost outweighs the benefit. And that’s fine.

On the other hand, I am willing to live out of a suitcase for months on end, to stammer around in a foreign language for hours with people who speak no English to try and buy a cell phone, to get lost in new cities over and over and over again. Because that’s the sort of pain and stress I enjoy sustaining. That’s where my passion lies, not just in the pleasures, but in the stress and pain.

There’s a lot of self development advice out there that says, “You’ve just got to want it enough!”

That’s only partly true. Everybody wants something. And everybody wants something badly enough. They just aren’t being honest with themselves about what they actually want that bad.

If you want the benefits of something in life, you have to also want the costs. If you want the six pack, you have to want the sweat, the soreness, the early mornings, and the hunger pangs. If you want the yacht, you have to also want the late nights, the risky business moves, and the possibility of pissing off a person or ten.

If you find yourself wanting something month after month, year after year, yet nothing happens and you never come any closer to it, then maybe what you actually want is a fantasy, an idealization, an image and a false promise. Maybe you don’t actually want it at all.

So I ask you, “How are you willing to suffer?”

Because you have to choose something. You can’t have a pain-free life. It can’t all be roses and unicorns.

Choose how you are willing to suffer.

Because that’s the hard question that matters. Pleasure is an easy question. And pretty much all of us have the same answer.

The more interesting question is the pain. What is the pain that you want to sustain?

Because that answer will actually get you somewhere. It’s the question that can change your life. It’s what makes me me and you you. It’s what defines us and separates us and ultimately brings us together.

So what’s it going to be?

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Running the Leadership Marathon

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I recently spoke with a friend of mine about how he views influential leadership and I found his take on things to be noteworthy.

When I asked him what makes a great leader, he replied:

“If you lead for 5 years every day, that’s a good leader.

If you lead for 10 years, you’ve become a great leader.

If you lead for 15 years, you have become a special leader.”

Sure, it is simplistic and there some important details to be added into that context. However, he brought up a great point. Truly effective, influential, and life-changing leadership is a marathon. Every moment of leadership you experience, every blog post of mine that you read, every time you choose courage over safety is reminiscent of a marathon runner taking a step each time. 26.2 miles is a long way to walk, jog, or run… but no runner will get there without taking thousands upon thousands of steps.

How are you taking steps towards your 26.2? Are these the kinds of steps that sustain you, move you forward, and build you towards the leader you want to be? If I’m fully honest with myself, I believe I am jogging this marathon, sometimes running a little bit, but it’s a good reminder for myself and hopefully you as well to pace yourself and to continue onward over the long-haul.

 

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Can intrinsic motivation be taught?

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This is part 2 in a series on how to create the perfect team.

Part 1 of this series was about collecting and cultivating a culture of emotional intelligence. While emotional intelligence is HUGELY important, there are other factors that lead to success – one of which is manifesting a community that is intrinsically motivated towards success.

So what is intrinsic motivation? To understand this best, let’s take a step back. Motivation is defined by Webster’s dictionary as “a force or influence that causes someone to do something.” However, there are two types of motivation: extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.

Extrinsic Motivation – Pertains to outside forces and factors that motivate a person to do something. Examples may be a paycheck and material rewards.

Intrinsic Motivation – Pertains to internal forces and factors that motivate a person to do something. Examples may be the feeling of achieving and moral obligations.

For a long time, businesses considered extrinsic motivation to be worthwhile (and perhaps it was at one point). However, times and culture have changed, and there is a myriad of research available now that shows that extrinsically motivated people can do well in spurts but intrinsically motivated people are leaders, consistent, and the most successful. It’s a bit like musicians; Musicians making music solely for moneary reward often burn out quickly or are terrible (think New Kids on the Block) – but musicians making music to express an internal feeling or experience will write music that more often has an impact on others (think Nirvana). Intrinsic motivation feels different and looks different.

So how can we influence others to be more intrinsically motivated?

1. Define success. Some people don’t even know what success looks like. Having clear expectations allows a person to know what they need to do to succeed.

2. Create a way for a person to keep score of their performance. Intrinsic motivation involves an element of understanding if someone is doing well or not. Keeping score can refer to displaying metrics (a scoresheet) or supplying people with inventories that allow them to qualitatively rate themselves on your defined standards of success.

3. Be good to others. I once worked for a boss who treated his employees amazingly well. Every single person in that office worked hard for him because we wanted him to be proud of us.

4. Give feedback. Parnter with the people around you and let them know that you care about their success and the job they’re doing. Being noticed by another person is a powerful feeling of affirmation and perpetuates positive behavior.

5. Create a culture of intrinsically motivated success. Encourage those around you who “get it” to spread the wealth. The power of cultural majority and peer pressure is an amazingly powerful force that ought be harnessed.

Imagine coming to work and being surrounded by people who truly want to do a great job in everything they do. This is possible when we inspire others to develop intrinsic motivation.

What are some other ideas you have on influencing this shift?

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Motivation

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A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus. – Martin Luther King Jr.

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5 Questions with Hsuanwei Fan

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Hsuanwei Fan

Name: Hsuanwei Fan

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Occupation: Teach For America Corps Member assigned to the Los Angeles School District

1. Think back to when you were extremely motivated by a boss, leader, or teammate. What did they say or do that motivated you so much and why did it work?

I think the best kind of motivation I’ve received from a leader is seeing them lead by example. It is one thing to try to lecture a team to victory and a whole different story with the one in charge LEADING the charge. I like seeing my leaders in action because then their passion for the cause becomes evident, and it is a good way for them to also display their expertise at whatever you’re trying to accomplish, which wins me and my loyalty and respect over a hundredfold over just words that were meant to be inspiring.
2. When have you been very unmotivated by a boss, leader, or teammate? Why did it create a feeling of un-motivation to do your job better?

I think the worst kind of example a leader could set is a display of incompetence. It is important for leaders to continue to educate themselves and sharpen their skills so that in the end, they are not only seen as someone who delegates responsibilities and sit back. Another trait that makes it difficult for me to respect a leader is when they are extremely closed-minded. A good leader is able to take and value input from different people, regardless of whether there is an impressive title or credentials by their name. I value leaders who can take constructive criticism and occasionally change their mind for the benefit of the cause or project that the team is hoping to accomplish.

3.What is one characteristic you look for in an effective leader?
I think I may have touched upon this quite a bit in the past two responses, but another characteristic that impresses me in an effective leader is the ability to be versatile and resilient. A leader who can quickly adapt to drastically changing situations calmly and without panic helps the team remain focused on solutions rather than uncertainty. In the face of a setback or disappointment, a leader who is able to remain optimistic and reassuring can inspire hope, which is much more preferred compared to the alternative.

4. Think back to when you were extremely motivated by a boss, leader, or teammate. What did they say or do that motivated you so much and why did it work?

I think the best kind of motivation I’ve received from a leader is seeing them lead by example. It is one thing to try to lecture a team to victory and a whole different story with the one in charge LEADING the charge. I like seeing my leaders in action because then their passion for the cause becomes evident, and it is a good way for them to also display their expertise at whatever you’re trying to accomplish, which wins me and my loyalty and respect over a hundredfold over just words that were meant to be inspiring.

5. When have you been very unmotivated by a boss, leader, or teammate? Why did it create a feeling of un-motivation to do your job better?

I think the worst kind of example a leader could set is a display of incompetence. It is important for leaders to continue to educate themselves and sharpen their skills so that in the end, they are not only seen as someone who delegates responsibilities and sit back. Another trait that makes it difficult for me to respect a leader is when they are extremely closed-minded. A good leader is able to take and value input from different people, regardless of whether there is an impressive title or credentials by their name. I value leaders who can take constructive criticism and occasionally change their mind for the benefit of the cause or project that the team is hoping to accomplish.

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5 Questions With Mark Keating

5qs

 

Mark Keating

Mark Keating

Singer Songwriter (TMG)

Think back to when you were extremely motivated by a boss, leader, or teammate. What did they say or do that motivated you so much and why did it work?

The sense of motivation came through a couple different ways. There was the opportunity aspect and the prospect of a challenge. The best example of this that I can think would be a situation with a band I used to play with. I started acting with them when I was 17 and the more opportunity I was given to do different songs the more I rose to the challenge and grew as a musician.

When have you been very unmotivated by a boss, leader, or teammate? Why did it create a feeling of un-motivation to do your job better?

The circumstance in which there was a lack of motivation came from a different boss, one that I also no longer work for. The obvious displays of favoritism and being passed on for opportunities for advancement played a key role in that. Self-motivation can only get you so far when a manager creates an environment without incentive. You don’t motivate the worker who is being treated less favorably because their efforts reap no fruit and it spoils the others into not striving for anything.

What is one characteristic you look for in an effective leader?

I look for honesty in a leader. If a manager or boss can’t look honestly at a situation and make the best decision based on facts instead of opinion or favorable feelings then the company or group will suffer. This includes being able to honestly discern the employees’ skills and capabilities.

When have you motivated another person to better themselves or to be more productive in their job?

I go into any sort of leadership position, however big or small, with the same attitude. Treat an employee or a student with a sense of respect. Actually expect something of them but give them the tools and opportunities to do succeed. I have done that with music lessons with my students by having shows in which they can demonstrate what they’ve learned and feel proud of it. I’ve done in more normal job settings by training people then letting them do it. I don’t constantly hover over them waiting for a mistake. If a mistake is made I offer help but allow them to try and remedy the situation themselves.

What is one piece of advice you’d give towards aspiring leaders?

My piece of advice would have to be warning against the destruction of micro managing. No employee exceeds expectation while being micromanaged. No employee grows as a leader themselves if they are not delegated some responsibility. You end up with a team of well-trained yes men and that does not for a good company make.

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