5: Motivation

I’m currently reading John Maxwell’s book “Failing Forward”.  He talks about our need to handle failure, as that is the only way we learn how to succeed.  I have to agree.  As a teacher, I see kids scared to offer up answers, but if I ask “Who can give me part of the answer to build on?”, I get many volunteers.  The risk of being wrong is taken away, so fear decreases significantly!  Without fear, we are more willing to motivate ourselves, and make an attempt in which we may not experience success by trying.

In his book, Maxwell describes a part of an article he read:

We have news for you.  Motivation is not going to strike you like lightning.  And motivation is not something that someone else-nurse, doctor, family member- can bestow or force on you. The whole idea of motivation is a trap.  Forget motivation.  Just do it.  Exercise, lose weight, test your blood sugar, or whatever.  Do it without motivation and then guess what.  After you start doing the thing, that’s when the motivation comes and makes it easy for you to keep on doing it.

Motivation is like love and happiness.  It’s a by-product.  When you’re actively engaged in doing something, it sneaks up and zaps you when you least expect it.

As Harvard psychologist Jerome Bruner says, “You’re more likely to act yourself into feeling than feel yourself into action.”  So act!  Whatever it is you know you should do, do it.

I soooo agree with that statement!  How many of us asked ourselves “Do I really feel like doing _____?” and decided not to do it – just that one time of course!  I try to set a routine, do it, then ask myself afterward if it was worth it.  If I start getting more “it wasn’t worth it” responses, I re-evaluate the routine, but it isn’t optional for a period of time.  It’s too easy to lose motivation as time goes on.  Set smaller goals that keep you feeling good or give you a sense of achievement.  From a teacher perspective: homework or daily grades measure progress; a quiz makes sure you remember what you did; and a test evaluates the quality of how well you learned and recall the lessons.

Maxwell also points out: “You have to approach each day with reasonable expectations and not get your feelings hurt when everything doesn’t turn out perfectly.”  We have to make mistakes to recognize success, and as we have more success, we begin to recognize mistakes or less successful actions sooner.  Just keep trying something new.  Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different outcome….

“Autobiography in Five Short Chapters”                                                           by Portia Nelson

Chapter 1 – I walk down the street.  There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.  I fall in.  I am lost.  I am helpless.  It isn’t my fault.  It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2 – I walk down the street.  There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.  I pretend I don’t see it.  I fall in again.  I can’t believe I’m in the same place, but it isn’t my fault.  It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3 – I walk down the same street.  There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.  I see it is there.  I still fall in.  I am lost.  It’s a habit.  My eyes are open.  I know where I am.  It is my fault.  I get out immediately.

Chapter 4 – I walk down the street.  There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.  I walk around it.

Chapter 5 – I walk down another street.

Sometimes, it’s easy to recognize a mistake, and other times, we need to try a few variations of the same thing before coming to that conclusion.  Find goals to keep you motivated to keep trying, and make adjustments for success along the way!


About Heather Sanders

Credentialed Middle School Teacher & Special Education Degrees in Social Work and Biology Networking Professional Hope-giving Encourager
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