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How Self-Motivation Can Be Easier When You Find Your True Calling

How Self-Motivation Can Be Easier When You Find Your True Calling

Whenever a new year starts, we often make our own new year’s resolution. But how long can you keep it? One week? One month? Six months? Entire year?

Well… You know it by heart.

You want to be healthy but you can’t resist to junk food. You want to get in shape but you are too lazy to sweat. You want to save some money but you continue to spend money on meaningless things. You want to get promoted but you don’t even want to go to work.

Are we just too weak to stay motivated?

Maybe yes. Maybe not.

You are just fulfilling the obligations or expectations imposed by others

When we talk about self-motivation, we talk about ‘self’. It is not about someone else. It is ALL ABOUT YOU. If you are just trying to fulfill the obligations or expectations imposed by others, you will never be able to stick to it. If your parents want you to earn more money and you try to follow, it’s not likely you will have the motivation to do it till the end as you barely know why you should do this.

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You are not sure what you want to do

A vague and unspecific new year’s resolution always die in silence. Not having a clear goal is often the reason why we lack motivation. If you say you want to earn more money, you can’t just say it. Things don’t happen like magic. Without a clear direction, you will feel like running on an endless track. You will easily give up in the middle as you never see the sign which guides you to the finishing line.

You are not ready for a change

‘Let’s leave it for tomorrow.’ That’s the most typical line from a person who lacks motivation. Perhaps sometimes we are too optimistic, thinking that things are not that bad and everything can wait until tomorrow. You might want to lose weight for years but you might only start exercising when you find yourself dying of diabetes. People always only feel the strong need to change when they’re at the edge of a cliff.

And you can’t just let it be

Some even lack the motivation to learn to motivate themselves. But, please, don’t give up.

Self-motivation is an important skill that all of us need to master. At work, being able to motivate yourself and others makes things work better. When you encounter a massive and overwhelming task, you should be able to motivate yourself instead of procrastinating, which makes you harder to overcome inertia.

In your personal life, self-motivation is important as well. Think of the countless time when you lack motivation to go to gym or to save more. How do you feel about these? Perhaps a feeling of failure and frustration. You often feel bad. But if you can motivate yourself and achieve something, you will feel the pride and delight.

Find out what motivates you

Here, the most direct way to motivate yourself is to first find out what motivates you. It sounds straightforward but sometimes it might take a second thought to figure out your motivation.

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There are two kinds of motivation: [1]

Intrinsic: To perform an action or task based on the expected or perceived satisfaction of performing the action or task. Intrinsic motivators include having fun, being interested and personal challenge.

Extrinsic: To perform an action or task in order to attain some sort of reward, including money, power and good marks or grades.

If you find your motive is extrinsic, try to immerse it into your goal. Let’s say your goal is to get in shape, try to think of what kinds of reward you can get during the journey or after you achieve your goal. For example, you might be able to turn it into your career to make money.

Scott Geller’s 4C model

Scott Geller, an Alumni Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology at Virginia Tech, introduces the 4C’s of self-motivation to help people motivate themselves. They are: competence, consequences, choice, and community.

Competence

Ask yourself two questions first:

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  • Do you believe you can do it?
  • Will it work?

If the answer to both question is YES, then you would feel competent and are more likely to be self-motivated.

It feels like common sense but it’s based on research about self-efficacy. If you don’t believe you can do it and you don’t believe it will work, there’s no point in doing. You can still try but in the next minute you would probably say, ‘See? I’ve told you it doesn’t work’. Then you give up. It doesn’t matter whether you can really do it. What matters is you have to believe it. That’s what keeps you going.

Consequences

Here comes another question, ask yourself:

  • Is it worth it?

From the day you were born, everything you did was because you wanted something from doing it. Babies cry as they want food while children work hard on study as they want good grades.

When you believe you are doing worthwhile work, you are more determined to do it. If you want to get in shape, you calculate the pros and cons. You might feel tired after doing workout but what you can gain might be a good shape and a good health. You compare the pros and cons to see if it’s worthwhile. Once you believe that it’s worthwhile, you would focus more on the pros instead of the cons.

Choice

When you have a sense of autonomy, you are more inspired to do the task at hand.

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Think of the time when you were kids. Everyday you wake up in the morning and rush to school. How do you think about ‘going to school’? ‘I have got to go to class’? Or ‘I get to go to class’? For the former one, it’s a requirement; for the latter one, it’s a opportunity. Although most of us have successfully graduated from school, probably not many not us find motivation in school because we think we have no other options.

So, if you want to do something, do it for yourself. It is nearly impossible for you to feel motivated if that’s only a requirement for you. If you want to be healthy, don’t think it is only because your doctor tells you to do so. Instead, try to relate whatever that motivates you and say that it’s my choice to be healthy.

Community

Social support is critical. People who perceive a sense of connection with other people feel motivated and happier.

The power of a man is limited. And everyone has weaknesses. When things get tough, it’s always good to have someone to remind us and to encourage us. If you get tired and lack motivation, you need someone to remind you the reason why you start at first. Sometimes you also need someone to help you believe in yourself. And most of all, we need to learn from each other.

To know more about the psychology of self-motivation, take a look at the TED talk by Scott Geller here:

Learn from book to motivate yourself

    Motivate Yourself: Get the Life You Want, Find Purpose and Achieve Fulfilment is a book written by Andro Donovan. It offers practical strategies to improve your productivity, such as how to quieten that negative inner voice that inhibits your personal growth and how to motivate those around you with productivity at the center of everything you do. The exercises introduced help you to move past your self-doubt and propel yourself into living your dream.

    Reference

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    Sheba Leung

    Translator. Sport lover. Traveler.

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    Last Updated on October 22, 2020

    8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

    8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

    How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

    Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

    When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

    Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

    What Makes People Poor Listeners?

    Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

    1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

    Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

    Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

    It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

    2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

    This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

    Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

    3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

    It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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    I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

    If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

    4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

    While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

    To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

    My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

    Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

    Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

    How To Be a Better Listener

    For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

    1. Pay Attention

    A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

    According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

    As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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    I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

    2. Use Positive Body Language

    You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

    A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

    People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

    But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

    According to Alan Gurney,[2]

    “An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

    Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

    3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

    I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

    Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

    Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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    Be polite and wait your turn!

    4. Ask Questions

    Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

    5. Just Listen

    This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

    I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

    I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

    6. Remember and Follow Up

    Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

    For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

    According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

    It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

    7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

    If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

    Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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    Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

    Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

    NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

    1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
    2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

    8. Maintain Eye Contact

    When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

    Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

    By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

    Final Thoughts

    Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

    You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

    And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

    More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
    [2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
    [3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
    [4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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