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12 Things Highly Uninspired People Do

12 Things Highly Uninspired People Do

There’s a difference between motivation and inspiration: motivation is temporary and inspiration is bigger and serves a higher calling. People can be motivated by money in the short term, but we all seek to be inspired by being involved with something with a greater purpose. Some of us go through each day uninspired. Maybe because we haven’t set down and created goals that inspire us to do more, become more, and have more. Uninspired people do these 12 following things well.

1. They try to get through the day instead of getting something from the day.

We call these people clock watchers. They usually say, “I can’t wait until it’s lunchtime,” “I can’t wait until break,” and then lastly, “I can’t wait until I get off work.” Then when they get home they plop down and watch the latest reality TV shows.

2. They seek entertainment instead of development.

The highly uninspired are usually more concerned with the next “Dancing With the Stars” episodes or the next sporting event of their favorite team. They look for entertainment instead of trying to invest in themselves, usually because they haven’t realized they aren’t yet fully developed or they are just lazy.

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3. They focus on what is wrong instead of what is right.

Everything is wrong and nothing is right. The highly uninspired are so focused on what is wrong that they can’t objectively see anything that is good.

4. “What if…?” isn’t in their vocabulary.

“I can’t,” “It’s too hard,” or “It won’t work,” are their favorite sayings. They can’t think about, “What if I read one book a month?” or, “What if I worked harder on the job?” or even, “What if I turned off the TV and did something that contributed to a bigger goal?”

5. They see what they can get away with, instead of what they can do.

They show up late, slide out early. They look for ways to get around, instead of going through. They say, “I did what you asked me to do,” instead of asking, “What else can I do?”

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6. They focus on today only and don’t think about tomorrow.

The highly uninspired are not thinking long term. They are thinking about today and how they can get through it. They are not setting goals that require them to think past today.

7. They seek followers that are also uninspired.

We have all heard misery loves company. The highly uninspired look for others who are uninspired and who can validate how they feel and make them feel better about themselves, knowing they aren’t the only ones. They want to bring people to their pity party.

8. They seek activity over accomplishments.

They think that activity is just as good as accomplishing. They would rather get through the day and say, “I was so busy,” and feel like that really means they did something. They love the excuse that they are always busy doing the things that don’t matter.

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9. They do what is easy.

The highly uninspired stay away from the hard stuff. They look at the to do list and ask themselves, “What is easy and what can I do so I can appear to be busy?”

10. They want something handed to them.

They think that the government, their employer, and their parents owe them something. They look for handouts, or even worse ask for handouts, instead of looking at what they can do to earn something.

11. They care more about what’s in it for them than the good of all.

They are usually more focused on themselves and don’t really think about others. This is probably what has led them down the road to being highly uninspired. When you give more than you take, it is more rewarding and you get energy and inspiration for doing good for others.

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12. They make excuses instead of taking action.

They blame the weather, they blame the office, they blame their boss. They never take ownership or action to get things done. They would rather complain about all of the obstacles, and usually complain more about potential obstacles than those that actually exist.

We all get to a point where our inspiration may be lacking, the above points are your warning signs that you may need to re-evaluate where you are. Ask yourself, “Am I doing some of the things outlined above?” If so, ask yourself a second question: “Are my goals big enough to inspire me to do more, become more, and ultimately to have more?” To have more you must become more. You must become a better employee, a better manager, a better leader, and a better learner.  When you create worthwhile goals and you search and seek information and take action on that information, you will become highly inspired to accomplish those goals and you will go from being highly uninspired to highly inspired, and will even inspire others.

Featured photo credit: Highly Uninspired via morguefile.com

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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