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Gregorian Rants

Big Wins First

By dangregorytii | June 8, 2016

Dan Gregory

Naval Adm. William H. McRaven famously suggested that one of the keys to feeling more motivated and driving personal success, was to start the day by making your bed.

A better strategy, in my opinion, is to start the day with Big Wins First.

Of course, if your life’s work and personal mission is defined by crisp linen and hospital corners, then have at it. But you may, in fact, be psychologically conditioning yourself to prioritise the trivial, or in fact, to not prioritize at all.

So how does one achieve a Big Win First?

This simple piece of motivation design requires little more than a blank sheet of paper, or a softly humming digital screen and interface.

Make three lists:

  1. Big Wins
  2. To Dos
  3. Week Plan

Determine what your Big Wins are – for me, it’s things like writing a new chapter for my latest book or authoring a new keynote speech, but it might just as easily be a core piece of a larger project. Yours will obviously be determined by your own personal and business ambitions.

Next, list the To Dos – those mundane activities that must be done, but are hardly inspiring.

Lastly, compose your Week Plan placing a Big Win at the top of each days’ list.

The point is, this should be the first thing that has your attention each day and the day should not encroach on your Big Win until you’ve won. At this point, it matters little what happens to the rest of your day, how many people interrupt you or what little failures you experience. You’ve already won… and won big!

More importantly, you’re conditioning your mind and your habits to prioritize your priorities, and over time, this leads to personal progress that truly matters.

Need to vs Want to

By dangregorytii | June 8, 2016

Dan Gregory

One of the things that has human beings turning to motivational literature in their multitudes is the difference between “Need to” and “Want to”.

Typically, want to doesn’t require a lot of motivation – it’s intrinsically linked to whatever that activity might be. Few of us need to “motivate” ourselves to enjoy a good meal or a soft bed at the end of a long day.

However, activities that are more need to, or have to, or (shudder) shoulds tend to rely on extrinsic motivation in one form or another. This might be a deadline, or some kind of legal repercussion, a physical or reputational risk or something of the like. In other words, if we don’t, we’re going to get our procrastinating butts kicked.

Often times, this can be motivation enough. But that leaves what to do about those tasks where the outside, or extrinsic, cost isn’t enough to motivate us. Famed author, Douglas Adams, once quipped, “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they pass by.”

So what kind of motivation is required for a need to activity that, may not be enjoyable or even pleasant, is still rather necessary?

This is where behavioral, or motivation, design can be of enormous assistance.

We’ve all used motivation design in one form or another throughout our lives – you may have placed an alarm clock on the other side of the room so that you couldn’t just hit snooze, or you may have parked the car a reasonable distance from the office to enforce some daily aerobic activity, or you might even have coordinated your daily movements in order that your path might cross with a secret love interest (but this is clearly stalking and not to be encouraged).

The long and shot of it is, by designing our environments, and indeed systems, so that they support these necessary activities, and might even make them intrinsically motivating or at least hard to avoid, we increase our chances of success and critically, shift our mindset surrounding these activities in such a way that they become less paralyzing in the future.

So, if you need to, systematize it until it becomes unconscious competence. (But stop following people home… it’s creepy.)

Mastervation

By dangregorytii | June 1, 2016

Dan Gregory

There’s a lot of misinformation around the concept of motivation – mostly perpetuated by so-called gurus who’s personal motivation is to lighten your wallet and line theirs.

We’ve been told to set goals (backed up by Yale’s 1953 goals study where those rare few who wrote down specific and measurable goals achieved far greater wealth, happiness and fame than their peers. A study that Yale contends never actually happened). Yet this so-called “historic precident” has informed business and personal motivation strategies for decades.

We’ve also been told to recite affirmations to ourselves in the mirror each morning, delivered in the present tense with vivid emotional expression (no doubt the mirror is there in order that our subconscious can observe our own spectatular hypocrisy – It turns out, “I am not a magnificent snow flake filled with the essense of pure potentiality” after all).

More recent psychological studies inform us that our minds, rather than simply accepting these affirmations, as some kind of inert mental computer programming, instead seek evidence for or against these statements and often come up with damning evidence to the contrary. This can in fact entrench the undesired beliefs, affirmations and outcomes we are seeking to avoid.

In fact, our 21st Centrury brains have become exquisite BS detectors for all but motivational spin.

So what is real motivation? Or are we all just jerk offs jerking off?

Well, yes and no.

Real motivation is something we all have experience of. When we’re engaged in something we care about or with people we care about we feel an emotion Mihaly Csiksgentmihalyi describes as “Flow”.

So why the confusion?

Typically, when people talk about motivation, what they really mean is pushing yourself to do something you don’t enjoy or are not truly passionate about, like exercising or eating health food… eeeaaargh!!! This translates more accurately as mental compulsion.

That’s a problem, because this kind of ra ra style motivation is only ever a short term strategy. In other words it runs out!

Creating engagement around these challenging endeavours requires designing environments and processes that amplify engagement intrinsically, not just “mastervation”.

So, stop it, or you’ll all go blind…

E: info@theimpossibleinstitute.com

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Subscribe to Gregorian Rants™

E: info@theimpossibleinstitute.com

T: +61 (0)2 9651 5384

P: PO Box 226

    Broadway NSW 2007

    Australia

Subscribe to Gregorian Rants™

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