One of my most productive habits is to read everyday. A minimum of one to two hours of my day is dedicated to reading the best books on various subjects that interest me including self-help, motivation, leadership, business (auto) biographies of legends of the past and the present, relationships, and my new found interest in stocks and investments. Twenty minutes in to my readings and I feel a new high. I feel immensely motivated, inspired, more knowledgeable and powerful. Science says similar motivation occurs after a workout and the reason to it is that when we involve ourselves in such activities, our body produces and releases dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins-the neurotransmitters responsible for happiness. These activities make us feel good about ourselves. But here is another fact, just like everything else, there effect lasts only enough and before we know, we fall back in to our (usual) old pattern of negative thinking, stress, anxiety, unhappiness, and/or feeling low which is why many people claim that motivation does not work.
Now, I am here to tell you that nothing can be further from the truth, I repeat NOTHING. MOTIVATION WORKS PHENOMENALLY, but you got to remember the words of one of the greatest salesman and motivational trainer of all times, the great late Zig Ziglar when he humorously, yet very seriously pressed on the fact that “Neither are bathing and eating permanent which is why I recommend it daily.” I hope that at least made you smile :).
When it comes to it, our body gives us signals when it sweats, stinks, and gets hungry. These signals are passed on to our minds which trigger us, out of long-term formed habits, to bathe and eat respectively. Please understand that these now seemingly automatic reactions to signs are patterns formed from life-long training and influence of our surroundings. Now connect that same psychology to motivation and understand that stress, anxiety, unhappiness, and/ or feeling low are mere reactions formed out of life-long training (mostly unconscious) and influence of people around us (family, friends, teachers, politicians, and country.) The great news is we have all the power in us to break them and form new habits of focus, determination, positive attitude, enthusiasm and commitment. Isn’t that fantastic? ABSOLUTELY.
The question that might be triggering in your head is, “But I don’t know how can I do this Ashish?” I want to assure you, it is not some challenging or complicated theory meant for only a few. In fact, it’s simple; here check it out: Just the way you formed the negative ones, you now got to work on the positives, the only difference being, the latter being formed consciously. You see, habits don’t know which ones are good and which ones are bad; they are simply habits. In addition, habits can never be removed, they can only be replaced. So instead of fighting your negative ones, accept that they exist and simply focus on replacing them with the positive ones. When you do that long enough, as Science confirms, new patterns are formed in your brain which overpower the old ones. This combined with time and continuous practice strengthens their impact burying the old patterns under-stronger and harder. This is what results in a complete replacement. So when you notice someone who never exercised before now doing so regularly, someone who would always be angry now acting much more calmer and seemingly happy, or someone ensuring family time with his/her spouse and kids on weekends like never before, know that these are new habits which have replaced the old ones after committed effort on a daily basis to bring upon a drastic change in lifestyle and relationships.
Sometimes such drastic changes are noticed in individuals after a life altering scenario such as an accident, death of a loved one or due to a severe health condition. All such instances do is activate the conscious power within us to change at a much higher rate versus under normal circumstances where though one may not be happy, there is nothing as such that demands immediate transformation. This is why building a positive and motivated outlook towards life is such a challenging task for most men and women.
The great news is that there are many ways which can help you form new habits better and smoother. All you got to make sure is that you sincerely follow. Writing your mission statement, what you would love to do with your life (your dreams), your likes and dislikes are the key. The most important thing to remember when doing this self-revelation exercise is to do it in a quiet environment. Also, I am highly optimistic, from my experience and that of many others, that though you may like to do this alone, having a counselor, a psychologist, a wise friend or a close trusted genuinely caring member of your family being a part of it will raise your commitment to it drastically. In the exercise, ask yourself what is that I would love to do if money was not an issue? What is that I would want people to remember me as when I die meaning what kind of a legacy do I want to leave behind? What are my hobbies? Is there a way I can practice them full-time while earning a decent living from it? What am I giving back to the society? Though this may challenge you to go really deep, I am positively assuming you would agree- it’s worth it!
In conclusion, all great achievers work on themselves every day. It’s not a one-time event, but a matter of investing in yourself daily through great books, audios, videos, connecting with role models and the reason that the tough get going when the going gets tough is that they remember their ‘why’ (mission statement). You need to also, if you want to live a fulfilling life. Yes, it will take elevated levels of commitment, dedication, and self-discipline, but I assure you with my soul, it will be worth it. Alas, if it were easy, everybody would do it and our World would have no challenges. Ironically, if we don’t, we won’t know the difference between a waste of life and a fulfilled life. But since life is a hard earned gift, it’s real worth only comes to those who value it by working on themselves daily.