The mood struck when I saw this article: Study Finds People Who Fall For Nonsense Inspirational Quotes Are Less Intelligent. It reminded me of my “series” on dumb motivational quotes of which I’ve only written one post. Well today is post number two!
Today’s dumb motivational quote is: “Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience.” I have no idea who said that which is good because I won’t feel bad saying that quote is really really stupid.
First of all how well does this person really know trees? I mean, are they on a first name basis? Is there a tree this person would want to have a beer with? But beyond really “knowing” a tree what exactly do trees teach about patience?
I get that they wait, they stand still, that trees aren’t in a hurry, but that’s mainly because they’re inanimate. Patience is one thing but I don’t think there’s anyone out there whose goal is to be inanimate. Trees live a long time and that too takes patience but a tree isn’t going to teach anyone to live hundreds and even thousands of years. At the end of patience is an outcome but for a tree there is no outcome just more of being a tree.
Patience is a good thing and not enough people practice it (I know I struggle with it). We get angry first and ask questions later, we listen just long enough to jump in and add our thoughts or comments, we want things now rather than later. Instead we should seek to understand first and give the benefit of the doubt before anger begins to form, we should listen, really listen, and try to understand. It’s ok to wait because not everything happens on your schedule.
Patience however shouldn’t lead to inaction. Sometimes you have to push things along. A healthy balance between patience and agitation keeps momentum going.
What dumb motivational quotes do you recommend I feature in future articles? Please add your thoughts in the comments section below.
Posted in General, Outdoors, Success and tagged motivation, motivational, patience, quotes, tree by AJ with no comments yet.
I’m not saying that having confidence is a bad thing or that being positive is a waste of time, I’m not telling you success isn’t worth working toward. I’m an advocate for curiosity, for adventure, for pushing yourself to your limits in order to discover what you’re good at, to find what excites you. Do all of those things but understand what you’re getting into, what you’ll likely face. I saw a tweet yesterday that is appropriate here:
Successful people are very good at managing risk, at understanding the odds and finding ways to tilt the odds in their favor.
You might think you’re good at that too and that’s where self-awareness comes into play. The cheerleaders out there will tell you you’re great, that everything will work out if you just believe but that’s not necessarily true. Belief only gets you so far.
This is why I’m a big fan of Gary Vaynerchuk, he puts a lot of value on self awareness, he’s not a cheerleader in the sense that he’s honest with himself and has no problem being honest with his advice.
Listen to the cheerleaders for inspiration, get fired up, but then get real. Look at your What Next from every angle and anticipate as many problems from the start. Be an optimist in the dream phase and a pessimist in the implementation phase.
Posted in Business, Curiosity, General, Success, Taking Action and tagged adventure, anthony robbins, Curiosity, gary vaynerchuk, honest, motivation, risk, self-awareness by AJ with no comments yet.
I spoke at a Youth Leadership Summit last week and in my presentation I held up very successful people as examples and asked the attendees what traits led to these people’s wild success at various stages of their career.
I don’t mean lazy like we sit on a couch watching TV, eating chips rather than working (everyone at the summit had a career and took the additional step of attending the summit). I mean lazy in comparison to the examples I held out, people like Richard Branson, Ted Turner, Gary Vaynerchuk and many more who have enough energy and drive to keep them moving toward success.
I don’t have nearly as much energy as the previous examples and yet I work a full time job (which I have progressed in over the years), own rental properties, own and operate a retail service business, write books, and blog. I want to do more but I have to work my way up to it. Just as running a marathon takes conditioning, so too does the marathon of success take conditioning. How many of us are willing to do the work to build that base of conditioning?
Posted in Curiosity, General, Success, Taking Action and tagged adventure, creativity, Curiosity, flexibility, motivation, passion, perseverance by AJ with no comments yet.
Tomas may indeed be smarter than me but that doesn’t make him right. Confidence does matter and his article makes clear that he does not understand the difference between confidence and arrogance. He makes three points in the article and all are easily refuted.
Lower self-confidence makes you pay attention to negative feedback and be self-critical
While that may be true, what about that statement says that high self-confidence makes you ignore negative feedback and makes you less self-critical? I’m a very confident person (some may even say over confident) but I put a huge value on feedback and negative feedback is much more important to me than positive feedback. Anyone can tell me an idea is great but I want to find the holes in my logic, the problems I’m too close to see. My confidence has nothing to do with my critical thinking abilities. There isn’t a decision I’ve made that I haven’t gone back and evaluated how I could improve upon it, it’s called learning and it’s something I believe in and confidence doesn’t diminish that.
Lower self-confidence can motivate you to work harder and prepare more
Again the statement itself is true but motivation comes in many forms and my confidence doesn’t diminish the various motivating factors that make up my ambition. As I write in What Next: “motivation is the tinder for the spark of inspiration; it is the thing that catches fire.” Once the fire is burning confidence will help you to carry it like a torch to light the way for others.
Lower self-confidence reduces the chances of coming across as arrogant or being deluded
And here it is. Tomas is equating confidence with arrogance and they are two very different things. Confidence may look like arrogance when someone’s opinion doesn’t agree with your own but who’s really being arrogant in that situation?
The points raised in the article are good ones but here’s how I’d present them. Be confident but value other’s opinions. Be confident and stoke the flames of motivation. Be confident but not arrogant. Done.
Posted in General, Success and tagged confidence, critical thinking, motivation by AJ with no comments yet.
Once again I find myself writing about a Tweetchat. Through these weekly chats I’ve met new people and gained friends. In the post I wrote about Twitter called The Fun of Discovery I mentioned my favorite chats but noted I was new to this and would probably find more. My latest favorite chat is called #inspirechat and it takes place every Thursday at 11am eastern time. Joanne (@JoanneCipressi) is the organizer and facilitator of these wonderful discussions. There is also a Facebook page for InspireChat.
Because there are a lot of people on these chats things can move quickly and you often don’t have time to think about your answers – that’s a good thing. It’s like a stream of consciousness, your unfiltered thoughts are allowed to flow and I’m often surprised by what I write. That’s exactly what happened in this week’s chat.
The topic of the chat was renewing yourself and a subtopic was letting go so you can move on. This is also a common theme in my book What Next. Someone who asks What Next is constantly moving on from one project, one business, one idea to another. They are also adept at letting go. When one idea doesn’t work they move on to the next one. This is often confused with being indecisive or flighty but I think it’s just the opposite. Once a decision is made that something isn’t working you have to let go and move on.
The eighth question asked by Joanne was “Why is it scary to let go sometimes and how can we find the courage to let go?” This is a great question because we all cling to things that we’d be better off without, things like falling stock, relationships, jobs, even businesses that aren’t doing well. I immediately thought of the image of a life preserver. It’s very scary to admit failure or acknowledge that something isn’t working out as planned. Taking a What Next approach, an optimistic approach, will help you to realize that what some call failure is really a lesson, and the person who learns the lesson is stronger than the person who never tried.
My answer to question eight surprised me and was re-tweeted by several people (an honor among Twitter users). Here’s my response:
It’s hard and scary to let go of something you think you need, something that has given you comfort in the past, but you are stronger than you know. You can succeed in spite of what other people tell you, in spite of your insecurities. Let go and take the first stroke and you’ll see that you can stay afloat without any help at all.
What are you holding onto that you think is helping but in reality isn’t allowing you to swim?
Posted in General, Success, Taking Action and tagged inspiration, Inspire, learn, let go, motivation, renew, twitter by AJ with 2 comments.
Shortly after the show opened there was a long line of people waiting to get on board two yachts. The line continued to grow throughout the day.
How many people in line could actually afford the 1 million dollar plus price tag? Not many, I’m sure. If they could afford it, if they were serious about making a purchase, they wouldn’t be waiting in line. I’m sure of that.
So why bother, why stand in line just to look at something that is so far out of reach that it is an impossibility? Because we all dream! It’s why people buy lottery tickets.
In What Next I start a chapter called “Inspiration, Motivation, and Drive” with one possibility for why people who can’t afford a yacht go and look at it anyway. Seeing what could be if we were rich inspires us to work toward that goal, motivates us to work harder, and, maybe, provides the drive to keep going no matter what. At least that’s the theory.
In practice what I hear (and have often said) is, “It must be nice.”
Yes it must be, but that statement is defeatist. Why not say “This will be nice.” Why not, rather than lament that you’ll never have the yacht, devise a plan that will lead to a future with the yacht?
Not everyone is going to be as shallow as I’m sounding right now. It’s not always about the money. I’m using a yacht as a metaphor for anything you want, anything you desire. Rather than say “it would be nice” – work for it. Figure out a way to get there and start moving.
Mark Zuckerberg didn’t say, “It sure would be nice if someone started a website where people could share updates throughout the day, post pictures, and connect with friends old and new.” He created Facebook.
What are you going to do to reach your goal and not just talk about the what ifs in life? What is your first step toward your future? How big will your yacht be?
Posted in General, Money, Taking Action and tagged drive, facebook, goal, inpiration, motivation, success, yacht by AJ with no comments yet.
What’s the purpose of reading the book however? I don’t think it’s only curiosity regarding Steve Jobs the man. I think there’s a bit of, or a lot of, “if he can do it maybe I can as well” thinking. Everyone loves the rags to riches story but how many are willing to work at it? Did Steve Jobs or any of the other millionaires and billionaires just get lucky?
Luck does play some part, but focus, desire, and drive have much larger roles in success. Clear goals give you the desire to focus and the drive to persevere. In my post The Unbearable Lightness of Goals I make clear that goals are changeable, that they can evolve over time. For people who ask What Next, goals are a starting point that will expand as they complete each task.
After reading a book such as the biography of Steve Jobs what do you do with the information, with the motivation you may have? For most people the answer is absolutely nothing. It is easier to admire someone like Jobs than it is to aspire to be as successful as him. There is no shortage of admiration for successful people but there is a real dearth of aspiration.
To be a billionaire isn’t really all that realistic and isn’t a goal unto itself. If you have a real goal, however, the only judge of whether you accomplish it is you. As time passes, as accomplishments are met, the measure of success changes. If the only people I compare myself to are wildly more successful than me, then I always feel like a failure. Likewise if I only compare myself to those less successful than me then I’m probably not working up to my potential, not pushing myself as hard as I could.
Quit admiring people and start to aspire to the best you can.
Posted in General, Success, Taking Action and tagged admire, aspire, motivation, success by AJ with no comments yet.
While sales of What Next have not been stellar (see how honest I am), people seem to have a very positive reaction to the book when I tell them about it. I even wrote a post about that back in October. The trend continues and I’m encouraged by it. When I relate examples of the people in the book who have asked what next, the person I’m speaking with usually tells me their what next, the thing they would like to do but haven’t for whatever reason.
A related phenomenon is that people will also ask me for advice in achieving their what next. They want answers, they need, and want a push in the right direction. That is why self-help or motivational books do so well, why motivational speakers are booked at various events. The idea that a person can get answers that will lead to success is why life coaching is more popular every year.
I know my book is now part of this group (I wrote about the irony of this here). But looking to someone else for answers is the easy way out, dare I say the lazy way to success. No one has the answer to your success other than you!
It’s fine to read my book (I encourage it), or to listen to a motivational speech, but unless you add action to that feeling, on your own, the motivation is lost. In the book I say “Inspiration on its own is like a flint without fuel, the spark is there but nothing catches fire.” I go on to say “Motivation is the tinder for the spark of inspiration; it is the thing that catches fire.” The last ingredient is drive, “Drive is the wind that spreads the fire of motivation sparked by inspiration.”
No one, not a very skilled motivational speaker, not a best selling book, not even my book, can provide you with the drive to succeed. I hope I give you that spark and that there is some fuel to start the fire but you have to provide the wind to spread the fire yourself, and become successful on your own.
As 2011 ends resolve to motivate yourself , resolve to be driven, resolve to be curious enough to ask What Next, and resolve to find the answer on your own.
Posted in General, Success, Taking Action and tagged advice, drive, inspiration, motivation, resolution, success by AJ with no comments yet.