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Motivating myself to succeed

Motivating myself to succeed

Finding your own unique positive ways to motivate yourself is a wonderful attribute and is worth cultivating.

  • Posted on 15-Oct-2020 , by Shivani Manchanda

This mural in the boat house always reminds me of the negative thoughts that take root in us and create a hole in our self confidence. Negative thoughts, in some form of the other, plague all of us:
“what if nobody likes me and I am left alone”
“what if somebody finds out that I am not good enough”
“what if somebody thinks I did not try hard enough”
I think many of these negative thoughts stem from a feeling of being incomplete. But, the question I often ask myself is, what if we were born complete and the journey, in life, is to keep playing with our strengths and to engineer different versions of our own selves?  Arriving at this perspective has been a difficult journey for me, for growing up I was fraught with self doubt and a habit of thinking I was never enough. But negative thoughts, as you might realise, weigh you down and retard your growth. Imagine a bird trying to fly with a box full of junk tied to their feet. Heavier the box, shorter the flight. 
For a long time I thought that negative thoughts served a purpose in my life and they propelled me to work hard and better myself. In fact for a long time I fed off the negative energy from those who did not believe in me to somehow work hard and prove myself. However this embittered me and made me angry. As I became more aware of the hole inside of me owing to these negative thoughts I chose to redefine myself and created more positive ways to motivate myself. So here are some that I think that might help you as well:

  1. Music has always been important to me and I have a playlist of  songs that can pump me up with enthusiasm to succeed. Listen to good music and find the songs that define you and help you become better versions of yourself.
  2. Poetry is another great force that helps me channelize my inner warrior. So poems written by Maya Angelou, Dr Seuss, Ramdhari Singh Dinakar, Tagore, Robert Frost have all given me the much needed push when I needed it. So if you are into poetry have a small journal or an album of poems that can motivate you to do your best
  3. Vision boards are my answer to “if you don’t know where you are going - how will you get there”. So if you walk into my office or my home you will see subtle vision boards all around. A vision board is a great tool you can use to constantly remind yourself about your goals. In my experience just imbuing something with personal meaning can convert a banal image or a painting into a vision board.
  4. When I was in my 20s I was unsure if I had clarity about what my values were. But some things felt right and others did not. Paying attention to what felt right and was in more tune with my values has helped me out of many tough spots in life. So over the years I have relied upon my inner compass which has always helped me decide between two good and sometimes between two not so good options. Sticking to your values is the hardest because it is easy to come under pressure from friends/family/society and lose perspective of what is right for you. So keep your compass polished and let it guide you in the direction of “how you define cool” or “how you define success”. No matter how far you wander off your compass can always bring you back to your true north.
  5. Many years ago, long before happiness was a trend, I made positive thinking my super power. Every day I think of one thing that went right in my life. I savour/repeat that in my mind’s eye and offer gratitude to the same. This last one may seem difficult but actually is the easiest if you make a regular practice of the same.  I know some of you will scoff and think it is corny. But don’t knock it till you try it.

 Some of these thoughts may resonate with you and some may not. But finding your own unique positive ways to motivate yourself is a wonderful attribute and is worth cultivating. I end with a quote from a book that has had an impact on my life “Letters to a Young Poet” by Rainer Maria Rilke “Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.” And for all the moments when I have doubted myself Rilke’s  words have encouraged me to act with “beauty and courage”.