Struggling with Self-Motivation: Why Most Days I’d Rather Sit on My…

Why is it that some days, I have a strong desire to work hard and get stuff done, while other days I’d rather slack off, and put off work until another time?

Two desires seem to continually battle it out in my mind:  the desire to be industrious and productive…and the desire to be slothful or lazy.

My 13-year old son and I talked about this recently, as we’re continuing to read through Bob Schultz’s book, Boyhood and Beyond, one chapter each week.

About this battle, Schultz says:

“Inside every man is the desire to accomplish great works.  Inside every man is the desire to lie around and do nothing.  Every day, both of these desires will draw you.  The desire you follow will determine the man you become.”

I’m probably the only one who struggles with self motivation, and staying in the zone of maximum productivity…but just in case anyone else out there does too, [Read more…]

Taking Action: The Miracle of the First Step

Every Monday I send out a bonus, via email, called “Your Monday Motivator.”

In it, I feature a few inspirational quotes on a particular topic related to life change, along with my personal thoughts and take-aways on the subject.

I do it because I believe everyone could use a little extra inspiration in their lives – especially on Mondays!

If you’re not a subscriber, I thought I’d give you a taste of what you missed today.  You can sign up via the “Subscribe to the Life Compass Newsletter” subscription box to the right.

Here’s your Monday Motivator for today. I call this one, “The Miracle of the First Step.” Check out these quotes:

– “Whatever you’re ready for is ready for you.” – Mark Victor Hansen

– “When the student is ready, the Master will appear.” – Buddhist proverb

– “Act boldly and unseen forces will come to your aid.” – Dorothea Brande

These quotes tell us that something mysterious and magical [Read more…]

How to Become an Expert on Any Topic

Do you want to broaden your knowledge base in order to keep growing in your job or to even get a new one?  Or do you want to learn a new skill for a hobby or to start a part-time business?

One way to do this is to go back to school and get a formal education in the topic.  You’ll get a degree or certificate (if that is important to you), but there is often a large time and money commitment to doing this.

If you don’t care about the degree, there are several free (or low-cost) and easy ways to become an expert on any topic:

  1. Read one book on the topic each month.  If you like to underline and mark-up books, you can buy them and build your own personal library on the topic.  Or if you’re looking for a free option, just borrow the books from your public library.
  2. Study the topic for half an hour a day.  You can probably find the information you need online for free.
  3. Listen to podcasts on the topic each week.  There’s a podcast for just about any topic and most of them are free.  You can listen during transit (bike, car, bus, train, plane), while exercising, or just about anywhere.
  4. Get hands-on training by volunteering.  Unless you want to become a surgeon, there’s probably a way you can learn a new skill by volunteering with a local charity.  For example, if you want to learn home building and improvement skills, you can volunteer with a home-building charity like Habitat for Humanity.

A few hours a week, over a few months, will add up quickly and you’ll soon gain the skills and information you need to be successful in that field.

Do you have any other ideas of ways to become an expert?  Please share your thoughts.

Why Information Isn’t Enough (or, Why Librarians Aren’t Millionaires)

We live in such an information-rich culture today.  We have access to unprecedented amounts of news and information – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, through TV, the Internet, books, magazines, newspapers, etc.

Despite this, I’ve heard it said that there is a growing Information Divide between those who have ready access to information and those who do not.

I think I understand the point, but I’d like to suggest an even greater problem in our world.  It’s what I call the Application Divide.

Here’s my point:  If just having access to the right information was key to a person’s success in life, then librarians would be among the most successful, and probably richest, people on earth, wouldn’t they?  But they’re not.

Why not?  Because it is not enough to know the right information.   You have to know what to do with the information…and then do it.  That’s application!

A few months ago I realized I had a lot of information in a particular subject, but was doing nothing with that information.  I wasn’t applying it at all, and so the information made no difference in my life – or anyone else’s.

So I made time to brainstorm possible actions I could take, and the outcomes they would produce.  Then I picked one course of action, made a plan, and am taking steps to do something with that information.

What about you?  Are you sitting on information that, if you applied it, could make a difference in your life or someone else’s?  If so, why not take some action today?  Let me know how it goes…or how I can help.

Suggested Resource:

Take Action When You Get A Round Tuit

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How many times have you said, “I’ll do it when I get around to it.”  Yeah, me too – dozens or hundreds of times.

Back in 1993 or 1994, I met a man named Yank who considered it his personal mission to hand out Round Tuits like the one pictured above, and to encourage people to do all the things they said they’d do whenever they “got around to it.”  I don’t know what happened to the one he gave me, but the memory has always stuck with me…even though the attitude comes and goes.

For example, this weekend I finally got around to mounting a broomstick holder in a utility area of our home.  I bought it several months ago, put it aside, and said I’d mount it when I…you guessed it…got around to it.

Well, I finally decided that Saturday was the day to do it.  I think it took all of five minutes. But I first had to get the drill, hammer, screw driver, drill bits, level, etc.  Once the project was done, I felt a huge sense of relief that something was now off my list.  And I asked myself, “Why did I wait so long to do that?”

What’s on your “Round Tuit” list?  Are there a few things, at work or at home, that you haven’t gotten around to yet, but if you did, would give you such a big sense of relief, or would make a difference in your home or work life?  If so, why not take a half hour or an hour today and make it happen?

Consider today the day you got a “Round Tuit.”

Want to Get Ahead? Pretend You’re Going Away

Last Thursday, my family decided we should take advantage of the great weather by going camping for the Labor Day Weekend (in the U.S.). With that one last-minute decision, we all moved into “rush mode” in order to get ready to go.

First, I had to find and book a campsite, which was a challenge at the last minute on a popular holiday weekend. Next, my wife and kids figured out the food menu and decided what supplies and equipment we wanted to bring.

Once the campsite was booked, I scrambled to complete a few work-related projects that HAD to be done before we left.

Have you ever noticed how much work you can get done when you are given a new and unexpected deadline and you HAVE to get it done in a short time frame?

Why is it so?  I think one reason is that, when these situations arise, we give the task or project laser-like focus.  We drop most everything else and channel all our energy and resources to getting the job done. We immediately decide what things can be delegated to others, what can be postponed, and what needs our direct and immediate attention.

I think it was Brian Tracy, or maybe Zig Ziglar, who first turned me on to the idea of putting this power to work intentionally every once in a while (maybe monthly).

They said to pretend you’ve been given a week-long all-expense paid trip somewhere in the world…and the trip leaves in 48 hours.  Figure out all the things you need to have done before you can go…and get them done today.  In no time, you’ll have those tasks completed, and you’ll feel a huge sense of accomplishment for what you were able to get done.

Has anyone else given this a try?  Let me know how it went.

Or if you’re feeling stuck in a rut and not accomplishing what you’d hope to do on some of your goals or life areas, give this a try and let me know how it works for you.