Tips for Motivation & Optimism

MotivationMotivation in our everyday life isn’t something that finds us, motivation is something that we must find through practice and proper approach. The fundamental emotional intelligence skills for motivation are self-awareness and optimism balanced with reality testing – all of which apply to our inner battle towards being motivated and our outer reality of the situations we find ourselves within.

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. ~Sir Winston Churchill

While it’s all fine and dandy to surround ourselves with motivational quotes and optimism,  the most important element we must develop is a self-awareness that picks up the moments where we start falling off of the momentum that motivation puts us in. You know the excitement and inspiration of having a world changing idea and wanting to put it into action! Well the states of despair, irritation, and frustration not only give us the feeling of losing momentum, but also the lose of drive and excitement towards what we’ve been doing or planning to do.

Bottom line it’s much more difficult to get back on the horse when you’ve been thrown off, then to slow down, regain composure, and keep riding.

What throws us off is something called the ‘Amygdala Hijack’ a great phrase coined by Harvard business savant Daniel Golemen – When you develop self-awareness you pick up the early warning signs of irritation, frustration, or anxiety that mark the oncoming hijack of emotions that release the bad stress hormone cortisol.  When cortisol is released you fall of the horse, your attention is clouded, your thoughts become misguided, and we often make explosive reactions towards whatever situation or news we hear.


So how do we stop from throwing ourselves off of the motivation horse? We stop the sensations of irritability, frustration or anxiety from setting in:

  1. Write down when you experience these things that push you over the edge of control to acknowledge them when they arise
  2. Actively slow down and take however many moments necessary to breath, reflect and move on in  a balanced level headed way when these situations arise

When we enter stressful state we tend to create a misguided self-critique, frustration sets in and it leads to a powerful negative impact on our motivation. By bringing ourselves to the space we’re in, right here in the moment, we set ourselves up for the future.

The next step it optimism and hope. The near cousin of optimism is hope: knowing the steps needed to get to a goal and having the energy to pursue those steps. It is a primal motivating force and its absence is paralyzing. We often lose hope when stress and anxiety run high, check the two and it is easier to maintain grip on the reigns of motivation.

Controlling stress and anxiety comes from providing your self with a space and time to diffuse, relax, breath and simply be in a state of no judgment and evaluation – your body steadily defrosts, releases tension, and stressors that sleep cannot. This is where meditation is the most powerful addition to your daily/weekly regimen.

To tie everything together there are three motivational competencies that outstanding life performers have:

  • Achievement Drive: Striving to improve or meet a standard of excellence
  • Commitment: Embracing a vision and goal with entirety of self
  • Initiative and optimism: Mobilizing yourself to seize opportunities and allow yourself to take setbacks and obstacles in stride

Take the steps today to assess what brings you into a state of loss of control, take the active steps to keep the momentum of motivation by eliminating the things that do, and with a passion, practice hope keeping an optimistic outlook on your current situation.

Practice and seize the opportunities you always wished you had!

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