By Younas Chaudhary
As a young boy living in Pakistan, one of the required chores my father assigned me was to prepare a hookah three times a day for my grandma. This was a complicated task, methodical, time-sensitive and thoroughly boring to me. First, I had to replace the water, provide fresh tobacco, add proper wood or coal, manage the heat, and ensure that the chillum (a straight conical smoking pipe) had thick smoke coming out of it. I could not mess up this daily task, as my grandma was the most important person in our family, and her daily hookah routines were an inseparable part of who she was.
Three times a day, I had to motivate myself to do this chore unfailingly, even though I disliked it.
This simple, though necessary daily chore kept me self-motivated, consistent, diligent, and persistent until I left home for Canada in 1973.
Self-motivation is our internal drive to achieve our goals, and it keeps us moving forward and gives us courage to overcome hurdles. We become independent and develop an inner calling to move forward when we practice self-motivation.
I learned at a young age to build such an inner drive to move me forward in life. Later, in business, self-motivation helped me when things did not go the way I expected and planned. It taught me three important behaviors:
First, I should not wait; I had to consistently move proactively instead of waiting for some supposed “right time”.
Second, I had to change my behavior to stay positive when things went wrong.
Third, I had to train my mind to think of instances when things did not work well for me.
Patience is a key to being self-motivated, because thinking long-term is much better than pursuing quick, short-term gains. Yet one of the important techniques in staying self-motivated is consistency. If I had a task to do daily, I made sure that I stayed on it and never gave up after two or three days, even if I disliked it.
Consistency helped me stay motivated, and along with hard work, it gave me confidence that I could accomplish my goals. I motivated myself to be true to myself, be straightforward, and be a straight shooter.
Imagine you are working on a business deal, and you are confident that you will get it, but at the end of a day you feel disappointed because your competitor wins the deal. This is a scenario that has happened to me many times. Use self-motivation to tide over such disappointments, and do not dwell on them for long, but instead start rethinking and working on the next deal.
A positive attitude helps in motivating yourself in both personal and business life. It is best to always think that the glass is half-full, instead of half-empty.
Whenever I had a major loss in a deal, I would quietly say to myself: “I started from the bottom with nothing, so what do I have to lose here?” I tried to do the best I could, but things sometimes did not go the way I wanted.
Passion for a good cause and curiosity to explore an idea also helps keep us self-motivated. With self-motivation, we work better than average, and if we combine positive thinking with faith and passion, we soon succeed, and that also gives us confidence.
To stay self-motivated, just believe in the power of now. You cannot go back and control your yesterdays, and you will never be certain about your tomorrows, so be mindful and focus on the now. What can you do now to push yourself harder? Look in the mirror now and talk to yourself about how you can stay self-motivated.
Tips on staying self-motivated:
- Stay driven and do not procrastinate.
- Be persistent in pushing yourself to achieve your goals.
- Be self-motivated because you want to, not because somebody told you to.
- Be disciplined and take calculated risks.
- Persevere and be passionate about what you want to accomplish.
- Follow through on making positive changes in life.
- Be passionate for your cause and bring a positive attitude. Never give up.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. Further, I make no warranty regarding the accuracy or effectiveness of my recommendations, and readers are advised to consult other advisors as well as their own judgments in making business decisions