To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe. – Anatole France
What does that mean?
To me, this kind of wraps up the activities of the past week or so. To accomplish great thins, it says, we need to do four things. In order of my preference, Dream, Believe, Plan, and Act. Depending on your definitions for Dream and Believe, you might have these reversed.
It reminds us that without all four aspects, we are incomplete in our preparation for success. We must be able to Dream of it in order to Believe in it. We must Believe in it in order to Plan it. We must plan it in order to properly Act on it. When we do all this (along with using intelligence and courage appropriately), we can and will accomplish great things.
Why are accomplishments important?
Some like to accomplish things for the satisfaction of doing it. Some do it for the fame and fortune. Some do it for the rewards it brings to others. And others do it because it is there, or because no one has done it before.
Why do you like to accomplish things? If you’re like me, there are multiple reasons for working to accomplish things. Sometimes you do it for one reason, other times for different reasons.
But why accomplish things at all? Can you imagine what life would be like with no accomplishments at all? When the answer to the question “What did you do today?” honestly was “Nothing.” and had been for weeks, and would be for the foreseeable future? Does that sound like much of a life?
Where can I apply this in my life?
Well, we’ve done a lot with goals and plans and tactics and courage and intelligence, but I don’t think we’ve done much with the reason why. We’ve looked into what you want to accomplish, but now let’s look at why you want to accomplish these things.
Go back and look at some (at least 6) of your goals. Look at some that are a project and some that are a personal achievement. We’re going to start by brainstorming why you want to do these things. As a first pass, use the easy answers, like fame or because it’s there. After that, go back and try to be specific as to why you want to do them. Write these down, then review them. Is a pattern (or patterns) beginning to emerge?
Think about this pattern – is it mostly because it’s there? Is it mostly because you like the response from the people you help by accomplishing the goal? Look at the emotions involved in each of your goals and why you want to accomplish them. Don’t feel bad if they seem to be a bit self centered, we can work on that in the future. What is important is assessing where you are today. We can always work on a goal for tomorrow!
The pattern or patterns that show up can help you recognize what your motivating emotions are. Next time you’re running low on motivation, you know where to turn for a quick boost. If you’re typically in it for the fortune and riches and you’re bogged down, perhaps the thought of how you’re going to spend the wealth can help you over the hump and get you moving again.
If you’re doing it because it’s there, remind yourself that it isn’t going away until you finish it, and it might help you get it done. I hope that this makes sense to you, it’s not coming out as well as I would have hoped.
Now, on to the difficult stuff, in two parts. Part one is how to use your motivation to find new goals. Part two is how to find new motivations both for existing goals and for moving yourself forward.
How will you use your motivation(s) to find new goals to accomplish? I would start in the mood or attitude that befits your motivation. If you are doing things because you like how people appreciate what you have done, and the emotion is gratitude (reception of), go back to the last time you were in that place, and bask in the emotion.
Now think about what other things you could do that would result in the same feeling. Take a moment to enjoy the feeling and associate it with these new goals, tasks and achievements. Then write them down before you forget.
Now that you have a goal, do the plan, strategy, tactics, etc necessary to make it work, then get busy. Be sure to do a little something to start the plan off, to build momentum, before you let this exercise slip out of mind. Write a letter (or e-mail), post to Facebook or tweet your idea. Ask for help, additional information, funding or encouragement. Accomplish a task of some sort. It doesn’t matter, just make the commitment and take an action. Now you’re on your way!
On to the second part, how to find new motivations. If, like me, you initially did almost everything either because it was there or for the personal feeling of accomplishment (both fairly self centered), you might be looking to branch into more altruistic motivations. Great! Perhaps you are so busy doing things for everyone else that you realize you haven’t done something for yourself in ages. Great!
How can we find a new motivation? I would start with the new motivation. Within that motivation, what emotion is (or emotions are) important to you? If you want to do something for others, is it because you take pride in helping others out, feel content knowing you did something for others, happy knowing their lives are better or something else? Once you have figured out what new emotion you are working with, take a little time to feel it, to make it part of your person. If you know how, create an anchor, a place you can come back to when you need a little motivation.
Never actually felt that emotion before? Imagine, based on TV, books or movies, what that emotion feels like. If that doesn’t work, imagine what you would have to do to feel that emotion, and put together a plan that will get you there. The latter plan is the “fake it until you make it” plan, and sometimes it’s the only path forward. Do what you have to to get where you want to go.
Now it’s time to apply the new motivation and emotion to the accomplishments at hand. Think about the accomplishment and then feel the emotion, then back to the accomplishment and back to the emotion. Does there seem to be a vibration between them?
If not, look at the breakdown of tasks within the accomplishment and find a few tasks that will resonate will with the new motivation and emotion. The point is to find something specific to reinforce the new motivation, to notice it and to celebrate it.
The idea is to start to associate as much as you can with the new motivation and to reward even approximate behavior. Habits are built a little at a time, so try not to despair if it doesn’t become an instant success. Like all things, there will be times when it works well and times when it does not. Keep up the work and things will work out.
So, why do you do the things you do? Now you know a little bit more about yourself. And you have a few tools to help you change things to be more to your liking. Now all that is necessary is to do. As Master Yoda most famously said, “Do, or do not. There is no try!”
Although the Mythbusters’ Corollary also applies, “Failure is always an option!” By this I mean that you must plan to DO something, not just try. The result may be failure, but you must plan to do it. Dust yourself off, have the intelligence to learn from your mistakes, then have the courage to do it again and again until you accomplish what you set out to do.
From: Twitter, undocumented feed (my bad)
confirmed at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/anatolefra161340.html
Photo by @yakobusan Jakob Montrasio