Motivation is the driving force behind our thoughts, feelings, words and actions which transfers us from one reality to another, from where I am to where I wish to be. It is an inner positive energy, a combination of enthusiasm and clear perception that enables us to accomplish a task or overcome a challenge. It is the desire to be continually interested and committed to a task or to attain a goal or cross a difficult situation.
Our thoughts really do color our perceptions, and affect our motivation levels in many ways. What thoughts are serving you today? Which thoughts are weighing you down? Have you ever turned over the exam papers of life – challenging situations, overpowering situations, disturbing situations, de-motivating situations; looked at the questions that life throws at you and wondered if you are sitting the right test? Or glanced through these papers of life and only see questions or aspects you aren’t equipped at handling? Or worse still, know that you once knew the answers to these questions but frustratingly, those nuggets of spiritual wisdom, required to overcome these situations are now out of reach no matter how far into the back of your mind you grope, causing emotions of worry, frustration, fear, anger, discouragement, depression, panic and hopelessness to erupt inside you?
Life throws different types of challenges at us. A difficult relationship with one particular person, we have all experienced, can at times have the potential to completely overpower our thoughts for days and even for years. Most of us will have endured the trauma of exams at some stage in our lives, usually at school, college or university. The looming prospect of having to answer questions on your most hated subjects often meant that even the most laid-back of personalities will have experienced feelings of anxiety, worry and exam stress. A sudden physical illness can at times have the destructive ability to not only bring about physical discomfort but make us dejected, discouraged and sorrowful for days until it subsides. A deadline at work or a sudden crash of the business market are types of challenging situations on the professional front. A difficult personality trait which constantly hinders our progress and harms our relationships is an example of a challenge on the personal front.
So challenges can be unpleasant, even scary, but they are important as in the process of overcoming the challenge, you work harder on yourself and they make you more determined and powerful. If you are not spiritually equipped to rise to these challenges, these tests of your internal strength, when they come about, it is unlikely you will be motivated enough to cross them. When faced with challenges, people can find that they are able to go the extra mile and pull from the backs of their minds answers to questions they did not realize they had ever learnt or ever knew. So, challenges can be helpful – but only if you turn the challenges into internal positive energy, you remain motivated while crossing them and by doing that you transform the challenges into blessings or gifts in disguise which will help you advance ahead and become more experienced and wise.
“Challenges are like spice – in the right proportion they enhance the flavor of a dish. Too little of them produces a bland, dull meal; too many of them may choke you at times.”
Have you ever noticed some people only work a few hours a day and are hardly ever confronted by deadlines or other pressures, but they are more stressed and less motivated than those working long hours to tight deadlines. Have you ever watched two people doing the same or similar work, to the same deadlines? One tears their hair out with a lot of anxiety. The other is completely relaxed while doing it. Some people are trailblazers, they love challenges. They love it when they are occupied and bottled up with challenges at hand and passionate about overcoming them. They work hard on themselves to overcome challenges and are not overwhelmed by them. What really reinforces them to do that is the motivation that they have to overcome the challenge and become successful. Challenges motivate them. At the same time, there are times when there are too many challenges to overcome and deadlines to meet and the same people who have overcome challenges earlier are not able to cope up with them and keep themselves motivated. That is the time when they realize that what they are going through is stress and challenges have affected their motivation levels adversely. Why the difference between two people, why the difference from challenge to challenge or situation to situation? Perception. So it’s not what you do, or when you have to do it by, that causes your stress and brings down your motivation; it’s how you perceive the whats and whens of daily life that generates your stress and affects your motivation levels. It’s how each one perceives what they do and the possible outcome. And your perception is based on your beliefs and beliefs don’t come built into your genes. All beliefs are learned. We learn them, send them into our subconscious and they then pop up and out through our thoughts, emotions and words. The problem is we not only hold beliefs, we identify with them. But beliefs are not the truth.
When surrounded by challenges, sometimes we all need a little extra nurturing, and that gentleness can come from loved ones, or just from ourselves. Also, enjoying watching television, enjoying the hot chocolate and the coffee, enjoying the cold drink and the ice cream, enjoying the brisk walk and the gym, enjoying the picnic and the party, enjoying the holiday – these are all things that help us replenish our energy and remain motivated to some extent when we’ve had a rough day. But remember that to remain constantly motivated you need to also take a look at the non-physical dimension of thoughts and feelings. Physical treatments, therapies and relaxation strategies will help you but they cannot change the way you think. Your thinking is the cause. And behind your thoughts, your beliefs are a deeper cause. We need to pay much more attention to our thoughts and feelings, learn to manage them, learn to fill them with peace and calm, and then our personality will change for the better, as we restore our mental and then physical well-being and learn to remain motivated and fearless amidst challenges. Remember no one else creates our thoughts and feelings, and they don’t just happen, though it feels that way sometimes. When you learn to identify and assess the quality of your thoughts and feelings, you can begin to choose the ones you know are positive and that in turn keeps you motivated.
Also, remember there’s virtually always something positive that can be found in the challenges we face. Bear in mind that the period of challenge is short and you will soon overcome the challenge. On a lighter note, spend a little time each day thinking of all the things you are looking forward to doing once you are free from these exams that life has to offer – though don’t daydream for hours about this! Also, when you long for life without difficulties and challenges and you want to keep yourself motivated when faced with them, remind yourself that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure. Challenges are not here to stay and while they are there, they bring about self empowerment.
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