You’re likely already aware that action is the key to achieving your goals. However, there is a more rarely considered – and much more important aspect of action, and that is training yourself to sustain this action-oriented mindset in order to direct your energy to sustain long-term action.
Despite all of the motivational posters, sport clothing, and tough talk you’ll find today that speak of persistence, this is a quality not found in many people. In fact, those few who do practice persistence have earned it through hard work and consistency – another rare attribute. Gaining skills that will push you to the front of the line in any aspect of your life are completely dependent on your ability to learn these traits, and if you want to earn them yourself, you will first and foremost need to learn to control the emotional highs and lows to which we are all susceptible. Of course, many of us are cursed with more lows than we are highs. However, our mental disposition is what will truly determine where we end up on our journey toward success.
We all know what it’s like to feel a burst of motivation and then take that energy and translate it into work. But the problem that arises is we don’t always feel motivated. Motivation ebbs and flows, often decreasing when we don’t feel happy, or when we face setbacks. Our physiological state also impacts our motivation, as do our results.
If we’re feeling fit and healthy, we’re not overly stressed out, we have a good social and family life, and we’ve gotten enough sleep, our physiological state will generally be pretty good! And when you can see the fruits of your labor, like getting grades in school, then you’ll be even more primed to keep up the good work.
If however the opposite occurs and you’re feeling stressed, hungry, tired, unhealthy and socially outcast then you’re likely to feel pretty low. Worse still, if you start getting poor grades or negative feedback, it’s likely that your emotional state will depress and you’ll feel like giving up. That’s only natural isn’t it? It’s pretty hard to feel good about these things!
One of the most important keys to success in life and in your schooling is to learn how to turn short term action into sustained long term repeated actions. We all know that to achieve big things you need to drill things down into the steps necessary to get there. When you know your big picture and you have a road map, the formula to reach your destination is just one step per day. How do you get from one side of the country to the other side? Simple – one mile at a time. Don’t you? You have a big picture goal and lots of little achievements are necessary to get there. You don’t take one step and all of a sudden you’ve made it! Sustained action executing the right techniques, which follow the right strategy, leads you to achieving your vision. The only remaining roadblock to your success is you.
Inspiration is what you’ll need to harness in order to get to the top of that mountain. Inspiration is more powerful, and a more deeply spiritual practice than motivation, because it comes from deep within your heart. When you wield your own inspiration, you are able to see past any temporary setback; because it will be clear to you that there is something bigger than you at work – something that exists outside of our daily trials and tribulations. Inspiration is a prolonged, consistent desire to change, to reach that goal whether it is large or small. Of course, motivation can still be useful to us – but it exists mainly within a singular situation, a constrained time frame or one temporary set of circumstances. It deals mainly with the present, and has little to do with the big picture.
Motivation is a battle; inspiration is the war. It is the difference between taking a quick job at a fast food joint to get a pay check, and taking an internship that will earn us favor in a career that we want to enter into in order to change the world. Both of these goals require ambition to a certain degree, yet it is clear which of the two goals would both require more prolonged action, and end in a bigger, more satisfying payoff. Inspiration will carry you through the tough times – it would carry the student through the internship during moments when the lack of a bigger pay check could really invite some tough times.
It’s time for you see things for yourself you may never have considered before. Things like getting into College, never needing a job, even becoming a millionaire, or the possibility of creating something that has a massive positive impact on thousands – even millions of people. These things are all possible for you. But they require a motivation and an inspiration to be achieved. They require sustained action at a pace of one step per day. We all have unlimited potential regardless of our circumstances. What you believe is possible for you is all that truly matters. So, the only question that remains is what do you believe is possible?
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