As a Headmaster, something which naturally weighs on my mind is pupils’ futures, both at Bethany and elsewhere. We all wonder where this generation’s future lies and I think we can probably agree that the answer is that nobody knows. I think it’s part of the cycle of life that each generation despairs of the next and yet somehow we all made it. My parents for example worried about my generation.
However, I came across an article recently on ‘10 tips to achieve anything you want in life’ by Olympic athlete Inga Stasiulionyte and it struck me that while technology moves at a faster and faster pace, and our children are starting to speak a language we don’t always understand, some stalwarts of life remain. If you want to be successful in life, however that looks for each individual person, perhaps see how many of Ms Stasiulionyte’s tips you already do and how many others you could consider embracing.
- Focus on commitment, not motivation.
Just how committed are you to your goal? How important is it for you, and what are you willing to sacrifice in order to achieve it? If you find yourself fully committed, the motivation will follow.
- Seek knowledge, not results.
If you focus on the excitement of discovery, improving, exploring and experimenting, your motivation will always be fuelled. If you focus only on results, your motivation will vary. It will be good when you get good results and not so good when you get poor results. So the key is to focus on the journey, not the destination. Keep thinking about what you are learning along the way and what you can improve. Success in life is a process of continuous improvement.
- Make the journey fun.
Life is too short to be miserable. Yes, working is serious but there is humour everywhere. The trouble with taking things too seriously is that it will start to be like carrying a heavy emotional weight and you will lose perspective and become demotivated, inward-looking and ultimately unhappy.
- Get rid of negative thoughts.
Thoughts influence feelings, and feelings determine how you view your work. You have a lot of thoughts in your head, and you always have a choice of which ones to focus on: like fears or doubts or more positive ones that will move you forward (excitement, experimenting, trying new things, stepping out of your comfort zone). I know that as a Headmaster, if I did not look on the positive side I would be unable to operate as a front-runner. Furthermore, as a leader even if I do not feel positive about something, I must nonetheless appear to be positive, since that generates confidence in other people. If I have a positive day at work, I go home with high levels of energy. If I have a negative day at work, I go home tired; negative energy is tiring. Every problem is stage one of a solution.
- Use your imagination.
The next step after getting rid of negative thoughts is to use your imagination. When things go well, you are full of positive energy, and when you are experiencing difficulties, you need to be even more energetic. Remember that the most important word is ‘yet’. The expression, ‘I cannot solve this problem’ can be replaced with, ‘I cannot solve this problem, yet.’ That simple three letter word can make the world of difference.
- Stop being nice to yourself.
Motivation means action and action brings results. Sometimes your actions fail to bring the results you want. So, you prefer to be nice to yourself and not put yourself in a difficult situation. You wait for the perfect timing, for an ideal opportunity. Get out there, challenge yourself, do something that you want to do even if you are afraid. Remember we have all got to take responsibility for our own actions. We receive praise when we do things well and criticism when things do not go so well. If you fall off the bike get back up and start cycling again.
- Get rid of distractions.
Meaningless distractions will always be in your way, especially those easy, usual things you would rather do instead of focusing on new challenging and meaningful projects. Learn to focus on what is the most important. Write a list of things that waste your time and hold yourself accountable to not do them. That may well mean for example turning your phone off and not using any form of social media while you work.
- Don’t rely on others.
You should never expect others to do it for you, not even your best friends who most likely will be busy with their own needs. No one will make you happy or achieve your goals for you. It’s all down to you. Remind yourself that your goals are for you to own and for you to achieve.
Know your next three steps forward. You do not need more. Create and stick to a weekly calendar, noting when you will do, what you will do and how you will do. The when-what-how is very important when it comes to planning. Review how each day went by what you learned and if you need to change things to improve matters then make the necessary changes.
- Protect yourself from burnout.
It’s easy to burn out when you are very motivated. Be self-aware and try and recognize any signs of tiredness and take time to rest. Your body and mind rest when you plan relaxation and fun time into your weekly calendar. There is an expression which says that variety is the spice of life so do different tasks, keep switching between something creative and logical, something physical and still, working alone and with a team. Switch locations from time to time if that helps.
You may lack motivation not because you are lazy or don’t have a goal. Even the biggest stars, richest business people or the most accomplished athletes get lost sometimes. What makes them succeed is the curiosity about how much better they can become. So above all, be curious stay curious, believe in yourself, and this will lead you to your goals and success.
Ultimately hard work in a planned and consistent way will bring you much more success than simply talking about doing work or putting off work until tomorrow.
Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Stay focused, motivated, positive, don’t be too nice to yourselves, get rid of unnecessary distractions and plan properly and you will achieve your goals while having a little bit of fun along the way.
Success breeds success..