Motivation and How to Get Motivated

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Motivation has become a popular word nowadays. There are motivational coaches and speakers, and motivational books and articles. What is it actually, and why do you need it?
Motivation is a driving force. In order to accomplish anything, you need a driving force, otherwise nothing will happen. A wish is not strong enough to make you take action. A wish is a weak desire. Only a strong desire can drive forward, to act and accomplish aims and goals.
In order to get motivated, you need to know exactly what it is that you want, to possess a strong desire, and to be willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish your goal.
More than often there is lack of motivation or only a short-lived one. How many times have you started enthusiastically a weight loss program, began a bodybuilding or aerobics training program or started to learn a foreign language, only to stop after a short while? Few people possess enough willpower and self-discipline to go through to the end with what they begin (this is one of the reasons I have written the book "Will Power and Self Discipline").
It easier to show motivation in connection with a subject that is dear to you. If you desire something, but you don't feel motivated enough to act, this means that the desire is not important enough. To be motivated to take action and do something in respect to your desire, you need to possess a really strong desire.
Motivation has much to do with the emotions and the imagination, which means that if you want to increase it, you have to work on your feelings and imagination.
Tips to increase your motivation:
1. Think, meditate and find out whether you really want to achieve your desire, and whether it is worth the effort and time.
2. Make your goal very clear. Writing it down will help.
3. Think often about your goal or desire.
4. Visualize your goal as already accomplished, and close your mind to contrary thoughts.
5. Read books or articles about the subject of your goal.
6. Read about people who have achieved success.
7. Think often about the benefits you will gain by achieving your goal.
8. Visualize, and think about how you would feel after achieving your goal.
9. Repeat positive affirmations such as: "I have the desire and inner strength to achieve my goal". Repeat this affirmation often, with faith and strong feelings.
10. Start with doing something small concerning your goal. Success in small matters leads to greater success.
Motivation is the powerful engine that moves you towards success and accomplishments in every area.

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Kill Busywork: The One Skill to Focus On What Matters

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Imagine everything you do could fall into one of three buckets:
1. Bad Work.
2. Good Work.
3. Great Work.
I’m not talking about the quality of the work you deliver – I’ve no doubt that’s fine. I’m talking about the meaning the work has for you and the impact it makes.
Let me explain.
Bad Work is the work that makes no difference yet consumes your time and energy. Put less politely, it’s those soul-sucking, spirit-draining activities that make you question how you ever ended up spending precious moments of your life on anything like this. Endless meetings. Paperwork. Busywork.
Good Work is most likely the work you do most of the time, and you do it well. It’s necessary stuff that moves things along and gets things done. Organizations are primarily set up to do Good Work: create a product or service, do it efficiently, sell it to the world.

There’s nothing wrong with Good Work– except for two things.
First of all, it’s endless. Trying to get your Good Work done can feel like Sisyphus rolling his rock up the mountain, a never-ending task. And second, Good Work is too comfortable. The routine and busy-ness of it all is seductive. You know in your heart of hearts that you’re no longer you stretching yourself or challenging how things are done. Your job has turned into just getting through your workload week in, week out.
And then there’s Great Work. Great Work is what you were hoping for when you signed up for this job. It’s meaningful and it’s challenging. It’s about making a difference, it matters to you and it lights you up.
It matters at an organizational level too. Great Work is at the heart of blue ocean strategy, of innovation and strategic differentiation, of evolution and change. Great Work sets up an organization for longer-term success.

The challenge is that Great Work carries with it uncertainty and risk as well as impact and reward. We’re pulled towards what Great Work promises and pushed away by its threat. We want to free ourselves from the regularity and comfortable rut that is Good Work, and yet we’re tugged back by the familiarity and certainty that it provides.

Why don’t you do more Great Work?
When I ask people how much of each type of work they do, here’s what I hear:
0% – 40% on Bad Work.
40% – 80% on Good Work.
0% – 25% on Great Work.

Regardless of the numbers (and probably more important), no-one yet has said to me, “I’ve got too much Great Work. I’m overloaded with meaningful, engaging work that really makes a difference.”
So why aren’t we doing more Great Work? Why does life at work feel like a conveyor belt, churning through tasks to try to make it to the weekend – when, let’s face it, we’ll most likely open up the laptop “just to stay on top of our email”?

Leo points to all sorts of things, from the quagmire of inaction to “feature creep” and suggests the Power of Less. And you know he’s full of good ideas.
Let me add one fundamental, foundational skill you need to master.
It comes down to this

At the heart of doing more Great Work are the choices you make. Not just what you are saying Yes to. But – and this follows your Yes just as the back of the hand follows the front – what you are also saying No to.
That sounds simple enough, but you know it’s not.

Sure, it’s easy to say a knee-jerk Yes to whatever comes along. We all do that. It’s much harder to be mindful and thoughtful and clear and bold and courageous as to what you really want to say Yes to.
And for most of us, it’s a nightmare to say No.

How to say No when you can’t say No
There are some people in your life to whom it’s fairly easy to say a clear No.
Category One: People you have a really close relationship with. Spouse, kids, best friends. You’ve got a solid enough relationship that No is going to be OK.

Category Two: People you have absolutely no relationship with. Telemarketers come to mind. “Hello, I’m from Hardsell Credit Card Company, can I …” .
It’s everyone in the middle – and it’s a big group – that’s the challenge. For instance, it includes most everyone you work with.
So stop thinking about saying No.
Think about how to say Yes More Slowly.
Because that’s what’s really killing you. It’s not saying Yes. It’s saying Yes quickly.
Saying Yes More Slowly
Here’s how it goes.
Someone asks you to do something.
And, while nodding your head, you say “Sure – and let me just ask you a few questions first.”
And then you pick and chose from some of these questions. (Your goal is to ask at least three of these.)
Why are you asking me?
Who else have you asked?
When you say this is urgent, what do you mean?
If I could only do part of this, what part would it be?
What part of this is something that only I could do?
What standard do you expect this to be done to?
Is this more urgent than X, Y and Z that are currently on my list?
Have you checked with [name] about me taking this on?
How does this contribute to [Great Work Project]?
You get the gist I’m sure. And I’ve no doubt that you can add some questions of your own.
When you start saying Yes More Slowly, one of four things happen.
First, the person will answer all your questions and make a very good case for your to say Yes. Which is fine – you’re saying Yes for all the right reasons.
Second, they’ll tell you to stop with the questions and get on with it. (Sadly, this isn’t a ‘silver bullet’ that will work all the time.)
Third, they’ll go away and find the answers to your questions – which at the very least will buy you some time.
And finally – and this is a good result – they’ll go and find someone else who’s less trouble, someone who hasn’t mastered the art of saying Yes Slowly.
Time’s ticking
Kevin Kelly once explained how to calculate the date of your death. Mine is September 15, 2043 and that means – as I write this – I’ve got 12, 275 days left on this planet.
You’ll have more. Or less. But in any case, the minutes and hours and days are ticking away.
You can keep doing the busywork. Or you can do more Great Work.
Here’s how Steve Jobs puts it:
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”
Do more Great Work.
Don’t settle.

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The No. 1 Habit of Highly Creative People

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 “In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for contructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone.” ~Rollo May
Creativity is a nebulous, murky topic that fascinates me endlessly — how does it work? What habits to creative people do that makes them so successful at creativity?
I’ve reflected on my own creative habits, but decided I’d look at the habits that others consider important to their creativity. I picked a handful of creatives, almost at random — there are so many that picking the best would be impossible, so I just picked some that I admire, who came to mind when I thought of the word “creative”.
This was going to be a list of their creative habits … but in reviewing their lists, and my own habits, I found one that stood out. And it stands out if you review the habits and quotes from great creative people in history.
It’s the Most Important Habit when it comes to creativity.
After you read the No. 1 habit, please scroll down and read the No. 2 habit — they might seem contradictory but in my experience, you can’t really hit your creative stride until you find a way to balance both habits.

The No. 1 Creativity Habit

In a word: solitude.
Creativity flourishes in solitude. With quiet, you can hear your thoughts, you can reach deep within yourself, you can focus.
Of course, there are lots of ways to find this solitude. Let’s listen to a few of the creative people I talked to or researched:
Felicia Day – wonderful actress perhaps best known for her awesome awesome work on Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and The Guild.
I was thrilled when she replied to my email asking about her creative habits. One of the things she said: she makes “sure to be creative first thing in the morning, before doing anything for the outside world, really sets the day up for me. It makes it feel that CREATING is my job, not answering emails.”
Ali Edwards – an author, designer, and leading authority on scrapbooking.
I was honored with a response from Ali as well. One of her top habits wasn’t exactly solitude, but is related: “Do nothing. I have a habit of welcoming time away from my creative work. For me this is serious life-recharging time where my only responsibility is to just be Mom & Wife & Me. Doing nothing has a way of synthesizing what is really important in my life and in my work and inspires me beyond measure. When I come back to work I am better equipped to weed out the non-essential stuff and focus on the things I most want to express creatively.”
Chase Jarvis – an award-winning photographer.
Chase also kindly responded with several of his key creativity habits — see more great ones at the bottom of this post. But here’s one that I loved: “Find Quiet. Creativity sometimes washes over me during times of intense focus and craziness of work, but more often I get whacked by the creative stick when I’ve got time in my schedule. And since my schedule is a crazy one and almost always fills up if I’m just “living”, I tend to carve out little retreats for myself. I get some good thinking and re-charge time during vacations, or on airplanes, but the retreats are more focused on thinking about creative problems that I’m wanting to solve. That’s why I intentionally carve time out. I make room for creativity. Intentionally. The best example of what I mean by a retreat is a weekend at my family’s cabin. It’s a 90 minute drive from my house on the coast. There are few distractions. Just a rocky beach and a cabin from the 60’s with wood paneling and shag carpet. I go for walks, hikes, naps. I read. I did get an internet signal put in there to stay connected if I need it. But the gist is QUIET. Let there be space for creativity to fill your brain.”
Maciej Cegłowski – painter, programmer, excellent writer.
Maciej is one of my favorite bloggers, and responded to my email with a classically short answer that to me, embodies a beautiful way to find solitude.
What habit helps his creativity?
Maciej replied: “Running up hills!”
Leo Babauta: OK, I wasn’t going to talk about myself in this post, but I thought I should share some of my previous thoughts.
The best art is created in solitude, for good reason: it’s only when we are alone that we can reach into ourselves and find truth, beauty, soul. Some of the most famous philosophers took daily walks, and it was on these walks that they found their deepest thoughts.
My best writing, and in fact the best of anything I’ve done, was created in solitude.
Just a few of the benefits I’ve found from solitude:
  • time for thought
  • in being alone, we get to know ourselves
  • we face our demons, and deal with them
  • space to create
  • space to unwind, and find peace
  • time to reflect on what we’ve done, and learn from it
  • isolation from the influences of other helps us to find our own voice
  • quiet helps us to appreciate the smaller things that get lost in the roar
Read more: the lost art of solitude.

The Greats on Solitude

Of course, many other creative people have believed in the habit of solitude. I’ve collected a small but influential sample here. There are many more examples.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music. He is among the most enduringly popular of classical composers.
Mozart: “When I am, as it were, completely myself, entirely alone, and of good cheer–say, traveling in a carriage or walking after a good meal or during the night when I cannot sleep–it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly.”
Albert Einstein – theoretical physicist, philosopher and author who is widely regarded as one of the most influential and best known scientists and intellectuals of all time. He is often regarded as the father of modern physics.
Einstein: “On the other hand, although I have a regular work schedule, I take time to go for long walks on the beach so that I can listen to what is going on inside my head. If my work isn’t going well, I lie down in the middle of a workday and gaze at the ceiling while I listen and visualize what goes on in my imagination.”
Franz Kafka – one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. Novelist and writer of short stories whose works came to be regarded as one of the major achievements of 20th century literature.
Kafka: “You need not leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. You need not even listen, simply wait, just learn to become quiet, and still, and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice; it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”
Nicola Tesla – inventor, one of the most important contributors to the birth of commercial electricity, best known for his many revolutionary developments in the field of electromagnetism.
Tesla: “The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone—that is the secret of invention: be alone, that is when ideas are born.”
Joseph Haydn: A life-long resident of Austria, Haydn spent much of his career as a court musician for the wealthy Hungarian aristocratic Esterházy family on their remote estate. Isolated from other composers and trends in music until the later part of his long life, he was, as he put it, “forced to become original”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe – German writer and polymath. Goethe’s works span the fields of poetry, drama, literature, theology, philosophy, and science.
His magnum opus, lauded as one of the peaks of world literature, is the two-part drama Faust.
Goethe: “One can be instructed in society, one is inspired only in solitude.”
Pablo Picasso – Spanish painter best known for co-founding the Cubist movement and for the wide variety of styles embodied in his work. His revolutionary artistic accomplishments brought him universal renown and immense fortunes throughout his life, making him one of the best-known figures in twentieth century art.
Picasso: “Without great solitude no serious work is possible.”
Carl Sandburg – American writer and editor, best known for his poetry.
He won three Pulitzer Prizes, two for his poetry and another for a biography of Abraham Lincoln. H. L. Mencken called Carl Sandburg “indubitably an American in every pulse-beat.”
Sandburg: “One of the greatest necessities in America is to discover creative solitude.”
Thomas Mann – German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist, and 1929 Nobel Prize laureate, known for his series of highly symbolic and ironic epic novels and novellas, noted for their insight into the psychology of the artist and the intellectual.
Mann: “Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous — to poetry.”

The No. 2 Creative Habit

While it might seem contradictory, the No. 2 habit when it comes to nurturing creativity: participation. This can come in many forms, but it requires connecting with others, being inspired by others, reading others, collaborating with others.
But how can you have both solitude and participation? They obviously have to come at different times. Finding the balance is key, of course, but it takes a conscious effort: this time is for solitude, and this time is for participation.
Why are they both important? We need inspiration from without, but we need creation from within.
A couple of the people I interviewed had habits that relate to this:
Chase Jarvis: “Devour Popular Culture. Consuming the works of others inspires me. And it’s not just museums and the “establishment”. I devour magazines, books, street art, performances, music, etc. All things that make me think critically (and whimsically) about the world. You get the picture. Inspiration can come from anywhere.”
Ali Edwards: “Participate. My creative spirit is interested in documenting the wonderful everyday details of our lives. To really get to the heart of the matter I need to be fully participating in my life, in the interactions with my kids and husband and family and friends. If I am just going through the motions or wishing away the present moment for “the next thing” I am missing the blessing of right now. My creativity requires the habit of active participation and daily attention to detail.”

Other Creative Habits

There are other habits than those top two, of course, that can nourish creativity. Some other good ones:
Felicia Day: “When I am most productive I am the most ruthless with my schedule. I will literally make a daily checklist with, “one hour gym”, “30 minutes of internet research,” and “drink 3 glasses of water” on it. For some reason being that disciplined creates a sense of control that I wouldn’t have otherwise, as a self-employed person, and I get the most out of the scheduled hours that I have for writing.”
Ali Edwards: “Take notes. I am a really good note-taker. It’s essential for me to write down my ideas when they come to mind…otherwise, poof, they disappear way too quickly as I move on to the next task (diaper changes, wiping noses, tending to the stuff of life). I use my phone, my computer, and a moleskine notebook to jot down thoughts and ideas and then I move them into Things every week or so.”
Chase Jarvis had a few more:
  • Live a creative life everyday. I very much believe in doing creative stuff everyday. For one, I take photos and videos almost everyday. Doesn’t matter the camera. I use my iPhone everyday. Just taking photos keeps me in a creative headspace. Hell, I play with my food and draw and doodle.
  • Moderate Expectations. Make it a habit not to judge yourself on your creative output. Sometimes your creativity is on fire. Great news. Other times, it’s not. It’s hard sometimes when you make art in a professional commercial capacity because you’re paid to be ‘ON’, but you’ll save yourself a lot of greif if you make it a habit to be cool to your psyche when your creative mojo isn’t firing on all pistons.
  • Shake Your Tree. When I’m starting to feel stale, I make a habit of getting into adventures. Break molds. Drive home from work a different way. Stir up my routine. I get active and shake my tree.
  • Find fun.  Doing what you love inspires you to be more creative.  Make time and space for having fun.  All work and no play makes Jane a dull girl.
  • Lastly, being creative means living a creative life.  Expect yourself to have one.  Believe you are creative. Know that you are. Make that the most important habit of all.
For more on creativity, read my Little But Useful Guide to Creativity.
“Creativity is essentially a lonely art. An even lonelier struggle. To some a blessing. To others a curse. It is in reality the ability to reach inside yourself and drag forth from your very soul an idea.” ~Lou Dorfsman

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Empire Building and the Art of Small Steps

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Empire Building and the Art of Small Steps
For a long time, I focused on starting big projects. And for a long time, I had a hard time finishing any of them. Sometimes I got overwhelmed, other times I just looked at the faraway goal and thought: what comes next? How do I know which step is the right one?
Only when I studied the art of breaking down big projects into very small steps was I able to make progress.
It’s kind of like mountain climbing. Mountains look impossible from a distance. But if you come to basecamp and just start putting one foot in front of another, all you see is the path ahead. You can’t help but make progress—and as long as you have a trail, you know you’re going the right way.
For the past few months, I’ve been conducting an intensive research project with small business owners. From an initial group of 300, I selected 15 “emperors” who had built profitable businesses with less than three employees.
I wanted to find out exactly how they did it, and the key was to separate the essential steps from the optional ones. The central question was: can you really build a business around something you love to do, without going crazy—or without going broke?
What I discovered was that most businesses are not built from big ideas. Big ideas are good, but it’s more important to look at all of the smaller steps that bring you to the bigger goal.
The practice of daily habits—familiar to everyone in the Zen Habits family—is also crucial. Every day, you get up and do one thing that brings you closer to your goal. If you’re learning to exercise, you do twenty sit-ups—or just two sit-ups, if that’s all you can manage at first. Achieving a flat stomach is much more likely through this method than with a weekly sit-up binge.
The same holds true with the business owners I studied. In a small business, here are the sit-ups you work on every day:
1. Reach out to existing customers – because it’s much easier to sell to existing customers than to new ones.
2. Bring traffic or prospects in – because partnerships and soft-sell promotion can bring in more customers than costly advertising.
3. Create new products or services – because once you have an audience, you need something to offer them. (It also helps if you have more than one thing.)
4. Find a way to expand your reach – because ultimately you’ll want to reach a bigger tribe with your message and business.
More than big ideas, breaking down each of these strategies into specific steps grows and nurtures a healthy business over time. The step-by-step business system is also much easier than the caffeine-fueled startup. Startups tend to fly high and die; a lifestyle business flies at lower altitude, but flies safer and longer.
Going step-by-step, you might climb a mountain, you might build a business, and you might even get a flat stomach.
Today will be gone before you know it. Before it disappears forever, what mountain are you climbing, and what one step can you take to get closer to the top?

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minimalism, rethinks

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As many of you know, I’ve been passionate about minimalism for awhile now, but as the trend towards simplicity and minimalism has grown, it’s given me pause for thought.
The minimalism trend has had certain elements that leave some readers with a bad taste in their mouths: elements of hype and salesmanship, elements of obsession, elements of one-upsmanship, a focus on aesthetics, a focus on possessions to the point of obsession.
I have to confess I’m as guilty of these things as anyone else, so please don’t take this as an attack on anyone. If anything, it’s simply me, holding up a mirror and giving myself a close inspection.
It’s true that when we obsess over what (few) possessions we have, it has a hold on us just as much as if we were hoarders. I publish my list of 50 things not so much to obsess over every little thing I have, but as a way to say: limits are good things. And as a way to inspire others, to show them that it’s possible.
But still. Obsession over possessions is unhealthy, and it needs to be rethunk.
Minimalism, as discussed on minimalism and simplicity blogs, can also become a game of one-upsmanship — showing how little we have (it all fits in a backpack!), how far we’ve come (not only have I given up my car, but my house and my computer too!), how cool our setup (my desktop has fewer icons than yours). I’ve done it, and if other writers are honest, they’ve done it too, even if they didn’t mean to.
Let’s let go of these obsessions with the perfect setup, with showing simple desks and desktops and software and so on.
And that brings me to minimalism, rethunk: we need to let go.
Let go of obsessions, and embrace the moment.
Let go of salesmanship and hype, and be content.
Let go of one-upsmanship and competitiveness, and just share and encourage.
Let go of control, and embrace what comes.
Let go of perfection, and just do.

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The Elements of Living Lightly

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The Elements of Living Lightly

Today I’m going to suggest a small change in mindset that could change your life.
I won’t keep you in suspense. Here it is: think of nothing that happens as either good or bad. Stop judging, and stop expecting.
It’s a tiny change — all you have to do is say, ‘That wasn’t good or bad, it just happened, it just is.’ It’s tiny, but it takes practice, and amazingly, it can knock you on your ass.
Why? Because with this little change, you will no longer be swayed up and down depending on whether good things or bad things happen to you, whether people (and their actions) are good or bad. You will learn to accept things as they are, and move within that landscape mindfully.
You will no longer expect good things to happen (or bad things), but will just take things as they come, and be content with whatever comes. This means you’ll no longer be disappointed, or unhappy.
“When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.”
~Lao Tzu

A Little Exercise



Think of something good that happened to you recently, and how it affected your mindset. Now think of something bad that happened, and what that did to your mindset.
Now imagine that neither event was good, and neither was bad. They simply happened, existed.How does that change how you would have felt as a result of those events? How does it change your happiness, your mood? How does it change what you do in reaction?
When you stop judging things as good or bad, you are no longer

 

Nothing is good or bad


Hamlet said, ‘There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.’
He was right. Without the human mind, things just happen, and they are not good or bad. It’s only when we apply the filter of our judgment that they become good or bad, beautiful or ugly.
A weed is only a weed when we don’t like it. Children are only naughty if we don’t like their actions. Life only sucks if you judge it as bad.
But what about truly horrible tragedies, like a plague or tsunami or the Holocaust? Surely those are bad? Sure, through the lens of the judgment we’ve been raised to make, they are terrible. But then again, remove the judgment, and then … they simply happened. Death and cruelty will probably always make us sad, but they’ve always happened and always will, whether we like them or hate them.
Holocaust survivor and author Victor Frankl wrote of a rich woman who went through the Holocaust, and who was grateful for the experience, as much as she suffered, because it opened her eyes. It transformed her. I’m not saying the Holocaust was good, but perhaps we can say that it happened. It serves as a lesson — one we should heed, by the way, in these days of politically charged hatred, of blaming our ills on immigrants and minorities.
There are other tragedies that happen that aren’t necessarily bad. They’re devastating losses, without a doubt, but in life there are always losses, and people will always die. It’s how we judge them that determines our reaction, and determines whether we’re capable of dealing with it sanely.

 

Great Expectations

 

The second half of this change is just as small, but just as important: dropping expectations. Not lowering expectations, but eliminating them.
Think about it: when we have expectations, and things don’t go the way we expect (which happens quite often, as we’re not good prognosticators), we are disappointed, frustrated. It’s our expectations that force us to judge whether something is good or bad.
When you expect something of a friend, co-worker, family member, spouse, and they don’t live up to that expectation, then you are upset with them, or disappointed. It causes anger. But what if you had no expectations — then their actions would be neither good nor bad, just actions. You could accept them without frustration, anger, sadness.
What if you went on vacation, to a place you had high expectations of, and it wasn’t what you thought it’d be? You’d be bitterly disappointed, even though it’s not the fault of that place — that’s just how the place is. It’s your expectations that are at fault.
When people disappoint you, it’s not their fault. They’re just being who they are. Your expectations are at fault.


 

The Why

But why make this change? Why should we stop judging? Why should we stop expecting?
Because judgments stop us from understanding, and can ruin our happiness. When we judge, we don’t seek to understand — we’ve already come to a conclusion. If we stop judging, we allow ourselves to try to understand, and then we can take a much smarter course of action, because we’re better informed by our understanding.
Judging makes us unhappy. So do expectations.
When we leave judgment behind, we can live in the moment, taking what comes as neither good or bad, but simply what is. We can stop ruining our happiness with our thinking, and start living instead.

The How

So how do we start doing this? In small steps, as always.
1 First, start by being more aware. Throughout the course of the day today, note when you make judgments, note when you have expectations, and when things don’t live up to them. Over time, you’ll notice this more and more, and be much more conscious of these types of thoughts.
2 Next, pause each time you notice a judgment or expectation. Take a breath. Then tell yourself, “No expectations, no good or bad.” Repeat this, letting go of the judgment or expectation.
3 Third, seek to see things as they are, and to understand. Be curious as to why things are the way they are, why people act the way they act. Investigate, empathize, try to put yourself in people’s shoes. See the landscape of your life as it actually is, without the filter of judgments or expectations.
4 Next, take what comes. Experience it, in the moment. React appropriately, without overreacting because it isn’t as you hoped or wanted. You can’t
control life, or others, but you can control how you react.
5 Then, accept. When things happen, understand why they do, without judgment, and accept them as they are. Accept people for who they are. Accept yourself, without judgment, as you are. This takes practice.
6 Finally, know that the present moment, being as it is, also contains infinite possibilities. And those possibilities are opened up once you see things as they are, without judgment or expectations.


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