Of all our most basic, primal urges hunger is probably the most compelling.
Sure there’s practically an entire sub-genre of TV and movies about the crazy (often comedic) things people will do for sex, sure people hallucinate of thirst in the desert, but there is a unique power to hunger. Hunger will make people steal, kill and completely abandon any rationality outside of getting something to eat. Extreme hunger can essentially make you lose control of your actions.
The thing is, most people who I expect to be reading this don’t ever experience real hunger. Most people living in a developed nation are lucky enough to never have to feel real hunger unless they choose to.
I think, at least once, they should choose to.
To get motivated when you aren’t, you first need to find the motivation to motivate yourself.
I recognize that sounds like word soup or an antimetabole, and it kind of is. At the very least it suffers from the problem of infinite regression. After all, how can you get up the motivation to motivate yourself if you don’t have enough motivation to be motivated in the first place? Turtles all the way down.
Thankfully, there are some forces that are a lot more powerful than our conscious minds. Forces we can use as an external push to provide a solid foundation for all those turtles and kick start some motivation without effort on our part.
For a long time now it’s been believed that your willpower, loosely defined here as your capacity to make yourself do/not do something contrary to your desires, is a finite resource.
It was said that you have a reservoir of willpower and every time you exercise your will to resist overeating, study or work when you don’t want to or anything else like that it drained a little willpower from your tank. In terms I’m more familiar with, your willpower is like your MP (Magic/Mana Points for anyone scratching their head) – a reserve of limited mystical power that allows you to do awesome things until you run out of it, then you need a bit of sleep or some manner of potion to recharge it.
The thing is, it turns out there’s a cheat that gives you nearly unlimited mana – er, willpower – by making it so it recharges every time you use it.
As 2013 draws to a close we wanted to collect together all the articles from last year that were both our personal favorites and the favorites of our readers. We think that every year the most important thing you can do is be a little bit better that year than you were the previous, so hopefully these will give you a head start on 2014. Chronological order is boring, so they aren’t sorted in any particular order.
Lead by Attila and his descendants the Huns were one of the most successful civilizations of their time militarily, finding victory even over the Roman Empire and building an empire that stretched from southern Russia and Iran all the way to what’s now France. Attila even gets referenced in the Volsunga Saga of Norse mythology.
The success of Attila and the Huns obviously can’t be boiled down to a single factor, but the one that gets referenced the most is definitely the skill of their horsemen.
Like the Mongols centuries later, the popular legend is that the Huns learned to ride horses before they even learned to walk. They were claimed to live almost their whole lives in the saddle, and as a result they became some of the most expert horsemen that the world has ever seen.
While nowadays you probably don’t need to master your horsemanship, we can apply this same principle to get exceedingly good at any other skill you want to master.
The holidays are stressful.
Whether it’s fighting through the grocery store the day before Thanksgiving trying to find the last few ingredients on your list, having to listen to a semi-inebriated rant by that one relative whose ideas on equality hail from a time when the phrase ‘coloreds only’ didn’t necessarily mean you were doing laundry or dealing with the near anarchy of a major retailer on Black Friday – it helps to have some way to maintain your centeredness. When you factor in all the horrible physical side effects of stress not having some way to deal with it all may genuinely be killing you.
Thankfully, one moment meditation is an easy technique you can use at any time anywhere to regain a little bit of your inner peace.
We wanted to wish a warm welcome to everyone coming over to visit from Fluent In 3 Months! If you’re here and have no idea what I’m talking about, Benny over at FluentIn3Months.com was kind enough to feature one of our articles on his site about language learning for introverts.
If you’ve not been to Benny’s site before and are learning a language, don’t even finish reading this. Go click that link. Also, if you’re anything like me, get ready to wind up with a lot of browser tabs open.
Anyway, everyone who’s new to the site if you’d like to know a little more about us and what we do, you can check out our about page.
Time management is a big deal for a lot of people, especially if you’re in the category of people concerned with accomplishing a lot of things. I’ve written about time management before along with other strategies like timeboxing for getting the most out of your time.
The problem is I see a lot of people focus entirely on time management at the expense of other areas. They become obsessed with trying to squeeze every little productive moment out of their day and in the end wind up less productive than they were before. Their problem isn’t that they’re poor at managing their time.
Their problem is they don’t know how to manage their energy.
In almost all situations the best way to reach the most beneficial option in a tough decision is solid, rational thought. There’s something to be said certainly for going with your gut at times, particularly in situations where an immediate decision is required to get you out of danger. For bigger less immediate decisions though taking a long objective look at things gives you the best vantage point from which to make the best decision.
The problem is, in a lot of ways our brains suck at rational, objective thought.
Thankfully we can fight their influence once we know what to look out for. Here are thirteen of the more common ones and some easy ways to counteract them.
Complacency and a fire for constant self-improvement seem to be diametrically opposed.
The drive for self-improvement spurs us on to always be better than we were yesterday. It pushes us to keep fighting, keep training, keep working for that next goal. People who are particularly driven by a desire for self-improvement tend to be very ambitious and the heart of ambition is a hunger to improve or to succeed. That ambition makes a person work hard, but it also ties their mood to their progress. They always want more and they’re often not happy until they get it.
On the other hand you have people with a high sense of complacency. These people are happy with what they’ve got almost no matter where they’re at in life. Their happiness is tied to appreciating what they’ve got rather than with getting something else. This sounds nice in theory, but complacency encourages stasis – if things are fine how they are why should you work for something better? People who are too complacent run the risk of living a life dictated by others rather than the one they actually want to lead.
So how do you find happiness while still retaining your motivation for self-improvement? By focusing on progress rather than position.