How To Get Motivated… Demonstrated!

By Ellesse

Here’s a case study on how to get motivated. 17 August 2006 was one of the most exciting days in my life. As a result of monsoonal rains, I was stuck in a traffic jam for more than 3 hours in the streets of Karachi, Pakistan! In case you are wondering what was I doing in that city, my job as an implementation consultant gets me to some of the most interesting places in the world.

Some of you may beg to differ. Exciting? Do you think it’s exciting waiting for minutes to just slip through your hands, while your car inches away on the streets that have almost sunk into total darkness?

The truth is, I find it interesting because of the various behaviour noticed during the ordeal. That were very much manifestations of how to get motivated in a situation totally out of your control. Here are my observations :

(1) Step by Step to Goal Achievement?

When the rain stopped, a lot of passengers dropped off from their vehicles and started walking in the knee level water puddles. What I found out from my client (who was in the same vehicle) was that under such circumstances, it might be better to stay within their cars. It could be dangerous walking in the puddle as it might contain man-holes opened up to release the accumulated water.

Despite that danger, those individuals decided that they would rather tread with care slowly in the water puddles than to stay in the car and waste their time. Their motivation was very much driven by the possibility of saving not just precious time. But also to be constantly seeing progress on their journey back home.

Now, isn’t that familiar? How many times have we derived motivation from seeing constant progress in our goal or even completion of a sub task? These are the kind of simple milestones that just gets one going, isn’t it? Even though it may sound simple, a lot of people get stuck with even making the first move to see some progress. That’s when their goal fundamentals are not strong enough to keep them going.

Those people were stuck in the traffic for the past 3 hours and their earnest goal was to get home. Yes, even at the possibility of falling into man-holes. When the fundamental is strong, you will likely to find yourself forging ahead. Even though you know there are likely obstacles ahead.

(2) Goal Buddies & Focus Groups in Action?

Some drivers started moving out of their cars and chatting with others on the same road. Even though I might not understand Urdu, my intuition told me that they were sharing thoughts about the traffic jam. They were probably wondering what could have caused the jam despite the fact that the rain has stopped. They might also be discussing alternative ways to get the traffic to move faster. Such as crossing over to the lane in the opposite direction. I noticed a man who had fallen into a man-hole was being helped by another along the flooded pavements. Security guards near the US embassy were also jostling the rest of the cars to cross over to the other side of the road.

Now, that was goal buddyship in action, wasn’t it? Holding a common goal to get out of the bad traffic, those people were helping, inspiring and working with one another. This is a very much applicable technique on how to get motivated in our daily life, isn’t it? When was the last time you had a goal buddy?

(3) Practicing the Art of Visualization?

I noticed a driver was out of his seat, standing outside his car leaning against his car door. He was eating a packet of peanuts and watching the commotion. It actually had a hypnosis effect on me. How could anyone have the mood to eat peanuts and literally “enjoy” the scene in this kind of situation? Could he be practicing the art of visualization, imagining he was at home watching a movie? I seriously doubt he would have that intention but his actions do have a personal development backing.

Self help gurus and hypnotists will tell you that for things to change, one must have the picture of what you want them to change to. Suppose if the man was imagining himself to be at home, getting comfy and enjoying a nice movie, it would only lessen his frustrations with the wait and keep him motivated to just continue waiting. I presumed he did get back home. But how soon?

I did not stay to find out. I joined one of those who wanted to see step by step goal achievement and walked back to my hotel, ending my 3 hours ordeal in 10 minutes. I was still amazed at how much I had learned how to get motivated in that situation.


12 Responses to “How To Get Motivated… Demonstrated!”

  1. Jersey Girl at 3:44 pm

    Wow, that was a good read :) Nice post

  2. MamaDuck at 7:15 pm

    Excellent article indeed! Our how-to is up as well if you’d like to check it out!!

  3. Matt at 9:55 pm

    Interesting… Thanks for participating in the Group Writing Project. My How To is up also.

  4. Ellesse at 6:48 am

    Jersery Girl, MamaDuck & Matt,

    Thanks for the wonderful comments… I have read your submissions too and they are awesome!

  5. Graham English at 2:45 pm

    Great tips. Especially the visualization. Most often neglected. My how to is up.

  6. Ruth Greenwood at 2:43 pm

    Having been in Karachi…and finding the traffic so wild I was nervous about crossing the dry street in sunshine…that tale hit home!
    Walking in that water was brave!
    But life is a daring adventure or…….

  7. Ellesse at 2:03 am

    Yeah Ruth, it’s either I risk and walk in those puddles, or still get stranded in the roads while in my car facing the same risk of getting electrocuted (because water can seep in).

    Now that I’ve quit my job, I don’t get to go such exciting places anymore. But the excitement was transferred to full time writing.

    And it excites me to know that I’ve finally found someone who’ve been to Pakistan like you! Welcome to Goal Setting College, Ruth!

  8. Wajid Unar at 1:30 am

    Hey Ellesse!
    Thats an amazing motivational website, you indeed are doing a great job here! keep it up!
    I am glad that you visited Pakistan specially Karachi, you really note little things going around.. The environment that you experienced that day is the one that we experience on the regular and I never noticed, indeed whatever you mentioned is true, however people do get frustrated, but only some can change the moods and start enjoying what they are facing.. Wonder its all in ‘our control’ how a 3 hours annoying situation can be converted into an unforgettable experience like you had :)

  9. Ellesse at 6:34 am

    @Wajid Thank you soooo much for the kind words! I really appreciate it!

    Going to Pakistan has been one of the most amazing experience in my life. I got to know a bunch of really nice & heartwarming people and till now, one of them has been sending me occasional emails to check out how I am, even though I’ve left the company a while back. Contrary to what we often see in the news, within the country itself is actually rather peaceful and tranquil. But most people wouldn’t have the opportunity to experience that for themselves, given the fears that was frequently disseminated via the media.

    Even though getting stuck in a traffic jam isn’t really that “exciting” to people like yourself who probably have to live with it almost every other day, it certainly left a deep memory on me because of all the things I saw. :) I was also stuck in Jakarta once for 2 hours but the experience was never as deep!

  10. Wajid at 12:47 am

    Thanks Ellesse for taking time and responding to my comment.

    Indeed you are very true, west perceives us differently (thanks to media), you have seen it all yourself, reality is always is different from what media portrays, one has to experience things by himself…
    Beside, you better should be thankful to God, that day it was raining, if it wasn’t and it was the month of June/July, at 2pm you had to face the sun for almost 3 hours, I am sure it would have been also a unforgettable experience, but for that you would have to wrote a BOOK rather this article :D

    Conclusion is, whatever it is, either a drop of rain, or a ray of sun… one can always see the beauty of life, can feel the love of mother nature and can listen to music of his/her heart :) [ Like you did.. ]

  11. Ellesse at 6:51 am

    @Wahid No, thank you instead for commenting on Goal Setting College! Thanks for pointing out that I should be fortunate that I didn’t have to face the scorching sun!

    Haha, indeed over the years, I’ve learned to be grateful for everything in life. Because it’s both fragile and precious. The weather, the people around us and now, even the rice we eat! The ability to treasure every moment in time is a bliss in itself.

    Thank you for the kind reminder!

  12. Wajid at 8:37 pm

    no prob :)
    Looking forward for more wonderful articles.


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