How To Get Motivated… Demonstrated!
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 buddyship 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.