Bored, stuck in a rut, unambitious, or lost your passion and spark for life? If you have answered yes to any of the aforementioned, then you, my friend, sound like you need some inspiration.
I must admit that I’ve been feeling a little of these emotions recently, which is what has prompted me to write this post.
As a self-admitted ‘self-help’ junkie, I think that I’ve amassed a great deal of knowledge on the theory of how to stay motivated and happy, and it’s a few of these gems that I’d like to reiterate today.
Most people know all the buzz words: happiness, success, motivation, inspiration, fulfillment, etcetera etcetera, but they don’t quite understand the links between these that will enable them to use these tools to their highest advantage.
Happiness, Inspiration, and Motivation – How Does it All Work?
The idea that happy people just fall into this state is in my opinion a little inaccurate. While some people do tend to be happier than others with relatively little effort, the truth is that you can only achieve happiness and fulfillment through action..
The human psyche thrives on achievement, direction and having a sense of purpose. You need to have something to strive towards.
Without having a sense of purpose, most people quickly become depressed (or otherwise try to numb those feelings of purposelessness through distractions such as TV or life in general).
So how do you fight this?
The answer is simple – by taking action to do something that will help you work towards something that you want to achieve. This can be a goal, or even just something simple – a mini goal, if you will.
It’s surprising how such a simple concept can lead to great fulfillment and a healthier and happier mental state, however it does require work.
Work in the form of taking action is what can lead to fulfillment and feelings of success and increased happiness.
Motivation is a key driver that can lead to happiness, but most people don’t understand exactly how it fits into the puzzle.
If we look at the definition for motivation, it talks about being willing to do something, or having a reason to act.
Motivation can help you to take action, which we’ve already learned can take you closer to your goals and lead to a greater sense of fulfillment and happiness.
Having motivation is not necessary to take action, but it does make it a helluva lot easier to do so. In fact, I’d go as far as to hazard a guess that without having motivation (reasons behind why you want to achieve something), you’d be extremely hard pressed to start taking consistent action.
Sadly, this is why most people fail – they don’t have enough motivation or reason to change.
… And Where Inspiration Fits In
Inspiration comes into play one step before motivation. Sometimes it can take the place of motivation and egg you on directly to action, but more often it is the mental stimulation that leads to feeling motivated.
Pulling all the pieces together: inspiration can spark motivation; motivation leads to action; action leads to success/fulfillment; and fulfillment leads to happiness.
It is worth noting the importance of taking action in the flowchart above. It is the difference between just feeling good because of temporary inspiration/motivation, and actually being good through manifesting success.
The only way you can cross that barrier between the two is by taking action that will bring you closer to your goals.
Now that you know how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together, how can you make sure you don’t fall back into old habits?
How to Keep it All Going
We learnt earlier that happiness takes work. Actually, all good things worth having and experiencing as a general rule seem to take some amount of effort; this difficulty in attaining them is what makes them so valuable.
So how do you keep it all together so that you can stay out of that rut and keep moving towards your goals?
The Answer is Daily Practice.
Zig Ziglar has a famous quote that I really like:
You are responsible for making your life be and work the way you want it to. So what are you going to do about it?
Here are some ways you can tackle each step in the happiness/fulfillment flowchart to ensure you are running at your peak performance each and every day:
It is worth knowing that the body can influence the mind. Numerous studies have shown that the whole ‘fake it til you make it’ mantra turns out to be somewhat true after all!
As stupid as it sounds, it has actually been proven that the very act of just smiling can actually increase the amount of happiness that you feel.
Move and use your body as if you are happy (even if you don’t quite feel that way yet!), and feelings of happiness will actually follow.
Feeling fulfilled is just another emotion, and human emotions can always be influenced. Feeling fulfilled actually in itself motivates you to take more positive action; it’s the perfect positive feedback loop. The downside is that it can also become a negative loop if you focus on your failures in life.
Know that emotions do not always reflect reality, so even though you may not feel fulfilled right in this very moment, focus on cultivating feelings of fulfillment – focus on small successes in some area of your life and build from there.
Success is a bit like fulfillment. Sometimes we may not feel successful, and this puts us into a negative feedback loop that is destined to lead to failure unless quickly reversed.
The truth is that everyone is successful in some way or another.
I bet you were successful in waking up this morning. How about the success you have in being able to read and comprehend these very words?
We often focus on the wrong things – like minor setbacks – when we should really be focusing on being grateful and how we are successful in all areas of our lives.
You don’t strictly need motivation to be able to succeed, but trust me, you’ll want this as an ally along the way.
Motivation is so very important because it’s what gets you up when you fall down. It’s what keeps you going. By the way, you’ll want to focus on recalling your motivations daily, as Zig Ziglar recommends.
Motivation is your why. Why do you want to achieve something? If you don’t have a big enough reason why, then when the going gets tough, you’re likely to go bye-bye too.
Inspiration is another great tool that sits alongside motivation. Practice it daily by drawing on the experiences of others. Seek out peer groups that inspire you and lift you up to their standard. Surround yourself with positive examples of what you want to do, be, and achieve.
Now Get To Work!
I’ve tried to break down the mechanics of how and why humans feel successful and happy. If you’ve made it to the end, I hope that you’ve managed to take away some tips and have a greater understanding of how achievement works!
The truth is, you are capable of much more than you imagine. Everything you ever wanted to achieve that you already have in your life started off as a thought that you brought to reality.
There’s nothing to stop you from doing that again and again, with anything that you want. So will you?