Chances are, the answer is yes…and it is keeping you from accomplishing a ton! Here is one way to change that.
The first thing that people will often say you need to accomplish something is motivation. They will tell you that you have to “be motivated” about it; that you have to want it, you have to want to do it, or want to accomplish it to do anything.
While that is true, here is where a lot of people get tripped up with motivation. They think that in order to continue making things happen, they have to “sustain” that motivation. That is why, when we stop do things we said we wanted to do, we say things like, “I lost my motivation” or “I need to get motivated again to start.”
Want to know a secret? That is completely incorrect.
Here’s what you need to know; motivation is the initial spark. But, once that initial spark happens, it does not play much of a role (if any) in your accomplishments. That is when things like habits and routines take over.
Think about it this way…when you get into your car, turn the key (or push the button), and engage the ignition, what happens? You create a spark that starts the car. Your car is now ready to drive. But once you have turned the key, that spark doesn’t do anything else. It doesn’t help you drive. It doesn’t help you shift the transmission into gear. It doesn’t help you steer. It doesn’t help you accelerate. It doesn’t help you brake.
It does nothing. Its job is over.
In order to go anywhere, you need to reach over, put the car in gear, hit the accelerator, steer in the right direction to get where you want to go, maybe hit the brake, turn in a different direction and hit the accelerator again.
The ignition, at this point, does nothing.
However, without that initial spark, none of the other stuff is possible. If you do not have the spark that starts the engine, you can sit in your driveway all day long and steer and hit the pedals all you want. You can even try and shift the car into gear, but nothing is going to happen.
You are going to stay put.
Motivation is that key. But if you are relying only on motivation to get things done, you are going to be sitting in your driveway steering a car that will never move for a long time. Good luck getting anywhere you want to go.
You have got to have sparks; sparks are are what get you started. But the thing that needs your attention is, what are you going to do once you have the spark? Now you have to take action.
Action will create more motivation…not the other way around.
People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing — that’s why we recommend it daily. (Zig Ziglar)
Here is a tool you can use so that, when that spark hits, you can put the idea into gear, hit the accelerator, and begin steering toward success immediately.
This tool is taken right out of the world of comedy improvisation. If you know anything about “improv,” you know that there is no script. The whole point is that you simply go with the flow of the scene. (If you do not know anything about improv, this is all you really need to know.)
However, there is one unwritten rule in improv that must always be honored. That rule is known as the “yes, and.” All this means is that you cannot say “no” on stage.
Think about it…if you are on stage, and your fellow actor says something is happening and you say, “no, it’s not,” the scene is over. There is nowhere to go with a “no.” “Yes, and” simply means that you have to acknowledge what was just said by your fellow actor and add to it. “Yes…and….”
If you think about it, our lives are just one big improv. You might have an idea of what is going to happen day to day, but things always pop up to surprise you.
So what is the point of all of this?
The point is, we do not typically go through our lives with a “yes, and” attitude. Instead, we “yes, but” everything. This is the exact point at which we stop motivation in its tracks! We stop the spark almost as quickly as we got it.
For example, you get a great thought and get excited about it. Your first response to it is, “Yes! We should do that! That would be so cool. I would love to do that!”
Then, almost immediately, the next words out of your mouth are, “But…I don’t have the time, I don’t have the money, I don’t have the energy to do that. I can’t do that. I don’t know how to do that. Yadda, yadda, yadda.”
We immediately shoot our own ideas down. The very things that get us excited and motivated, we shoot down. We do not even give them a chance to be a possibility. Nobody did that to us. We did it to ourselves.
We extinguish the spark only moments after we create it.
The “yes, and” tool can help with this. Begin paying attention to how often you “yes, but” yourself. (Spoiler alert! Just because we had this conversation, you will be hyper-aware and begin catching yourself doing it constantly).
Any time you “yes, but,” stop for a moment and try and “yes, and” it instead.
For example, “Yes, I would love to visit Italy. AND, if I could visit Italy, I could go to Florence and see the architecture I have always wanted to see. AND we could go through Italian wine country. We could try some new tastes and maybe discover something we absolutely love that we could find in the states, it could become one of my new favorites. AND, imagine waking up one morning and stepping out into the European countryside.”
Think of all the things that you would enjoy about your idea FIRST. Feel that! When you can take yourself there, even for just a few moments, you get to feel and experience it. That makes it real.
Now, if you go back and try and “yes, but” the same thing, it is going to be a bit more difficult to do. Once you have given yourself the opportunity to feel and experience something that you really want to do, you have some answers to your “yes, but” questions.
“I don’t have the money for that trip.” Well, I don’t have to go next week or next month. Maybe I could go next year or in a couple of years. Why don’t I sit down and start planning. I can actually see how much it would cost and start putting away a few bucks a month until I have exactly what I need to go. I could talk to my friends or cousins who travel a lot. They might know where to get a good deal or how to plan a trip like that more easily and cost effectively. Maybe I can go with a tour or a friend and save some money.
If you first allow yourself to experience what it is you want, you will find a way to do it. See the possibilities before you look at the hurdles. See what winning looks like before you decide you are going to lose.
Catch yourself “yes, butting,” and shift your thinking to “yes, anding,” and see what begins to happen in your life.
I guarantee you will love the result.