Motivate yourself the inside-out way

A student once asked a wise man, “How can I concentrate and focus on my work?” The philosopher took the student to the river side.

Published: 31st October 2013 01:03 PM  |   Last Updated: 31st October 2013 01:03 PM   |  A+A-


A student once asked a wise man, “How can I concentrate and focus on my work?” The philosopher took the student to the river side. He asked him to dive into the water and stay under as long as he could hold his breath. As the student was about to surface the wise man pushed his head under the water for a few more moments before he let him surface. The boy came up gasping for breath. The wise man asked the boy, “When you were under the water what were you thinking about?”

The student answered, “Air, breath, nothing but that!”

The master told him, “When you want something as desperately as you wanted air, you will focus, concentrate and think of nothing else.”

This is motivation... the life force that propels us to achieve. If you are motivated from within you are like a thirsty person searching for water to quench his thirst, you work with determination to reach the goal. 

Nature is the wisest teacher of all. If an egg breaks naturally, from inside out, a life force emerges; if, however, the egg breaks because of outside pressure a life ends... it is wiped out! What lesson do we learn from this truth? If we do what we want to do we do it well, if we do what others want us to do we do a half-hearted job.

Take two examples:

No one has to tell you to practise and play well for the school football or cricket team. You play with heart, soul and total involvement because you want to play, you believe your contribution to the team is vital and, most importantly, you are motived from the inside out... this is called Intrinsic Motivation.

It is Saturday morning and your parents have told you to study for the term examinations, but there is a get-together at your friends’ place. You know you have a lot of work to catch up on, you also know that unless you obey you cannot go out. So you sulk and sit at the table with your books... Do you really absorb anything? No! You have been forced to do something and your heart is not fully involved. The pressure is from outside in... this is Extrinsic Motivation.

Both kinds of motivation  play a part in our life. External reward and recognition is very important to boost our confidence level, but if we depend only on outer forces to get work done we are like a ball being kicked around and controlled by others, not like a free bird perching on any branch it fancies!

Why do so many of us not achieve success? Because we are not ready to work or take the necessary steps to succeed. We do not believe we can achieve and we have a negative approach to our capabilities and the chance of a positive result.

You may then ask, ‘How do I change, how can I learn to be internally motivated?

You must focus on your goals and determine the time, effort, energy you have to put in to achieve it.

You must work hard at participating and learning and believe that this hard work will lead to success.

You must keep working in the face of difficulty, and not give up.

You must understand that there are factors you cannot control and focus on those that you can control.

So learn to adopt the Inside-Out approach and see how it creates a New You!

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