Zen and the art of self motivation

ZenMountainSml The beautiful theory is that the combination of passion, clear goals and vision is everything you need to achieve great things – or at least to achieve the things you want.

Allow me to quote Giles Long – medal winner in 3 consecutive Paralympics and 3 world championships including two world records for swimming:

“The love of swimming alone isn’t enough to get you out bed at 4.30 every morning”

The big picture is vital for direction but day-by-day, let’s face it, we could all do with a little supplementation.

My own simple method goes like this – if I have say five things that need to be done in a`day, two of which I want to do and three of which I don’t.  I’ll work on the three that I don’t and reward myself after they’re completed with the two I do.  Easy. 

But, I have to admit, not always effective – simply because sometimes there are 20 things to do and only one that I want to do.  Humph.

So, what’s the advice from greats such as Giles?

I was fortunate enough to hear Giles speak at a recent Microsoft event.  Giles did me the service of answering a much better question than the one I asked… which led to a description of how to stay motivated.

A fellow swimming athlete had a list of ‘100 reasons to keep swimming’ – which started with “I absolutely love swimming” and got progressively more tenuous down the list.  At around 50 it included “because I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want.”  This reason alone doesn’t cut it – but at 4.30 in the morning as I quoted above, love isn’t enough!

And Giles’ own method?  He loves full-fat coke.  And, unless he completed all nine training sessions in the week, he couldn’t have that precious drink on Sunday evening.

Both of these techniques are really simple… and lets face it, if they’re good enough to create daily motivation for the worlds greatest swimmers, they can probably help the rest of us!

I’m pleased to say that Giles has a book, which naturally is on order…

Title: Changing to Win - An Incredible Story of Courage and a Template for Success
Format: Book, 256 pages
Author: Giles Long