There's so much negativity flying around these days it's understandable and perhaps pardonable that even you get caught in its grasp. When it takes over, we quickly forget our worthwhile and meaningful motivations, and before we know it become part of the problem.
For example, the number of people involved in the blame game has reached astronomical levels. I can't believe what's happening between our leaders and would-be leaders! Few have much to contribute other than their latest sound bite about what's wrong with their opponents. Others jump on the bandwagon and start pointing fingers at them in print, on television and radio -- what a performance, Mr. Limbaugh!
But wait, what did I just do there? Wake up, Jinny: Is your true motivation to use this post to make others wrong and blame them? It sure looks like it, doesn't it? See how easy it is? Worse yet, I've just become part of the problem by adding to the poison that's pervading an environment in which too many good folks are already stressed, frustrated, unhappy, anxious, and afraid.
Becoming Aware of the Biggest Negative Motivations
Being a good human being -- the one you long to be -- seems to be getting harder and harder. You start the day with the best of intentions, and before you know it one of the tempting and destructive negative drivers has taken over:
- Gossiping and pointing out what's wrong with others
- Resentment and its cousin, the desire to get even
- Complaining in order to generate sympathy
- and the biggest and baddest of all -- our powerful need to be right
I could go on, but you get the idea and probably have others to add to the list. I'm so disappointed in myself when I fail to catch myself in time. When I finally do -- maybe in retrospect, hours later -- I realize I've hurt someone, added to their burden, made them miserable, and increased their stress.
Although I still fall into the pit too often, I'm starting to feel a sense of mastery over this costly, costly behavior. It is possible to gain control of our days and our destinies in ways beyond our ability to imagine.
I'm too embarrassed to tell you the pain I've caused others by forgetting who I am and what I'm here for. However, I will tell you that I'm learning. The results are making a positive impact on the difference I'm making to others and in the quality of my life.
I'm finding out that it's possible to step out of the rut of being right and to break the habits of a lifetime of being asleep at the switch and being part of the problem. This article is the first in a series about personal transformation, in which I'll be sharing what I've learned (and am trying to learn) about being more of the person that I know myself to be.
Sticking With the Right Motivation
Checking, correcting, and maintaining your motivation is key. Staying on the right path can be applied to every aspect of your life. What it takes is to increase your awareness and to become more mindful about what you're up to. It means taking the lighter rather than the darker path.
The hardest lesson I've been working on for the past couple of years is that:
"It's not about me!!"
What that means to me is to think less about myself and more about:
- Opening up more to others
- Being more aware of what's happening for them
- Increasing my compassion for them
- Thinking more positive thoughts -- about them, not me
- And just plain being kinder
Over the nearly 40 years I've been working with others as their coach or their boss, people's biggest issue is that they don't believe in themselves. They don't feel good enough as they are. What's generated a strong transformation for them has been to let go of limiting paradigms and start believing in one that validates who they are. More in a later issue on how that's done.
I've observed that the fastest path to transformation is the one that is motivated by creating happier lives for others. The more serious we become about that intention, the faster we cut through our limiting beliefs about ourselves and our drive to "make it."
While this truth is a constant revelation to me -- and an inspiration when I see others put it to work -- I'm far from the first to find it. Whether you read the basic tenets of Christianity, Judaism or Buddhism (and beyond), they share this core message.
I invite you to join me over the next couple of months on a journey of personal transformation. While I'm sure you've already achieved a number of huge transformations, I'll bet you've discovered like me that it's a lifetime job. The next article will be called "Personal Transformation: There's Nothing Wrong With You."
Because I'd like this journey to be a partnership, please share your answer to this question:
What's Motivating You?
Write your response below this article on The Huffington Post. Or I'd love to hear from you directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more by Jinny Ditzler, click here.
For more on mindfulness, click here.