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Beyond Growth Inc. | Markham, ON

By Tim Rooney

“Shit Happens!” so what’s your “sanity fix” for keeping motivated – with some advice from Winston Churchill and Mohamed Ali.

Lets be frank – it’s not possible to always keep motivated – and as that famous poster with the steam engine collapsing off the bridge says – “Shit happens!”

Buddha perhaps said it more eloquently when he said – “Life is a Problem” and we all know – “you have to taste the sour to appreciate the sweet”.

So the fact is – we all get de-motivated from time to time, maybe even to the point where if it persists we’re mildly depressed and sometimes this is with really good reason.

Just acknowledging this fact can, in itself be useful. You’re not a “loser” for feeling below par from time to time – life isn’t always “a box of chocolates” as Forest Gump said.

I believe that each person has to develop- their own “fix” when things don’t go our way.

Here’s my Top 5  list of “fixes”  [in no particular order] that I have for keeping me motivated  when I’m below par – what’s yours?

1. Rewards to Feed the Soul

Having something that “feeds the soul” after the work is done is essential to staying motivated.

In my case – I admit it – I’m a “golf junky”! I even play indoors in the winter. If I play well – there is nothing better! If I play poorly – I’ve had a four and a half hour work-out and the pleasure of taking-in some great scenery. I’m lucky my club enjoys some of the best scenery imaginable as it courses its way along the Rouge River.

My wife loves to garden – she has the most amazing green fingers and it shows in our beautiful garden.

If you’re married it helps to have complimentary pastimes. I like to golf – my wife likes to garden – so absolutely no resentment about each of us following our own pleasures.

2. A Good Workout

Nothing beats a good workout to keep you motivated!

I still own one of those “Nordic Track” self-powered “workout bikes”. Thirty or 45 minutes on that old machine at least once per week with some really loud music [currently Adele] – looking into my garden – works wonders for getting all those little “happy endorphins” movin’ and shakin’!

It’s like “cleansing the soul” – I sometimes even have a “genius attack” – a new idea comes to me – as my mind shifts to new things.

I must admit I don’t particularly like working-out – but do enjoy the results – particularly when the machine tells me I’ve burnt-up + 400 calories and this allows me to enjoy some additional indulgence at dinner!

3. Simple Rituals – 3 cups of tea and a good stiff gin and tonic with a twist of lemon

Familiar rituals can provide a sense of continuity and comfort.

My day starts with 3 cups of tea with my wife and our dog Tanzie. After 30 minutes sipping tea and chatting to my wife I’m motivated and ready to go to work.

My work day ends with a stiff gin and tonic – watching the 6 o’clock BBC news before supper.  I wouldn’t miss these 2 “book-ends” for anything – especially the gin and tonic!

4. “KBO – Keep Buggering-On”

Winston Churchill coined this turn of phrase. It is truly a great piece of advice for maintaining your motivation.

Thinking about what you have to do and doing nothing procrastinating is a totally toxic road to follow. You may not know exactly where your efforts will take you or have the certainty even if they will work – but if you have a “to do list” and you work at it with guts and discipline – you’re in with a chance to compete and at worst – you tried and failed – but gave it your best shot!

5. Preparation

Being well prepared for anything is a great stress reducer. It might be an important presentation, a tough sales call, a crucial conversation or a job interview.  Betting against “Murphy’s Law” well in advance of the actual event puts you in control, increases the probability of success and allows you to relax – or at least get your stress level to a controllable level.

Mohammed Ali – was always the epitome of “cool” when he fought – but it didn’t come easy. Ali used to say – “First I run on the road – before I dance under the lights”.

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