Do you take big goals in life and then find yourself dis-empowered and not take any actions at the first sight of a breakdown. Doesn’t demotivation and procrastination set in when we face setbacks and lower than expected results? I have seen this many times in my own life. I decide on a new goal and make big plans for it which leaves me motivated and ready for action. But as soon as I face a few setbacks and know that the targets I set are not going to be achieved, I give up even on what moderate numbers I can achieve. Why so?
At the same time, there have been times, when I have seen myself work out of my own capacity, even when the chips are down. These were the times where I didn’t even make an effort to stay motivated, but somehow I went out of my skin to give my best. I have often wondered what has been the difference in these two cases? The difference I have observed is standing for something bigger than oneself.
Are people counting on you for something?
What I have observed is that people who were doing their best were often those on whom others were counting on for something. For example – I have seen my mother beat cancer three times and do things during her treatment that has astonished doctors and relatives alike. The kind of courage she showed made one of the top chemotherapy specialists of the country remark – “You are the only patient I have seen who keep on coming smiling and asks for one more round of chemotherapy!!” And she has gone through around 20 rounds of chemotherapy, and all have been miserably painful and unbearable for her. But what gave her this power?
I think it was because she knew her family was counting on her. Both of us brothers were still studying, and she wanted to see us achieve success in life. That is what she always told the doctors – “I am not dying now, before seeing my children grow up.” I am sure she would have given up far more easily if she wanted to get back healthy only for herself, as any cancer patient will testify that chemotherapy is even worse than dying. But she had a purpose larger than herself, and that made her victorious over cancer.
I have seen the same with myself when I was with InfoEdge in Noida leading a team of 14 people. Knowing that they were counting on me made me do things which I was neither willing nor capable of doing at that time. And that year is still one of the most humbling and learning experience of my life.
It is so easy to give up when you only think about yourself
When you are only worried about doing something for yourself, it is very hard to keep yourself motivated when you don’t see the expected results happening. We found it the most easy to give up on our promises to ourselves as it doesn’t seem ‘wrong’. That is why it is so hard to motivate ourself in the face of challenges and obstacles when we want something only for ourselves. It is so tough to take the tough decisions and keep going when we don’t have some bigger purpose to serve rather than just our own desires.
So the next time you find yourself dis-empowered, try to work out of a context which is bigger than yourself or what you want. The minute you stop focusing on yourself, all of your pity, self doubt and worry will melt away. You will find courage to deal with things, and a new found peace and satisfaction in your lives. You will do the hardest of tasks without getting tired. The more you think about yourself, the weaker you will become. The more you recognize that your life is serving a bigger purpose, the stronger you will become. And this holds true in all areas of life – family, work, business, etc.
And as I write this I realize that I have no such purpose left in my life bigger than myself.. and I know I need to find, or create one soon..