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ZIG ZIGLAR challenges the most common myths about getting and staying motivated

Posted: JANUARY 10, 2022
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Has anyone on your team ever complained to you about how hard it is to stay motivated? Do you ever find yourself struggling to stay pumped up? Let’s knock those myths right out of the way so you can start tackling even your toughest goals.

MYTH #1: Motivation can’t last.

Yes, I’ve heard it a hundred times over the years: “But Zig! Motivation is temporary!” I agree. So are bathing and eating. But if you do both of them on a regular basis you will live longer and smell better! It’s true that motivation gets you going but habit gets you there. Make motivation a habit and you’ll get there more quickly—and have more fun on the trip!

?Action Step: Put an appointment on your calendar each morning for five minutes to write down your goals for the day. You’ll accomplish more and feel better about what you’re doing.

MYTH #2: My life is just too tough.

When John Foppe was born he had no arms. His parents and his doctors had no idea what to do. Frankly, they were discouraged. How would this child grow up to do anything, even support himself?

The good news is that when John was just a toddler, sitting on his parents’ kitchen table he spotted a toothpick and reached over with his foot and picked it up with his toes. Eyeing the sugar bowl, he dipped that toothpick into the sugar and then put it in his mouth.

His parents were instantly astonished—and filled with hope. They believed if he could do that with his feet and toes, there would be many other things he would be able to do. They immediately started working with him and planning a future for him. They didn’t dwell on how tough his life would be. They chose to focus on the hope of how good and fulfilling his life could be.

Today John is happily married, travels around the world speaking, has written a book, is a portrait artist, has skied in Austria and drives his car. John proves that in any situation you can choose to work toward a hopeful future or wallow in the negative. Focus on what’s going right and you’ll discover all the motivation you need to keep moving toward your goals.

?Action Step: Grab a newspaper or magazine with inspiring stories of people who have overcome great obstacles. Cut out the articles and keep them nearby to encourage you when you feel overwhelmed.

MYTH #3: I don’t know what motivates me.

Different things motivate different people. In my judgement, love is the greatest motivator of all. When you see a single parent struggling for survival with a limited education, raising one or more children with an intense desire to do the right thing, you can rest assured that love is the driving motivation behind his or her efforts.

Many people are motivated and are moved into action by hearing an inspiring sermon or a highly effective directional program that shares with them how to live and accomplish more with their lives. Others are motivated to plan their work more carefully so they will get more done.

I am motivated by the people I have motivated. The letters and calls I receive, the personal testimonies of people who have been successful because they have followed the Biblically-based principles we teach, certainly encourage me and motivate me to keep on doing what I am doing. I was asked why I keep doing what I’m doing. The answer is I get sheer joy and pleasure out of encouraging other people.

?Action Step: Make a list of your top motivators and put them in an easily accessible place. When you feel discouraged, pull out your list and remind yourself why you do what you do.

MYTH #4: I’m well-educated. I don’t need “motivation” to excel.

Motivation gives you the “want to.” Training and education give you the “how to.” The combination produces the necessary creative ideas to be more effective in realizing your dream. Character, commitment, discipline and responsibility keep you going.

?Action Step: Make a list of 10 things you’ve learned in school or in training classes. Next to each item, write an example of how you can apply that each day to your business and personal life. At the bottom of the page, write “I Will Apply What I Learn!”

MYTH #5: Believing in myself, is all the encouragement I need.

Fact is, all of us thrive when we receive feedback from others—regardless of how self-confident we are.

The first two and a half years I was in sales were a desperate struggle for survival. I simply could not put it all together. Then I went to a meeting. When the training portion ended, a man named P. C. Merrell called me aside and told me he had been watching me for two and a half years. He told me that he had never “seen such a waste.” Needless to say, that got my attention. So I asked him what he meant. He responded, “I believe, Zig, you could be the national champion if you just believed in your-self and went to work on a regular schedule. You could truly be a great one in this company, perhaps even become an executive if you chose to do so some day.” I don’t need to tell you that I was motivated. That year I finished #2 in the national sales force of 7,000—and received a significant promotion!

?Action Step: Make a list of three people in your life who you could ask to encourage you. Tell them that you need an “accountability partner” to encourage you to stay positive and keep moving in the right direction.

MYTH #6: I can use motivation to get others to do what I want.

Motivation is a tool. When used improperly, motivation can turn into manipulation.

With motivation your interest is in doing something for others. With manipulation you try to maneuver people into doing things for your benefit. One is highly desirable; the other is truly undesirable.

? Action Step: Write down your answers to these questions: Can you think of a time when you may have let motivation turn into manipulation? How could you have avoided that?