Here is the last of three guest posts that Dawn Pine wrote for us, at my request. Our good friend over in Israel really delivered some great stuff over the past week to help us all find inner motivation and drive. Here, The Male Brain explains how to light your inner fire so that you can get out there and start CRUSHING already. As always, Dawn has my deep gratitude for his excellent contributions and continued help with my work.
Good, better, best. Never let it rest. ‘Til your good is better and your better is best.— Attributed to St. Jerome
In the last case study, I referred to my male friend to show how fear can cripple your ability to improve yourself. And I showed you how to get over that problem with clear actionable advice. Always look at the upside, ask “What’s In It For Me?”, and start by recognising that YOU are your own biggest problem.
But this time I’ll use a female example. This is one of the girls that I date in my real life. She comes from an ultra-conservative family, but has become secular. She is of lower socio-economic status than my own, and has worked in various administrative roles. Let’s see how she gets in her own way so that you can understand how to get yourself motivated and light your own inner fire.
“If I Had Your Parents, I’d Be a Lawyer By Now”
This is something she tells me every few months. Her claim is that her upbringing and life path were a critical factor in her “not fulfilling her potential”. There is some truth to that, but sometimes I try to point her to the fact that she hasn’t done anything to change it. I know, I know, arguing with a girl about her life choices is like pissing in the wind – you just get piss all over yourself even if you are relieved.
There are a lot of people, starting in a low socio-economic class, who become lawyers – and many become very successful ones. When I point this out to her, her claim is “Well, I can’t afford to learn now, can I?“. I tell her that she can learn, and then she says that she can’t afford tuition. So I suggest she go on Coursera, or even just take books from the library. Guess what happens? “The full doesn’t understand the hungry” she claims.
Actually, I do understand the “hungry”. I understand that she wants to live in Fantasy Land. That is because, if she made the effort and failed, her fragile ego would crash. Hell, I suggested she brush up on her English. Guess what? She thought it was a good idea – but did nothing about it.
Needless to say that she is good in bed, but not a wife material. She is still in administrative positions and will always be on the brinks of poverty (unless she secures a man, and that’s not going to happen as long as she dates me – but that is a different story). She is extremely feminine, and that is part of her charm.
What’s Stopping Her?
Well, she is, in a word, LAZY. She is lazy about her career, and she is no exception among many Gen-Xers and Millennials. The idea that one does not need to invest in the work place, beyond the work time, is very common. It is less common for high-tech professions but reigns supreme elsewhere.
She made herself a victim of the “if only someone gave me a chance!!!” mindset and mentality. In other words, she thinks that she is a special snowflake whose failures in life are due to other people, not herself. My friend, you and I know well that you are not “given a chance“, but that you should “take the chance“. I may be one of the “fortunate ones” but reaching where I am meant I had to take the chances. I had to take risks, gamble with chances, and face the consequences of my decisions.
Also: actions speak louder than words. One time I asked her if she asked about the actual cost of tuition and scholarship. Completely unsurprisingly, she didn’t know anything about it. Let’s say that I am interested in studying for a degree. Then I will run a simple internet search that will get me data in a few minutes. I will then put the data in a spreadsheet and run comparisons to get the best possible deal for myself. Since she couldn’t be bothered, I understand that she is not really into it.
The lesson here is very, very simple. If you want to motivate yourself – first, BE ABSOLUTELY HONEST WITH YOURSELF. Admit to yourself whether or not you actually want something. If you do, you will act in accordance with your desire. If you don’t, nothing and no one can motivate you to get it.
Conclusion – How to Light Your Inner Fire
What if you don’t see the light, or don’t feel the heat? I guess you won’t change. You don’t feel the need to do so, or do anything about it. My girl is a good example – she does not see the light and her own solipsism prevents her from doing something. Since I know she has a lot of free time, and does nothing useful, I conclude that she does not want to improve.
And why should she? The WIIFM is far away (4 years school and additional 2 as intern) the effort and pain is near (money and time wise) and the option to fail may doom her dream forever.
Going back to my original insights – if you do not acknowledge the problem, your understanding of WIIFM is poor and distant, and your worst-case outcome is close at hand, then why would you change? Your problem is that not thinking long term makes you very unhappy – in the long run.
So, putting it all together:
- Focus on long-term rewards, but keep yourself motivated with short-term ones;
- Always ask WIIFM;
- Doing something NOW is better than doing the right thing after it’s too late;
- CRUSH your laziness through ruthless and absolute self-honesty;
Follow these basic principles, and your life WILL get better.