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Motivating yourself when you feel "it's too late"

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  • Motivating yourself when you feel "it's too late"

    I successfully managed a career after college. For a variety of reasons, I'm now starting over. From scratch. In many respects, and certainly financially. As a writer and journalist, my mind is inherently built to "spin," generating countless loops -- unfortunately, the majorty of these loops have increasingly remained open, and very, very few of them have come to fruition. I spent an entire year renting "creative" office space where I developed and charted and graphed entrepreneurial notions at a dizzying pace never once identifying for any of them a reasonable "next action." It was a form of madness not because the ideas were inherently bad at all, but because I never followed through on any one of them. I didn't earn one cent of income that entire year. So, I'm trying to make it through David's book which I actually bought a year ago but never read through. I have this internal resistance to reading it! I'm afraid to see how wrong I've been in how I've approached life and work. It is painful to see how far afield one has been, kind of like dieing of thirst in the desert while an oasis flows just a few feet out of view. (I don't mean to be hyperbolically effusive about GTD in particular but rather am referring to any insights one gleans from any source which can potentially enhance one's life.) How does one stay motivated to change when the ego so steadfastly wants to avoid change, avoid admitting its errors in habit and behavior? What does one say in the moment when that inner critic is saying, "Don't! It's too late! Keep as you were!"

  • #2
    My two sense

    I would say two things put a big bold sign where you can see that says IT'S NEVER TOO LATE! and then identify only on next action item on one project and do it. Baby steps can make you want to take on more. Don't get overwhelmd.

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    • #3
      Vil:
      You have already identified the issue, but I suggest you view it not as a problem but as a learning & growth opportunity. As long as we live we learn, but growth only comes from applying that learning to real life.

      For most of us, what we refer to as "EGO" is actually nothing more than an immature child sitting somewhere in our psyche trying to get its way in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. So why not ask yourself "Am I going to surrender my future to a 6-year-old, or am I going to follow my intelligence, common sense & God-given abilities to move on?"

      This approach to admitting mistakes, embracing change, and opening the door to progress makes much more sense. I know - I've been in the same place you are right now.

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      • #4
        encouragement

        I think we've all been there at some point--and to some degree. For me, I've always found that it's hardest just to start again, but that once I do, I make enormous progress. Congratulations for realizing what the obstacles are, and good luck on taking the next steps.

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        • #5
          Another thought on this matter of life's ups & downs:

          "Only the mediocre are always at their best"...
          Jean Giradoux (1882-1944)

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          • #6
            Re: Motivating yourself when you feel "it's too late&qu

            Originally posted by Vilmosz
            What does one say in the moment when that inner critic is saying, "Don't! It's too late! Keep as you were!"
            I forget who said "If we keep going the way we are headed, we are liable to get there." You can't change the past; you can only seize the day.

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            • #7
              Re: Motivating yourself when you feel "it's too late&qu

              Originally posted by Vilmosz
              "Don't! It's too late! Keep as you were!"
              Vilmosz,

              You've had a failure. So what?

              The smartest, most creative man I ever worked for once told me that the problem was not failure. The problem was not failing fast enough. If we are not failing often, we are not trying nearly enough interesting ideas to find the "big success" that we all hope for.

              Why don't we fail fast enough? We try things, fail and keep doing them to satisfy our egos, which seems to be your problem. Or we fall in love with an idea that is beautiful but flawed and keep trying to force it to work. Or we don't even start because we are afraid. In the end though, our true failure is in not realizing that we cannot succeed without failing, so we should get on with it. The successes will happen somewhere among the failures.

              This does not mean we should just give up on things if they get hard, but that when it becomes obvious that something was a mistake, we should change direction.

              If you think I am wrong, listen. While I am not a wealthy man, I have a healthy, successful career as a scientist even though I've failed a lot. I failed my PhD qualifying exams the first time around (both written and oral), but I passed with good scores in the end because I sat down, figured out what was wrong with my study strategy, and changed course. Another time, I chose the wrong boss, which cost me close to twenty thousand dollars to fix, but I ran while I still had a career left. Moreover, in the 20-year course of my career, I can barely think of three experiments that worked on the first try.

              Those were all failures. They were painful. They were VERY painful. In the end though, I still have a career and work I love because I recognized that I had failed and changed what I was doing as fast as possible. If I had let my ego get in the way, or had let myself get trapped into continuing to fail because I was afraid to change, I am certain that my career would have ended years ago.

              So my message again is to fail faster.

              David

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              • #8
                One next action at a time

                When I wrote this

                http://www.davidco.com/coaches_corne...article39.html


                I was doing so in response to some questions I heard during a seminar I presented. When things bet big, weird, ambiguous and/or complex, I personally turn to the "next action methodology."

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                • #9
                  If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always had.
                  You do have to change something to get something different. But don't beat yourself up for spending time in creative thinking. It will have had an effect already that you can't imagine yet.
                  Your story sounds like mine. but I finally got old enough to realize that if I didn't try something new, crazy and impossible NOW, I never would. I did not want to reach the end of my life, regretting I had not tried. I don't regret failures, only the fear of trying.
                  So I make a habit of going for the impossible, and if I fail, so what? I tried. All they can do is say NO. And I've had plenty of those.
                  But guess what.... I tried for vet school in my forties...and made it. I applied for a job I was wildly unqualified for, and got it. I don't feel I am right for this job...but they just gave me a raise.
                  Don't let the "shoulda/woulda/coulda" voices run your life. If something appeals to you, go for it. Now. Don't wait. It gets to be addictive, and you soon lose your fear of failing - heck, that's just someone else's fenced-in limited view of life, not yours. Toss it out and move on to the next crazy idea on your list.

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                  • #10
                    Trying new things

                    Your story sounds like mine. but I finally got old enough to realize that if I didn't try something new, crazy and impossible NOW, I never would. I did not want to reach the end of my life, regretting I had not tried. I don't regret failures, only the fear of trying.
                    Wow, I read this and found myself "sitting up" a little bit taller. For quite some time, I've gravitated toward the "weird" people. How did you do that? What have you seen? Where have you been? What happened then?

                    These kinds of questions always give me new ideas, and fresh perspectives. Someone asked me on Sunday night, "Why would you want to do a 1/2 Ironman triathlon?" My answer (having completed one that afternoon): "Because it's something I've never done before."

                    I know I'll use that experience, not the physical effort, but the reference point of doing something for the first time.

                    I remember when I delivered my First Getting Things Done seminar in August, 2000. After the two days of learning (and boy let me tell you there was learning!) a friend said, "Well Jason, you'll never have to do your first seminar again!" Now, years later, and over 150 seminars done, I can say each day is an opportunity to develop, try something new, and see things in different ways...

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