Today’s post is an extract from a book I am currently writing and I wanted to share some of the content here with you.
Working at something new that is yet to be profitable can get very hard when the hours turn to days and the days turn to weeks and those weeks drag into months. The longer you go without money can really make life desperate and very hard.
It is at that point when motivation starts to wean and a mixture of apathy and procrastination kicks in so today I am going to discuss a few methods to help keep you positive and motivated while you are building a business online.
I don’t know if you were aware of this but the mood of a person is a serious factor in success. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. We have reality TV shows (Think Jeremy Kyle & Jerry Springer) full of chronically depressed and unhappy people with a multitude of anxiety complexes living daily dramas and then we have TV talk shows interviewing seriously wealthy and successful people who always seem happy and grateful.
The fact that mood plays an incredible part in success is there staring right back at us every day. All the religions of the past told us to be grateful, to be happy and to praise everything in creation. A Christian hymn we used to sing at primary school is a great example, it wanted us to be grateful for and praise … ‘All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small’
Being happy in life does actually open doors for us in many different ways, being happy keeps us in a positive mind set which keeps us motivated and moving forward but it also attracts people to us. No one likes to spend time with unhappy and miserable people but they love to be around fun and happy people. (Within reason, Jim Carrey could be annoying after a day! :-))
If you are self-employed and running a business your mood and the way you interact with people can often have the same effect if not more on future repeat custom than the quality of your work.
“The Happiest People Don’t Have The Best Of Everything, They Just Make The Best Of Everything”
When life is hard and you are in debt for example, burying your head and making yourself depressed about the situation is not going to help. I know it is often the first thing people do, no one wants or likes to be poor or in debt but…
1) The situation will not change by becoming depressed and low.
2) It makes matters worse because you will find it hard to work when depressed and that means you earn less and the situation deepens.
We need to make ourselves happy and stay happy. I know it is human nature to respond to bad news by becoming low emotionally however I do believe we as a society have learned to stay depressed far longer than what is good for us.
We watch TV soaps and dramas where people do not react and deal with situations they over react and crash. If they didn’t it wouldn’t make interesting or compelling TV but most people are unaware that watching this stuff over many years has a drip drip effect on our minds and we start to learn this behaviour and do it ourselves.
This is very dangerous. I believe guilt is used more as a learned emotion than a genuine one, I am not saying that it isn’t a real feeling or that it is wrong to feel it at times but we have been taught to feel guilty for years by Church and society over things we really shouldn’t feel bad about.
Guilt, shame and depression are often self-imposed prisons we put ourselves in when we believe we have done something our peers and society would deem bad. Often this is not the case.
A bit like the days where left handed people were considered unholy and were made to feel bad and then forced to use their right hands even though it was unnatural. My dad was taught to use his right hand at school even though he was left handed and still today that left handedness is prominent, it is who he is.
Lost in Translation
Did you know? When the bible was first being translated in to English from the original Hebrew texts the word ‘Hell’ had to be invented as there was no word in the English language to cover what was being explained. The original meaning of ‘Hell’ is ‘to be walled in’ and this ‘walling in’ was referring to a self-imposed prison of depression and misery, your own personal ‘Hell on Earth’
Also you might like to know that origins of the ‘sin of sloth’ is not about people being lazy but actually a sin of wallowing in apathy and misery caused by…? Yes you guessed it… long bouts of self-imposed shame, depression and guilt. The truth is people should be happy and avoid misery at all costs as it destroys a person’s motivation and life.
Guilt, shame and self-pity makes people depressed which leads to apathy and procrastination or at least appear it which is often seen as lazy hence why today the sin of Sloth has become the sin of laziness.
A living ‘Hell’ is the result of people living in ‘the sin of sloth’! Isn’t that interesting?
When you strip away all of the crap that has been accumulated over the years by hate and misunderstanding you will see that all the major religions teach happiness, love and respect. They talk about singing & dancing, celebrating life, praising everything and each day to practice gratitude for the things you have and want.
Why do they do this? Because they knew that being miserable and depressed resulted in apathy, procrastination and doing nothing. Singing, dancing, being grateful and praising life which kept people happy and in a positive mind set meant they could go forward in life and live wonderful lives.
So you see living a happy and positive life is very important for your success, don’t believe me, watch the Jeremy Kyle show for a week (without judging) and look at the lives of those who moan a lot, who do not take responsibility of their actions or of their own happiness and who blame everyone and everything else for their problems. Their lives suck because of the moods they live in and the actions they take and as we know mood drives actions.
Try and work when you feel angry, sad or depressed, it can be very hard. Working when we are in a bad mood can lead to making big mistakes, losing your temper resulting in throwing and breaking things or simply just walking away. If things are really bad, depression and apathy sets in and you might not even want to go to work.
Getting out of bed could seem like hard work and hiding under the duvet is the only appealing option. This will only make matters worse, especially if your problems are debt related.
When You Need It It’s Hard, When You Don’t It’s Easy
I remember being on a building site talking with a bricklayer about how cruel it was that it was easier to earn money when you didn’t need it than trying to earn it when you did.
When you go to work and do a full days graft and the money you earn is just going to be swallowed up on debt repayments or living costs with no big visual improvement of the situation or any spare funds left for fun then it is very disheartening. It can be very easy to give up and ‘not bother’.
Whereas when you are flush, life is good and you have all of your living costs already covered earning money when you do not need it is a doddle. Working like this has a very calming and positive effect on the mind and it is those feelings that people need to cultivate as often as they can to help deal with issues and problems.
It isn’t really the money or lack of it that causes motivation or apathy but the feeling of security and being happy. Happiness and feelings of security do not come from situations but from deep within us by from the habitual way we think.
This is what most people do not realise, we have forgotten that WE create our feelings and situations do not but because of the reliant on TV, books and dramas in general we have learned to allow situations to dictate our feelings and reactions. In many ways we now have a belief of what reactions and feelings go with specific dramas and situations thanks to television.
Many people live each day as if they were a character in a soap opera like Eastenders or Coronation Street.
We work better when we are happy and in a positive good mood. The legendary copywriter Ted Nicholas would not sit down and write anything until he had shifted his mood into a positive one. He would stand alone in a room and shout ‘I Feel Terrific’ getting louder each time until he was shouting at the top of his voice. He would often startle the postman and make himself laugh.
Some people will start the day watching a mind movie. I have a mind movie that I watch regularly to help lift my mood. A mind movie has a string of positive quotes, inspirational and uplifting images with a piece of music playing that puts the person in a good mood.
Some people prefer to put on their favourite music and dance for 10 minutes or more to get them into that happy state. You might not be able to dance while driving or sat in a busy office but you can close your eyes and put on some headphones during a break time and run a visualisation of happy images or memories that keep you positive.
The idea is to fill your mind with pleasing and happy thoughts and ignore all distractions. You need to forget the problems at home and focus only on the tasks in front of you and the day ahead. It is called being Mindful in Zen Buddhism.
If your bank account is low or you are struggling to pay off debts, your mind will be full of worrying thoughts and a lot of time and energy will be wasted on thinking about the situation you are currently in.
No matter how much you worry or think about it, the situation or your bank account will not change in the next 8 hours. Thinking, focusing and worrying about the situation will not and never will change it.
In fact it can and will have the opposite effect to what you are wanting. Worrying and becoming depressed about it will lead you to more apathy and procrastination. It will rob you of your motivation and zest resulting in thoughts like ‘I don’t care anymore’ or ‘It won’t make much difference so I won’t bother’ making your situation worse.
Not only will it make you more depressed and apathetic it will mean you do less and earn less spiralling your problems further. So why allow yourself to become depressed over events and situations? It will not benefit you at all, it won’t help and as we can see it can make matters worse.
Some people say they need to become low and depressed for them to really realise that they are in a mess and that they need to ‘pull their socks up’ and that might be true to a degree but you do need to keep your thoughts and emotions in check. Getting real and serious about your situation is important but battering yourself and keeping yourself locked down in misery and depression is very dangerous.
Every day we are bombarded with soap operas and dramas on TV where the characters get embroiled in some major drama and often over react. They have to otherwise the shows would be dull and no one would watch them.
The problem is that every time we watch a show where people over react to situations it has a drip drip water torture effect on our minds and we slowly learn these new ways of behaving. This is very subtle and I am not suggesting we will end up copying the more severe actions like the killers on the show, that behaviour is very shocking and we can differentiate between that and stop ourselves but the rest is subtle and usually associated to situations WE EVERYDAY folk may experience like break ups and debt.
Over time we learn new habits and before we know it we start to turn the smallest mole hills into mountains, imagine how we would behave when we are faced with the bigger issues that life throws at us. It is dangerous to over react to situations, we need to accept them and then vow to keep happy and work through them or with them as best as we can.
The Happiness Vibration
Being happy increases the frequency of the body’s vibrations and happy thoughts also have a higher frequency too and as science tells us, when two things have the same or similar frequency they are attracted towards each other.
With Einstein telling us that everything in the Universe is made from Energy; that means EVERYTHING around us including the good and the bad. All energy is moving which means it has a frequency and we attract whatever is in the same vibrational frequency we are in.
Energy varies in the frequency so we attract some things and others we don’t, in order to get the better things in life we MUST make sure we are vibrating at the highest possible frequency which is happiness and calmness.
This is why all the major religions in their original fundamental teachings talk about prayer, meditation, praise, gratefulness, singing and dancing because these things raise up our spirits and increase our frequencies to match those that are good in this world.
Sorry the pseudo-science has crept in but it is all important, to go forward in life we must be happy for more reasons than just that it feels good. We do more when we are happy and the more we do the better and quicker our lives will change. Being happy and doing good brings back more happiness and more good to us.
This is my motto which I often chant when I meditate too, I have also been known to sing it 🙂
“The More I do, The Better The Results, The Quicker I Succeed, The Faster I Retire”
Ok so we know that it is important to be happy but what can we do when life situations are hard and we need picking up.
Here are 9 great methods people use to keep happy, to keep their motivation levels up and just to prevent themselves become too down or depressed.
1. Don’t Go To Bed Angry. This can help you sleep well, there is no need to go to bed angry or dwell on the things that went wrong that day, instead run through the good things that happened and the good you did that day and celebrate them in your mind.
If something is bothering you and it is hard to let it go, try imagining that it ended differently. Imagine doing the things that would have made it go the way you wanted then let it go.
2. Make A Fool Of Yourself! Yes seriously this is a good one, it will bring you out of your shell and comfort zone. Find a quiet room or somewhere where no one will hear you and start your day by shouting ‘I FEEL GREAT’ several times and smile.
Really force the smile as far across your face as you can and shout as loud as possible, you will feel ridiculous but that will make you come out of your comfort zone and it will also make you laugh resulting in happy feelings coming to the fore.
The idea is to really shout and let yourself go to come out of your comfort zone and feel ridiculous and foolish in a controlled manner. You cannot be embarrassed when there is no one to see you!
Why not make some loud and strange sounds while incorporating a funny dance? This is similar to method No 3 but unlike choosing a happy song to sing along to you choose something real crazy as we are wanting to make a fool of ourselves to bring forth laughter and good feelings.
You might want to try singing at the top of your voice and dancing around the room to this classic 1963 song by the Trashmen. Fans of Family Guy will know this one. 🙂
3. Listen To Your Favourite Happy Music. Choose your favourite music which makes you feel good, crank it up if you can and lose yourself in it. If you are alone, let your hair down and dance around like a loon for a few minutes.
Seriously let yourself go and go mental, who cares, no one can see you and if they can, does it matter? If you make them smile too that’s even better, spread the happiness. Music and dancing is a great way to lift your spirits.
4. Laugh Out Loud! You cannot beat a real belly laugh if you are struggling to keep happy. Instead of watching the depressing news in the morning why not watch some comedy instead? Watching something that you know will make you laugh will help raise your spirits. If you are unable to watch TV in the morning you can make yourself laugh by doing a forced false laugh. Yes seriously!
I have done this a few times and believe me when I say doing a false laugh is so strange that it is hilarious, the great thing about this is that you can do it in a parked car or in a quiet room. Whenever I do a false laugh I always end up really laughing at myself and what I am doing.
It is so strange you feel a bit of a fool but it is that foolishness that really makes me laugh… eventually. Go on try it, you know you want to 🙂
5. Be Graceful. Sometimes no matter how hard you try you can just be in a terrible mood. This could be a biological response to lack of sleep, bad food or even a bodily reaction to a prolonged depressive state you might have let yourself get into.
You can simply wake up with it one day and not understand why, sometimes they just happen.
These moods can be harder to shift but what is important here is knowledge. Know that this is a mood and that it will shift over time. It might happen on its own or you might shift it by trying out these methods but when you are in one of these moods it pays to be graceful.
The mood will shift just don’t focus on it too much as that will just add fuel to the fire. I have a mood motto…
‘When happy be grateful, when unhappy be graceful’
Trust me when I say that my motto has kept me out of trouble by stopping me becoming snappy and shouty which can escalate problems.
This all comes down to knowledge, you need to be the observer of your mood, you see you are in one but you do not focus on it and you do not allow it to fester or make you reactional. Try your best to be graceful when in these types of moods.
6. Celebrate Your Wins & Successes. When something goes right in your work or life, no matter how little it is, celebrate it. I am not talking about going out for a big meal or a full on ‘night out on the town’; it doesn’t need to be a big celebration. Instead you just need to do a small celebration like doing a quick victory dance (I have a money dance apparently) or you can throw your arms in the air and say something like ‘YES!’ or ‘Thank You’ or even ‘I am having that!’
Maybe sit down with a big mug of coffee or tea and just enjoy the feeling of something going right, it doesn’t matter what you do just take it in, celebrate it and be grateful.
7. Be Grateful & Say Thank You. This is a great mood shifter; studies have shown that people who are more grateful than others are generally happier and more successful. Unfortunately we live in a world of negativity where people, it seems, are more focused on what they do not have or what is wrong with their lives which leads to apathy and depression.
Gratitude is very powerful on the mind, whereas constant moaning and complaining can lead to depression and apathy, being grateful for what you have around you can lift your spirits up and make you happy and motivated to do more.
We can often take things for granted, we suffer from things like PC rage when our computer runs slow or we get angry when the shower is cold but what would life be like without them?
Imagine a life with no hot water, or clean drinking water or heating. We can go weeks where things run smoothly and we have access to great tools and opportunities but we never say thank but when the day it ‘fails’ or ‘plays up’ what do we do? We overreact and moan and groan becoming depressed and annoyed. I know it is not nice when these things happen but it is nice when things run smoothly which is most of the time.
When you stop and think about the things you actually have and the things they do for you each day, you can become very humbled and grateful. Saying thank you for these things can have a very powerful effect on your spirit and motivation.
Comparing yourself to others can lead to feelings of not having enough which is dangerous, David Beckham may have more money than me and life would be easier if I had more but I do have enough for my bills, living costs and occasional holidays. I am not without.
I have clean drinking water, I have hot and cold water for cleaning myself, clothes and pots.
I have a kitchen with electricity and gas where I can cook food and I have cupboards full of healthy and tasty food.
I have a sturdy house for shelter, I have people who love me, I have access to the internet and technology that allows me to do stuff that was not possible ten years ago.
For all of that I am grateful and I say thank you.
Only last night I watched a documentary about squatters and townships in South Africa, for me to not be grateful for the things I have is an insult to those who really do not have anything.
I have a lot to be grateful for and for that I say thank you.
8. Meditate. When you mention meditation people run scared thinking it has religious connotations and that they have to become very spiritual or spend hours trying to become some Jedi style master with special mind powers. This is not true at all; meditation was used by many religions mainly because it was a tool to help keep people calm, healthy, happy and focused. More importantly it worked.
Meditation is all about the calming of the mind and keeping it focused on one thing at a time. Meditation is the tool used to train the mind to live in Mindfulness as it is called in Zen Buddhism. A mind full of thoughts and worries is a mind not focused or at peace. It is easily distracted and it can be damaging to a person’s happiness and progress.
Meditation has many great benefits too; the quieting of the mind can bring forth great ideas and help solve problems because your mind is not jumping from one thought to another.
Meditation is the only state where the brain has both Beta and Alpha waves working together meaning you are active and yet resting. Usually the brain has one wave working when awake and the other when asleep, during meditation both are present and this is good for your mind and health.
Picture Source: PollyNoble.com
Meditation can lower blood pressure, it can be good for people with heart problems as it slows down and calms the heart rate also it is great for people with depression and anxiety.
There are many different ways to meditate, the most popular one is to sit quietly with your eyes closed while you focus on your breathing or repeating a mantra like “The More I do, The Better The Results, The Quicker I Succeed, The Faster I Retire” (one of mine)
Many people do not realise that past times like singing, knitting and painting are also forms of meditation. Work can also be classed as a meditation when you get in ‘the zone’ and all other thoughts and distractions have dissolved away leaving you just purely focused on the task at hand. Being in ‘the zone’ is a state of Mindfulness
The idea of meditation is to create a state of Mindfulness by clearing the mind of all thoughts and distractions. We live in a very fast society with so much distraction around us from our work computers connected to the internet, our smart phones also connected to the internet, satellite TV and radio. We hear bings and bongs going off everywhere as we receive emails, texts, Tweets and notifications on social media. Is it surprising we are easily mentally distracted?
Trying to have a quiet mind without distraction is very difficult for most people, our busy distracted lives of flipping from here to there is mirrored in our minds with our thoughts. If you find it hard to quieten the mind it is advised that you start by sitting for a few minutes in a comfortable chair counting your breath as it goes in and counting it as it goes out again.
This helps focus your mind on something and try to block out other thoughts taking your attention away. Breathe in and count to 5 or 6, when you have taken in enough air (do not force yourself to take in more) breathe out and count again to 5 or 6.
If you can only count to 3 or 4 then do that, that is good, do whatever you are comfortable with. Meditation is a tool to enjoy not a skill that must be mastered in a set way. To think that is adding pressure to you and is damaging to your progress.
9. Watch A Mind Movie. A mind movie is a short film which includes a series of positive and uplifting affirmations, photos that are of things you would like to achieve, places you want to visit and of people you love or of times that have happy memories.
These images and affirmations are shown in a slide show type of film with a piece of uplifting music that generates an emotional response. The film should have you feeling great.
A short example of my mind movie.
Mind movies are pretty simple to create, simply choose your favourite piece of music that makes you happy and your happiest photos then put them together using free software that you will find on your computer. You then need to watch your mind movie every day as often as you can.
Once in the morning and once at night is generally recommend and over time those images, affirmations and feelings will start to change the way you feel and think into a more prolonged positive state.
Two opposing thoughts cannot live together for long in the same moment in space or time. You can be having happy thoughts when a sad thought pops up in your mind but it cannot take hold if you see it then ignore it in favour of focusing on your happy thoughts.
Only when you focus on it more and allow the good thoughts and feelings to slip can the sadness take root. Both cannot live for long side by side, one has to replace the other and it is up to you to become the observer and decide which ones you allow to take hold.
I won’t say it is easy, I still find it hard at times. I have 40 years of habit to fight against but with knowledge and understanding I can often take control of my emotions and thoughts.
Sadness, worry, anxiety and depression cannot take root in a mind that is busy being focused on a project at hand. When you are focused on something fully you will be left calm and in a natural state of being happy. It is up to you to decide which way you go.
I will leave you with this thought; unhappiness breeds depression and apathy whereas happiness breeds calmness and focus. One robs you off motivation and productivity and the other increases motivation and productivity giving you a greater chance of success in life. Which would you prefer?