Demotivated at Work? Consider the Following

What motivates you to continue on your current path? I consider, when asking this question, the 70% of U.S. employees who are disengaged at work. Or, put another way, for 70% of Americans, their job is just a paycheck. That is problematic on a variety of levels. “When did companies decide employee engagement wasn’t important?” one might wonder. However, those 70% of Americans may be equally to blame if they are staying in jobs that do not motivate and energize them in some way. This brings me back to my original question. If you are one of those 70%, why do you continue? Continue reading

Focus to Finish; Focus to Start

When I think about the people with whom I’ve crossed paths, two specific, general archetypes emerge regarding how people approach projects. At the risk of this sounding like a “two kinds of people” generalization, it seems to me that one can cleanly divide people into those who have trouble starting and those who have trouble finishing. Both of these people bring value in their approaches, of course, but too often we think of the “trouble” as a weakness. However, perhaps it is simply part and parcel of their strengths. Continue reading

Happy Independence Day

Two hundred forty years. That is how long the United States has considered itself independent of Great Britain. One might say that two hundred forty years ago today marks the signing of the original Brexit, though in truth I see the two situations as too different to make the comparison. At least, it does not seem likely that the Brexit will start a bloody and protracted war and end with Great Britain rebuilding their entire political landscape from scratch. Continue reading

Goal-Setting

Goals. I talk a lot about them, and pretty much every motivational speaker, writer, and thinker that I have ever come across has said that they are absolutely essential to intentional living. They have to have certain qualities to qualify (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic*, and timely), and of course they must be our own goals in order to have any emotional traction. However, there is one question that I feel does not quite get stressed enough in these discussions. How does one know what one wants? Continue reading

Mental Bandwidth

It has been a crazy couple of weeks, and it promises to be a crazy couple more. I once heard someone note that “life”—by which they essentially meant the stresses thereof—tends to happen in waves. It makes a certain intuitive sense because I don’t know that I’ve ever been in a steady state of elevated stress for more than several months at a time. I happen to be in the midst of one of those several month stretches. Continue reading

How Statistical Analysis Can Ruin Your Life

I remember having conversations with college freshmen and college aspirants while I was teaching and tutoring in Ohio. Inevitably, the conversation would begin with what their major was. Now, I’m not one to be content with knowing simply what a person has decided to dedicate four years of their life to studying. So my first question to these college aspirants and freshmen was always something to the effect of, “Why did you choose that major?” Continue reading

What’s My Motivation?

For the past couple of days, I have been troubled with the question of “why.” “Why” is a powerful question, and a difficult question, and an important question. It’s the last question in the basic “five W’s” of journalism, and it’s the question that often takes the most space in a given article.

“Why” is the most interesting part of any event, service, product, or person. Why does he do what he does? That is the question that most authors attempt to answer on behalf of their main characters. What they are doing is somewhat interesting insofar as it forms the plot elements, but without a notion of purpose, it all feels dead. Show me a movie where none of the characters seem to understand what their purpose in “life” is, and I’ll show you a bad movie.

People become interesting when they have goals, in other words. They become even more interesting when they understand why they have those goals.

So, why do you do what you do? Is it for the money? If it’s for the money, what do you aim to do with that money? Mere survival is a depressing story, so then the question is, what can you do that allows you more than that? Why would you want to do something more than merely survive? I don’t know about you, but mere survival isn’t enough of a “why” for me to do much of anything. Obviously, there are moments in any life where the need to survive is going to trump other drives, but those moments should be rendered as temporary as possible. That’s probably the basest drive in humankind—the drive away from mere survival. We like shiny things. Continue reading