The Surprising Contradiction of Motivation

Motivation comes in many different forms. If you’re like me, when I’m stuck in a rut or just need a pick me up, I will go to YouTube for inspirational videos or look at Pinterest for some motivation. If you’re like me, you’ve also probably found yourself digging around for motivation for hours behind your computer screen. Seems a little counter-productive right?

We all need to find our own motivation. That means getting away from our computer (unless you are reading my blog.. then by all means, carry on). Most motivational posters and quotes are contradictory these days anyways. Take a look at these for example:

Good Things Come to Those Who Work     Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

 

tumblr_mav0q8XxAD1qey5neo1_500   10-motivational-quotes-kick-start--large-msg-134307587259

 

life-offers-second-chance-tomorrow-quote-beautiful-picture-pics     quote-best-motivational-quotes-photos-hd-hq-for-1016830

 

Screen-Shot-2012-05-26-at-1_12_03-PM     397984_555005744523019_2075564838_n

See, now aren’t you feeling conflicted?

These are just a few examples. The point is.. for every motivational quote there is an equal and opposite motivation quote it seems like. We have to find out how to motivate ourselves with our own advice. We are the best indicator of what works for us and what doesn’t.

Happy Thursday Everyone!

How to Know When It’s Okay to Quit

We were always raised to “try our best” and not to be a “quitter.” Well, society, thanks for setting us up for failure with your terrible advice.

It’s OKAY to quit.

Many of us spend our time trying to overcome quitting on a day to day basis. I’m not saying you should go out and quit your job, school, marriage, kids, etc. But there are some situations in which it’s best to quit and move on. I have outlined some of these circumstances when you should just raise up the white flag.

Skills (or lack thereof) and Talents:

“You can do anything you put your mind to.” —– Wrong.

I, for one, could never be an Olympic sprinter. For those of you who have seen me run, you know my legs don’t work that way. I could never be a flame thrower. Sure I could try and try and maybe, just maybe, I could get good at it one day. But am I going to keep trying knowing my lack of coordination? No. I don’t particularly think I would like being set on fire. Obviously these are very dramatic examples, but the same applies to sports, singing, acting, and even day to day activity. I can understand trying to stick with certain activities as a child, as you’re still developing mentally and physically. But I don’t think there are any 8-year-old little league players reading this blog. So for YOU, if you are miserable doing something that you are god awful at, and it is getting you no where, just quit. Move on to something that will be a more appropriate use of your time, and much more fulfilling.

Your Job:

Many people (myself included in this category) have been afraid to quit their job for a better one, or even look for new opportunities, because they are afraid of disappointing their current boss. You have become a valuable asset to them, and they spent time and money training you. You think, “What would they do without me?” I’ve learned after moving a couple different jobs for new opportunities that when it comes down to it, you boss does not care about you. At the end of the day, they need to run a business. They WILL replace you. If you can better yourself by leaving for a new opportunity… Do it. Don’t hesitate. No one ever got anywhere by standing still.

Your relationship:

When you have a commitment to someone, usually there is a lot invested in it. Sometimes people get married just because they have a joint loan payment, or they bought a puppy together. They get sucked into this world that they don’t want to be in. It’s no shock that divorce rates are sky rocketed. If some couples just quit on each other before they get married, the world would be a much happier place. Ya dig?  Relationships aren’t meant to be easy, and you shouldn’t give up on “the one” if things are a little rocky. But if you know deep down that they are not right for you… Welllllllp, see ya later.

Life isn’t made to be easy, and you shouldn’t quit every time something get’s tough. But be realistic, have a back up plan if you are determined to stay with your flame throwing or other far-fetched passion, and always be true to who you are (not who everyone else wants you to be).

“Quitting law school was the most difficult decision of my life. But I felt this great relief that this is my life and I can do what I want with it” – Carly Fiorina

The 10 Worst Things About Going to the Gym

I’ve made a conscious effort to get back in the gym, and I’ve been going for quite some time now (the past 2 days). Most blogs and websites seem to talk about how great the gym is and all of the wonderful things you can do there. They have you believing that you are going to see sunshine and rainbows as soon as you step foot inside. Now listen, this post is not to discourage you from joining a gym or exercising. I am merely here to inform you of all the awful things you might encounter, so that when you arrive you will be prepared and it won’t seem so bad. You’re welcome.

  1. It’s New Year’s Resolution Time. Everyone and their cousin has signed up for a gym membership as a New Year’s Resolution. Last night I went around 5pm (take my word for it… don’t do that). The place was absolutely packed! It’s like they put up a sign saying “Free Food Inside.” Not to mention, there was NO parking, so I had to park my car waaaay far away at the other side of the lot. And who likes walking 50 yards into the place that they are going to work out in? Nobody. I am reassured of that each night by the people who wait in their car for a front row spot to open up.
  2. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall. Who’s the sweatiest of them all? Okay, seriously? Why do gyms think its okay to line the walls with mirrors? I get it, it’s so you can check yourself out while you’re getting all swole and what not (I personally feel awkward watching myself work out. You do you though). All that ends up happening is accidentally locking awkward eyes with someone across the room while I’m about to die on some sort of cardio contraption.
  3. The Dreaded Treadmill. I love to run. I’ve done a couple of half marathons in my day, and it’s generally my go-to exercise. But the treadmill? It’s the worst. For those of you who are outdoor runners, you know what I’m talking about. Two miles on the treadmill seems like an eternity and a half. And now they put these little TV’s attached to each one? Oh sure, let me watch this little screen that is a foot in front of my face while I’m jogging. Every time I get dizzy and have to look away for fear of falling off and dying.
  4. Beef Cakes. There are so many jacked people at the gym who disgust you and make you feel bad about yourself at the same time. What do they do, spend 18 hours a day lifting weights? And boy do they love the mirrors. You always seem them standing right in front of the wall doing curls as if they were in front of an audience at body-building competition. It’s just you in the mirror brah, just you. Take it down a notch or ten.
  5. Rated R Locker Rooms. I don’t get why everyone thinks it’s okay to just stand around buck naked in the locker room chatting with all your retirement home friends. It’s always the umm, how should I say this… “aged ladies.” Sure, they are comfortable with their bodies, as they’ve lived with them for many decades. But I’m not. Use a towel!
  6. Really Attractive. Good thing I’m not going to the gym to find a love connection. Why is it that guys can pull off the sweaty, just-worked-out look? When I get done at the gym, I look like a hot disheveled mess! My face at the end of it is some weird, blotchy, flushed combination of looking like I just got sunburned and then immediately turned really pale. I don’t get why the boys aren’t flocking towards me when I get done.
  7. Chatty Kathy’s. Don’t talk to me when I’m working out. Especially if I don’t know you. End of story. I barely have enough breath to get through the stairmaster let alone talk to you about your pet cat and all those newspapers you collect.
  8. Music Selection. I find it absolutely necessary to have music on when I’m working out. Don’t get me started on getting to the gym and realizing you forgot your headphones. You might as well just turn around and leave. The worst is when your iPod is on shuffle. You are at the peak of your workout, super into it, when all of a sudden the song changes from Eminem to Adele or something. Not okay.
  9. Not Knowing How to Use the Weights. I am fairly familiar with most weight machines and their functions. Most of them are pretty self explanatory as there is only one possible way to contort your body to make it work. But I won’t lie when I say I’ve gotten a little over-confident before and walked up to a complex looking machine, thinking oh I can figure out how to use this. Wrong. I usually just stand by it for a minute, taking sips of my water, adjusting my iPod, while secretly scanning the machine for some sort of picture of how to use it. With no luck, I just do some awkward stretch and then walk away like I never intended to use it in the first place.
  10. False Expectations. Advertisements or pictures (like the one below) make the gym seem like a very happy place. No one smiles like that when they are working out! If these two were on the elliptical next to me I think I would be seriously creeped out. Just saying.

gym-2

These are just a few of the terrible things in relation to the gym. There are a ton more where that came from, but I don’t want to discourage you from working out. If all else fails, just steal all the treadmils and do this:

;

“Fear is what stops you… courages is what keeps you going.” -Unknown

10 Signs You’re Being Too Nice

There is a fine line between being nice, and being TOO nice. I have developed a list of things that tend to happen when you cross the line to step into the too nice realm.

1. You apologize for things that aren’t your fault. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said “sorry” to someone who has shoulder checked me because they weren’t paying attention while they were walking. Saying sorry is a way of admitting you did something wrong. I will never forget one of my professors in college lectured us on the matter. She explained that you shouldn’t ever apologize for the little things or things that are beyond your control. You make yourself look guilty and that resonates with the person you are apologizing too. Chances are, if you are an apologizing addict, then you’ve been called out on it before. Let me guess, you apologized for apologizing?

sorry-card

2. You work WAY too much. I get it, some people are workaholics. I know I am. You burn yourself out at work: volunteering for extra shifts, covering for other people, taking on way too many tasks, etc. The problem is that you load so much on to that little plate of yours, that you can’t keep up. Next thing you know you’re pulling an all-nighter with 18 cups off coffee and 20 lines of cocaine. And come on you’re better than that, you know that much coffee is bad for you!

3. You have stalkers. You have this “too nice” aura about you. Everybody wants to talk to you, particularly the creepy weird people. It would be rude not to talk back, right? Next thing you know your BFFs with an ex-inmate who has tear drops tattooed all down his face.

4. Your trust-o-meter is broken. You trust EVERYBODY. Hmm today I think i’ll leave my car and house unlocked. My purse is sitting in the driver’s seat with hundred dolla dolla bills sticking out of it. But that’s okay… No one will steal it.

5. You’re new shirt bears a striking resemblance to a doormat. Let’s face it, people walk all over you. They know you will do whatever they ask you to do, so they take full advantage of that.

doormat

6. You never ask for help. Sure, people can ask you for favors all the time. But when it comes to you asking for a favor in return? Forget about it! You think you can handle everything on your own, and then you end up a big stress ball.

7. Making a decision is by far one of the hardest tasks. Where do you want to eat? I don’t care.. where do you want to eat? I asked you first! My god, try having this conversation with two indecisive people. You’re too nice so you don’t want to pick something that the other person might not like. You will probably eat something you hate if they suggest it, because you don’t want to feel bad for telling them you don’t like it.

8. You might as well change your name to Dr. Phil. There is no better listener out there than you. You can listen to people bitch about their lives all day. At the same time, you feel bad when you complain about anything. You don’t want to burden others with your problems, so you keep them to yourself.

9. You are awkward with compliments. God forbid somebody tells you that you look nice or they like your outfit. You don’t want to deny it, because you know how annoying it is when you have to consistently reinforce a compliment you give to someone else. You don’t want to say thanks because then you’re accepting what they are saying, and that would be vain.

10. Forget about getting someone to like you. Generally speaking, people are attracted to assholes. Nice guys (and girls) often finish last. I’m a true believer that you have to be a smartass to hook somebody. Instead, you are way too nice, so you end up talking to the creep at the bar all night long (you feel bad walking away, naturally) while all the stud muffins pair up with bitches.

I would rather be too nice than be a beyotch. But at the same time, us nice folk have to figure out when we are being TOO nice. We aren’t doormats and we shouldn’t be treated like one. Sometimes you have to be a hard ass to get what you want in life.

“The difference is too nice – Where ends the virtue or begins the vice.” – Alexander Pope

Probability Versus Possibility

The company I work for was having our annual strategic planning meeting this week. It was such a great experience to be a part of, especially coming from a corporate job, where my opinion didn’t have any influence. I learned a lot during this event, but there was one thing said by one of our co-founders that really struck home. She made a statement about us basing our future on possibility rather than probability.

I have discussed topics similar before, but I haven’t heard it put quite like this. When trying to plan for the future, we have two ways in which we generally operate.

Probability

This is instinct. As humans we like to base what we are going to do on what has or has not worked in the past. Often times we do it without even realizing it. To some extent this is appropriate, but the majority of the time it’s pointless because do not know what will happen in the future.

Don’t get me wrong, if you know you are allergic to peanuts, it is okay to base a future of no-peanut-eating on the probability that you might die otherwise.

The real idea is that we shouldn’t focus our time and energy on what went wrong. We see this happening in businesses every day. CEO’s and managers all over the world are coming up with plans based off of the past errors. They build plans on top of plans to avoid old failures of the previous plans (and this is what they get paid the big bucks for!).

There is only so much you can do when you focus on the probability of future events. When you change your mindset to the possibilities there are, the spectrum becomes much broader.  

Possibility

This is more like it. When you are planning for the future, maybe it would be wise to base your ideas on what can happen in the future, not what has happened in the past. What a concept! I should win a Nobel Prize for that right there.

Let’s say your company loses a ton of money because it didn’t reach its sales goals for the year. Here’s a little multiple choice for you. Choose the best option:

A)     Create next year’s plan on the probability that the sales won’t be up to par again

B)      Go lock yourself in a room and cry

C)      Fire EVERYBODY

D)     Take a futuristic approach and focus on the possibility that the sales will exceed expectations and how you are going to get your team to that point

Drum roll please…

 

 

Right Answer (if you’re an idiot): A

Right answer (if you’re a pansy): B and C

Right answer (if you’re the best manager ever): D

 

It’s important to be possibility-oriented. I know many statisticians will disagree with me because they think probability is the greatest thing since sliced bread; however, there is only so much you can do with stats. The future is unknown, and we have the ability to plan accordingly instead of wasting our time crying over spilt milk.

“An intense anticipation itself transforms possibility into reality; our desires being often but precursors of the things which we are capable of performing.” -Samuel Smiles
 
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Sticks and Stones Have Nothin’ on Words

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. That’s a load of crap if I’ve ever heard one. We all have been in situations where people say hurtful things. This phrase suggests that we should just brush off insults because we are strong, confident individuals and we don’t care what people think, right?

In reality, we should try to learn and grow from anything others say about us. It’s true, sometimes people say nasty things with no basis at all, other than being just plain mean (you tell ‘em Taylor Swift). But often, we can learn a lot from what people say. There are different kinds of insults I have experienced in my day:

The Haterade influenced insult – Like I said, sometimes people are just not nice. I’m a strong believer that when people are insecure, they tend to bring others down. So what can you learn about yourself from a random insult that someone gives you? Well, a lot. First thing is first, process the insult. If someone calls you stupid, and you are doing something stupid, then you should probably reassess your situation. Now if they call you stupid while youre sitting in a classroom learning about quantum physics, they should probably reassess their situation. Regardless, you can still learn about yourself in the way you react to the situation. Don’t get defensive and throw some punches when someone insults you. Put on your big boy pants and take it like a champ.

The “I’m not trying to be rude” but…  insult – Don’t you love when people preface their insults like that? Yeah, me neither. These insults are generally intended to be constructive criticism, but they lack the constructive aspect. The key is to not get offended by the way in which they tell you this information. For example, someone might say, “I don’t mean to be rude, but you stink.” So instead of crying, take a shower perhaps. Tears won’t clean your smelliness away.

The constructive criticism insult – Okay, so here is where you need to decide if you are being a sissy or not. Often times in our life we get criticism about ourselves that we may not agree with. People have different opinions, and it can be an amazing eye-opener to get insight into what people think about you. Hey, maybe you think you are God’s gift to earth, and everybody else thinks you are an arrogant jerk. In this case you should jog backwards for a few minutes until you cross back over that line between confidence and cockiness. Unless you’re into that whole “being lonely forever” thing, then keep caring about yourself more than anything around you. Taking constructive criticism and learning to deviate from our norms in order to better ourselves, is a key to gaining success in whatever you do.

 

Sticks and stones can break our bones, and words will just break down our spirit. We have to be confident enough in ourselves to take insults in the best way possible. Either we take the advice of the person who has said hurtful things, or we build our characters by being the bigger person. There is no need to get all depressed and lock yourself in your room for the rest of your life. Instead, learn to make yourself better at every opportunity you get.

To profit from good advice requires more wisdom than to give it. – Wilson Mizner

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