Posts tagged: Motivation

Most likely to succeed? It comes down to grit


April 21, 2016
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That person’s got what it takes to succeed.

What is the “it”? Smarts? Vision? Creativity? Those are great qualities, but they can’t make a full impact without another ingredient: determination to get things done — in a word, grit.

Grit keeps us going when things get tough. It pushes us toward the finish line when we’re too far away to see it. When we get stuck, grit insists there has to be another way.

Psychologists have recently found that the grittier a person is, the likelier they are to succeed. The connection is so strong that grit is a better predictor of success than raw talent or high IQ.*

Whether or not you’re naturally gritty, it’s the kind of mettle you can develop. It comes down to believing that change — in your abilities and circumstances — is always possible through your own actions.

This is what goes on in a gritty frame of
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Are you driven by love or fear?


March 23, 2016
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Life is complicated — but your motivation isn’t. Without exception, every action we take is motivated either by love or by fear. For example:

• Acting weird around someone we’re not sure about: Fear (What if we don’t get along? I don’t want to feel disliked by someone I don’t really connect with.)

• Offering constructive criticism, even though it makes you sweat: Love (I want this person to do well. I won’t withhold the information he needs to do that.)

• Telling someone it’s okay, even though you think it probably isn’t: Fear (I’m not sure how to tell him otherwise. He might react badly. I don’t want to feel bad about it.)

• Sharing the responsibility for a situation your partner created: Love (I care about improving this situation, for everyone involved. Blaming her for it won’t help change things.)

Whether it’s an everyday quibble (your boyfriend is being difficult) or a really big deal (your
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How to really shine (Hint: Be yourself)


December 17, 2015
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Let’s start the new year as ourselves — magnified.

Just imagine it. As we walk the chilly corridors of January, we give off a certain something, that je ne sais quoi usually spotted in the picture-perfect pages of magazines. Our confidence swells. Others are drawn into our orbit. We have something to offer — and we’re offering it.

Are we being overly romantic? Maybe. But hear us out.

There’s something that you’re good at. Really, really good at. But in the swirl that is life, it’s probably gathered some dust, as you scramble with paperwork, home repairs, and finding five minutes to breathe.

So let’s take those five minutes now (pretend you’re reading a work email if need be) to breathe and ponder: What is that misplaced thing I do so well that brings me joy? Here are some thought starters: serve as the glue for your family, find the singular treasure
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Why can’t I finish what I started?


August 28, 2015
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There’s great satisfaction in getting things done.

We get involved. We learn things. We find order in chaos. And the ultimate reward: We make progress that is appreciated (even if it’s just by us).

This kind of soul-nourishing effort rates as high as money, if not higher, when it comes to motivation. It helps define purpose and give us the ambition to stick with it.

But every so often, almost unwittingly, our ambition withers and things languish half finished. At Unstuck, we call this acting like an Idle Achiever. We’re unable to commit to the project or the person or the mission at hand. Instead, we start and stop like we’re driving a stick shift for the first time.

To smooth out this herky-jerky moment, it helps to understand how we got there in the first place. Take our mini-quiz to find out what type of Idle Achiever you tend to be. Then,
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How to spot an opportunity


April 8, 2015
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Stuck moment: My life, in a word? Uneventful. Sure, I’ve got plenty of things to do. And I do them. Every. Day. The same. Way. Why don’t interesting things happen in my life?

*   *   *

Way back in 1969, Peggy Lee sang the Grammy-winning song, “Is That All There Is?” It’s the story of a person who experiences life’s milestones and ends up disappointed each time. Isn’t there more to it? Is that all there is?

We’ve all felt it at times. Maybe we rushed to adulthood with open arms, surprised to find it riddled with responsibility and taxes. Or our marital bliss became a grind of daily compromise. Perhaps that promising new job devolved into paperwork and PowerPoint.

We’re left wondering, Where’s my opportunity? When and where does my ship come in?

The answer is: Right there, right where it’s always been. But we need to see differently
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How to keep going when you really don’t want to


December 16, 2014
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In the days after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, many of us focused on what was missing. The New York City skyline felt bare. The world felt altered. And, in the quiet Brooklyn neighborhood of Prospect Heights, an out-of-work actor named Delissa Reynolds sought comfort in the ways she knew best — food, friends, a sense of belonging.

“It was a very tender time,” says Delissa. “People in the neighborhood really drew in together. We’d have weekend gatherings, usually at my house, where anyone could come to hang out, sometimes just over rice and beans.”

These “Sunday dinners” helped transform the experience of loss into a celebration of togetherness. And, for Delissa, they became the spark for Bar Sepia, a pioneering neighborhood bar and restaurant she’d open three years later. Next month, her dream project turns 11 — a milestone unimaginable back in those “tender”
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7 ways to activate your desire for a new career


September 8, 2014

Dreaming of a new career can (temporarily) lessen the bite of a bad job, but it may not motivate us beyond our musings. To build momentum, do something — anything — that gets you excited, increases your knowledge, or expands your connections. Here are 7 ideas ranging from tiny to whoa-look-what-I’m-doing!

1. Make a vision board2. Go on an informational interview3. Start a side business on eBay or Etsy4. Write a guest article or blog post5. Resist the urge to complain6. Give tennis lessons to kids7. Write your autobiography: it might reveal things you forgot about yourself

Thanks to Karen Amster-Young and Pam Godwin for this list. You can find hundreds more ideas in their book The 52 Weeks: Two Women and Their Quest to Get Unstuck, with Stories and Ideas to Jumpstart Your Year of Discovery

Learn more about how Karen and Pam got unstuck at read more

4 ways we stop ourselves from pursuing our dreams


June 27, 2014
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Stuck moment: I’ve been nursing this dream for a while, but all I seem to do is muse, make lists, and then push the whole thing to the back of my mind. Is it doomed always to be a pie-in-the-sky?

 • • • 

We all have big ideas about our futures. We gaze out the window over our morning coffee and imagine how great our lives will be when we pull off that one thing. That one thing we know we were born to do. Could be a dream job, a childhood passion, or some fantastic feat of derring-do. In our mind’s eye, we see it just within our grasp…then the telephone rings. Ah, well, there’s always tomorrow.

Dreams are fun to think about, but they’re rarely as easy to pursue. Fear blocks us. We’re overwhelmed. We’re too comfortable. The list of excuses goes on and on. So we rationalize and resign ourselves to boring
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The Sound of Music: Captain von Trapp gets unstuck as a Deflated Doer


June 19, 2014
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His stuck moment: A widowed father of seven, Captain von Trapp keeps happiness at arm’s length since his wife died, treating his children like subordinates in a small naval regiment. He instructs the new governess, Maria (much to her dismay), to use militaristic calls with his children.

He gets (re)stoked: When the captain returns from a trip, he hears his children singing, beautifully, taught by Maria. He joins them in song and soon the distance between father and offspring narrows.

Unstuck result: Reacquainted with the joys of human connection, Captain von Trapp realizes he loves the free-spirited Maria and calls off his engagement to the icy Countess Elsa Schräder, who wanted to ship his kids off to boarding
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6 ways getting organized can transform your life


April 24, 2014
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Stuck moment: Who took my freaking keys? I found one clean shirt, but where’s the iron? Weren’t my files right under that pile of magazines? I guess it’s just going to be one of those mornings — again.

* * *

When our homes are cluttered, it’s hard to think straight. We get cranky and exhausted, and we might not even know why. But if chaos is what you come home to each night, and what you launch yourself into the world from each morning, it’s going to take a toll. You end up feeling like a smaller, less authentic version of yourself.

An easy antidote is to stop thinking about getting organized as a drain on our time and energy, and instead look at it as a way to maximize the time and energy we do have. 

Ask yourself, What can an organized home environment do for me?

Some pretty amazing things, it turns
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