Imagine effortlessly keeping all your resolutions; sticking to all the things you promised to yourself; getting yourself to do all those things you’ve never been able to get yourself to do. Wouldn’t you perform like you never performed before?
It need not be tough to get yourself to do the things you know you should do. Actually the tougher it is, the less likely you are to succeed. Peak performance feels effortless.
For instance, after a hard game of racquet ball, I often will sit with my partner, breathing hard, dripping wet, thoroughly exhausted. Our favorite joke is, “If somebody paid me to work this hard, I’d quit.” Yet, there we are, paying for the privilege. Between games, I enjoy recalling exciting plays, such as smashing my partner’s return ball so low to the floor that he can’t reach it in time. I will eagerly look forward to the next game and enjoy buying a new racket or a pair of shoes occasionally. I realized that it is how you feel about an activity that counts, whether you mentally associate it as work or play, obligation or privilege, misery or fun.
The Magic of Fun. I can’t say that actually playing racquetball was effortless, but it felt that way. I was able to put every ounce of my energy into the game. I was eager to play, eager to do my best, eager to win; no reluctance, lethargy of any kind. That’s the magic of fun. It’s what we all knew in kindergarten-until adults trained it out of us. If something was important, we had to get serious. We don’t have keep believing that anymore. The more important a project, the more fun we can have doing it.
I remember a class I attended for teaching therapist techniques for helping patients. We did a lot of actual work on each other. One would volunteer to work on solving his problem, and a colleague would volunteer to treat him. This was serious stuff. We were engaged in removing serious blocks to our happiness. Everyone performed much better without any strain or pain because, just before we started, a fellow student, named Jeff, would announce in stentorian tones, “Grim up everybody.” We laughed and the atmosphere became playful. Many major breakthroughs were made at those sessions.
Three Steps to outperforming yourself
1. You will outperform yourself if you make pleasurable whatever you need to do. It may feel counter-intuitive, but the more serious the issue, the more playful should be your approach.
2. Simply deciding to make everything more fun will go a long way towards boosting your performance. Practicing this attitude until it becomes a habit. You will find success in places you never expected.
3. Dwell on all the pleasure and funny situations of the day. A good time to do this is at night before falling asleep. Do this instead of dwelling on painful problems. Especially powerful is to find ways to lovingly laugh at your self.
Summary. Put in the simplest possible way, positive self-motivation is about achieving peak performance by enjoying what you do. It’s being pulled to succeed instead of having to push yourself. Once you understand how to motivate yourself with pleasure, you no longer need to use pain based strategies such as struggle, self-discipline and other pain based strategies. Bring a playful attitude to everything you do and you will perform like you never performed before.