May 10, 2007

Motivation & The Expectations Of Others

Someone told me the other day that they loooove my wardrobe. Funny enough, I love my wardrobe too, although I feel I could expand it quite a bit! My appearance is something I cultivate and care about, especially when it comes to looking well-groomed and professional.

The point is, this reminded me of a funny human tendency to try and live up to expectations. I remember some years back my flight instructor was a former hairdresser, and so I'd always show up with fabulous hair in order to avoid potential negative comments or judgement about it...I look back now and that seems strange to me because I no longer worry about what others will think of me, and I would also say I think more of myself - my OWN opinion matters more to me.

The lesson here is that IF we think others have certain expectations of us, we will often adjust our behaviour. (Even if the expectation is 'bad' - for example we hear that someone thinks we are not very nice - we may try to avoid the certain expected behaviour and go overboard trying to be the opposite.)

We can use this to our immense benefit. For example, we can have certain expectations for our children and let them know. NOT as in 'I expect x, y, and z from you' but as in 'You are so great at this, and often like that, and i love how you do x, y, and z' and mark my words, if you reinforce this your kids will try and be's a way of encouraging and bringing out the best in someone, just by mentioning that you have noticed it.

Also, we can use this motivational technique on ourselves. We get what we focus on, right? Thus, instead of waiting for someone else to tell you how wonderful you are, how about sitting down and deciding what personality traits the person you want to be exhibits, and then cultivating those within yourself? I'll give you a few of mine as an example:

* I am so dedicated. I make really good decisions that lead me towards my goals...I love that I can stop and question when I 'm about to do something and say 'Is this leading me further away from, or towards my goals?'
* I love that whenever I feel badly about something I choose to ask why and how did I help create this, and also how can I learn from this so I'm not triggered into feeling bad the next time this situation occurs.
* I love that I am efficient, organized and getting better all the time. I love that I hate disorganization because it motivates me to stay organized, which saves me time and helps me relax (I used to be extremely disorganized and the panic and misery that it creates are now in my past - I'm so grateful!).

These are just examples, but hopefully you can see that if I continually tell myself things like this I will try and live up to my own expectations. Now, if my parents and teachers had said stuff like that to me, I would not be on this particular journey at all - I'd already be where I want to be now!

There are definitely things about myself that I feel can improve or change, but I am focusing here on those things that I love and I'm proud of - which is what you should do for yourself, also.

What do you wish someone would tell you?...Go ahead and tell yourself!!

This is excerpted from the Breathing Prosperity blog - updated daily!

By Shauna Arthurs

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