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Motivate Yourself 122: Building On Your Foundations

Have you seen the Royal Navy advert that’s been shown over the last 12 months on TV?
Watch it here if you haven’t.
So, imagine that the voice over artist jumped from talking about fixing a skateboard to fixing a Type 45 Destroyer.

It’s too big a jump isn’t it? It doesn’t feel achievable.
To be the best you can be we need those steps in-between and we need the foundations to build upon before anything else.

No-one is born able to do cartwheel, you have to start with a foundation.
You learn to crawl, to walk, to run and jump and with a bit of practise you get to do a cartwheel.

It’s a process that has a place in so many aspects of life, but if you set your sights too high you’ll either fail or not even bother as the goal seems so far off and unrealistic.

So why aim so high in the first place?
Maybe it’s impatience. We are becoming quite an impatient group nowadays and because of modern society it does seem to be getting worse and may cause problems.

Because once it becomes the norm society WILL become lazier, it might start with not being bothered to prepare a meal but that attitude can easily spread into taking the escalator instead of the steps. or watching a film adaptation rather than read the real book.

If these become the norm then so does watching a YouTube video of someone talking about a topic at school that you’re studying rather than actually studying it yourself.
OK these are small steps of behaviour that might not seem that bad but in a few more steps time it’s the norm to decide that it’s easier to sit on benefits rather than work.

I’m probably catastrophising a little but we can all agree that these people exist, and have always been there but it is becoming more normal to let something or someone else do the work for us so that we don’t have to.

All of this because the foundations were wrong.

So what foundations do we need to build on?

Let me first tell you about Walter Mischel’s experiments.
it goes back to 1970 when a psychologist named Walter Mischel placed a cookie in front of a group of children and gave them a choice: they could either eat the cookie right there and then, or they could wait until he returned from a brief errand and then be rewarded with a second cookie to eat as well.

However, If they didn’t wait, they’d be allowed to eat only the first cookie. Not surprisingly, as soon as he left the room, most children ate the cookie almost immediately.
A few children, though, resisted eating the first cookie long enough to receive the second one.

Mischel followed these children’s education with great interest and what he discovered was that the children who were best able to delay gratification did better in school and had fewer behavioural problems than the children who could only resist eating the cookie for a few minutes.
They also ended up with SAT scores that were 210 points higher on average.

He monitored the children for a bit longer and, as adults, the children who could delay gratification completed college at higher rates than the other children and then went on to earn higher incomes.
In contrast, the children who had the most trouble delaying gratification had higher rates of trouble with the Police once they grew up and were more likely to struggle with drug and alcohol problems.

So, in order for us all to be the best we can be, these experiments, which have been replicated dozens of times with the same results, suggest that our ability to delay gratification may be one of the most important skills we can learn.

If it becomes the norm to put effort in in order to get an end result then we’re far more likely to achieve our goals.
If it becomes the norm that we have patience then we can start by repairing a skateboard and then take the steps to repair a type 45 destroyer.

Just think about all the things we can achieve with that attitude!
It’s endless!
Think of something that you’d like to achieve that has always seemed unrealistic, there’s a fair chance that you can break it down into manageable steps and see the end result.

Getting fitter
Writing a book
Learning a musical instrument
Becoming more confident in social situations

These are all achievable but need the right foundations, so check what your foundations are because if you’re starting out with the attitude of watching the film instead of reading the book and taking the escalator instead of the steps, then you might have to look at things with a better perspective.

A good Therapist or Coach will guide you through that process and help you to motivate yourself through it all.

And if you want me to help you with that then you know where to find me.

Episode List

Episode 138: Keeping Up With The Joneses
Episode 137: The Likeable You
Episode 136: Why It's OK To Be A Loser
Episode 135: The Psychology Of Extremism
Episode 134: Are You A Lobster?
Episode 133: Critical Thinking
Episode 132: There Is Nothing Either Good Or Bad
Episode 131: The For And Against Of Imagination
Episode 130: Loneliness & Social Networks
Episode 129: Letting Go Of The Past
Episode 128: What Is Love?
Episode 127: Procrastination
Ep. 126: Who Were You Before The World Changed You?
Episode 125: Stop Saying "Sorry"
Episode 124: Emotional Contagion
Episode 123: Patience
Episode 122: Building On Your Foundations
Episode 121: Dealing With The Critics
Episode 120: Being Assertive. Just Say No!
Episode 119: Inactivity
Episode 118: Social Functioning & Evolution
Episode 117: Unleash Your Inner Superhero
Episode 116: Goals, Values and Priorities
Episode 115: 10 Tips To A Happier Life
Episode 114: Lies And Confabulation
Episode 113: Confirmation Bias
Episode 112: Are You An Imposter?
Episode 111: What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger
Episode 110: Are New Years Resolutions a good idea?
Episode 109: The African Violet Queen Of Milwaukee
Episode 108: Reframing
Episode 107: Spiders And Behaviourism
Episode 106: Practise Makes Perfect
Episode 105: Fear Of Flying
Episode 100 - 104: Happiness
Episode 99: Body Image And The Media
Episode 98: Evolution and Adaptation
Episode 97: Reflections And Regrets.
Episode 96: Dealing With Fear
Episode 95: Confidence
Episode 94: Enthusiasm
Episode 93: Tips To Relieve Christmas Stress
Episode 92: Dealing With Change
Episode 87 - 91: Self Esteem
Episode 86: Correlation Does Not Imply Causation
Episode 85: The Importance Of Being Lazy
Episode 84: Elephant Chains
Episode 83: Eating Bananas And Setting Goals
Episode 82: Ignoring The Media And Listening To Music
Episode 81: Awakening The Instincts
Episode 80: The Fine Line Between Love And Hate
Episode 79: The Best Medicine
Episode 78: A New Start
Episode 77: Time Distortion
Episode 76: Making Decisions
Episode 75: What's In A Name?
Episode 74: Pushing Ourselves Further
Episode 73: Conformity
Episode 72: Purpose
Episode 71: Perspective
Episode 70: Expectation
Episode 69: The Mind / Body Link
Episode 68: Overcoming Shyness
Episode 67: Mood Boosting
Episode 66: Sabotaging your goals
Episode 65: Self Talk
Episode 64: Money Makes The World Go Round
Episode 63: First Impressions Count
Episode 62: False Belief
Episode 61: Absolutes
Episode 60: The Psychology of feeling calm
Episode 59: Belief
Episode 58: Anchoring Emotions
Episode 57: Negativity and Perspective
Episode 56: Health And Happiness
Episode 55: Imagination vs Reality
Episode 54: Change