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Happy african woman proud of her savings growth.

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What do motivational thoughts do?  They help you to get into action!  It is not about positive thinking or reading motivating quotes.  They both have their place in shaping your attitude and your thinking.  But, what motivates each of us is unique.  It is important for you to have your own thoughts, the ones that are most effective at getting you going.

“Sweet are the uses of adversity” is a Shakespearean quote from the play “As You Like It.” 

I think it is a great quote.  It has been in my head since high school.  It helped me to look for the positive, even in what appears to be a bad experience.  But, what if it doesn’t get you excited?  After all, “there are different strokes for different folks.” Well, that is when you need to apply a little brainpower and make the idea your own.  You have to make it a thought that is truly a motivating thought for YOU.

Motivational Thoughts of Your Own

“Making it your own” means experimenting with a good thought until you find a way to use it in your own formula for motivation. Suppose, for example, you’re in a difficult situation and don’t feel like dealing with it. As you sit there, you play around with the idea of opportunity coming from a difficult challenge.  Fortunately, you discover that it pulls you out of your slump to think about yourself in the future.  You envision yourself explaining to a friend how you turned the difficult situation to your advantage.

This is how you create your own motivational thoughts. Now, it might be more motivating if you imagine yourself being interviewed someday (maybe on “Sunday Morning Live”) about how you overcame this difficult time.  The thoughts that work for you, the ones that work for your highest good are the thoughts you need to be thinking.

Learn Your Motivations

Experiment and get to know how your mind works.  I find that beyond just thinking a thought, when I explain it to someone, I become more enthusiastic – even excited. That is an ingredient in my own self-motivation formula. When I feel unmotivated about writing, or preparing a speech, for example, I might explain an idea to someone close to me.  By the time I am done, I’m fired up and ready to go to work. Sometimes, I record myself explaining it then later transcribe and edit what I have said.

I encourage you to get creative in your motivational experiments.  Perhaps thinking about being broke, even poor, makes you get up and get to work. If that is the case, it is a great motivational thought. If visualizations are more motivating than mental conversations, then use those. See pictures in your head that get you going, or use treasure mapping to get it in your head and heart.

Dreaming Bigger Can Motivate You

Have you ever been told that you can’t accomplish something?  Maybe you are the type of person who when told by people that you can’t do something, you become motivated  to do whatever it takes to prove them wrong.  It could be that it is motivating to think about them telling you that you can’t do the thing.

It worked for me when I was told that I would flunk out if I attended law school full time and worked.  I finished in 27 months.  As a 19 year-old, I was told that I couldn’t be a disk jockey because I had a speech impediment.  My first job was in a major market (Detroit) working afternoon drive.  I went on to replace Wolfman Jack in Los Angeles and was later named “Air Personality of the Year on Pop Radio” by BRE Magazine.  Dream big, you can accomplish almost anything you become motivated to pursue.

What If You Are Uninspired

I grew up embracing the idea that one aspect of being a “man” is to do what you hate to do, even at a time that you hate to do it most. When there is a truly uninspiring task you have to do, try promising yourself a reward for completion – make it one that really means something to you.  Keep that thought in your mind to keep yourself motivated.  A drive to the beach, a fishing trip or even a big scoop of ice cream may be a few simple, yet powerful motivational thoughts that get you up and moving.  Have a success-full week, and “I’ll see you at the top.”

* J Thomas Smith is host of “Sunday Morning Live” on KMJQ/Majic 102.1 (9-11 am). He is an attorney, author, keynote speaker and mental health consultant. Your comments are we welcome: jtsmith@radio-one.com. Follow on Twitter @drjtsmith102.

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