A model to motivate success instead of feeling sorry of yourself

April 11, 2013 by Joshua
in Exercises, Models, Tips

[This post is part of a series on “Mental models and beliefs: an exercise to identify yours.” If you don’t see a Table of Contents to the left, click here to view the series, where you’ll get more value than reading just this post.]

Do you envy others’ achievements? Or happiness? Or true love? Or something someone else has that eludes you?

Today’s belief helps keep me resilient to feeling bad in such cases and motivates me to improve my life. I expect it will work for you too.

A model for what you can do: Anything one person can do I can too

I believe that for anything important in life,

anything someone else can do, I can too.

I don’t think anyone else has greater access to them than me. Nor do I think I have greater access to them than anyone else.

So I believe

anything anyone can do, you can too.

Most people’s first thoughts on difficult achievements are big ones, like conquering nations, building buildings, running companies, running governments, and so on. With rare exception, meaningful achievements come from team efforts.

Well, team efforts mean one person didn’t do them. And I can lead a team. So, in principle, I can do those big things. I may need the right circumstances, which might not happen in my lifetime, but I can still do them.

I tend to value more modest goals, like self-awareness and emotional intelligence and the improved relationships that come with them.

When I use this belief

I use this belief when I look at the achievements of others, compare mine to them, and have a hint at feeling sorry for myself.

Then one of four things happens, which I summarized in this table here.

Can do it Can’t do it
Want to do it Start doing it Accept limitation or improve self
Don’t want to do it Move on

Three gray quadrants are easy. If I don’t want to do it, I move on, whether I can or can’t do it. If I can do it and I want to, I do it.

The challenging quadrant still improves my life — where I want to do something but can’t. In rare cases someone has an ability I don’t — like an ability to win an Olympic Gold Medal. Then I recognize the other seven billion people on Earth can’t either, realize they can live just as happily, and move on.

(The person who won the Silver often looks unhappy, like they lost, and the Bronze even less happy. By the time you reach the people who didn’t place, they already start looking happy just to be there.)

More commonly when I want to do something but can’t, I realize a way to improve myself. Most of my personal growth came from things in this quadrant.

Things I can’t do often require teamwork. If I want to do them, I create a team — which is why I value entrepreneurship and leadership skills so much. And why I want to share them; since they can improve anyone’s life so much.

Yes, things in this quadrant are challenging, but today’s belief leads them to improve my life the most.

What this belief replaces

This belief replaces feeling sorry for myself.

Where this belief leads

This belief leads to personal growth or, at worst, acceptance.

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2 responses on “A model to motivate success instead of feeling sorry of yourself

  1. Pingback: How to win an NBA championship if you’re a 66-year-old grandmother » Joshua Spodek

  2. Pingback: Mental models and beliefs: an exercise to identify yours » Joshua Spodek

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