Inspirational Articles

Provocative Thoughts From The Next Generation

Present-ing Yourself!

So hopefully, whether we know it or not, we all have our own way of motivating ourselves to do something that might not typically be classified as “fun”. You know what I am talking about, the little things like getting to work on time this morning, doing your homework before class, cleaning the dishes and taking the dogs for a walk. But also the big things- filing your taxes, bringing up great kids and making sure you get the season tickets for the Lakers! Whether it is big things or small things sometimes we just need motivation, a “kick in the butt” or even a reward in order to get things done! I am going to suggest trying a new system, give presents to yourself! Everyday! Throughout the day!

Too good to be true?

OK, well you’re right there is a flip side. Before we start giving ourselves rewards first think about everything that you may already be treating yourself to, but not fully appreciating as a “present”. Maybe it’s watching TV, going on a date, eating dessert, taking a nap or, my favorite, reading a God on the Net article! All of these things I know I do on a frequent basis, but do I deserve them?

The system is very simple and I can promise you that you probably already use it in some part of your life. Does your job give out bonuses for peak performance? Do you give your kids allowance for doing their chores? Do you celebrate your birthday or Christmas or Easter? If the answer to any of the questions above is yes then you are already implanting the reward strategy, but only now recognizing it!

From now on, or at least for a experiment for a day or two, take what you do for fun (and probably for granted) and only do it AFTER you have done the things you perceive to be not-so-fun. While it seems simple enough I can almost guarantee that your attitude towards doing the non-fun things will improve after realizing that they are the key to getting to the fun things in life!

Beware: as a human you are great at cheating!

Sure I can understand that after a rough day all you want to do is kick back, watch some sports and eat a tub of Ben & Jerry’s, and hey, I’m not going to challenge your right to do what you want, but be warned, that’s a slippery slope my friend! Sometimes it is most important that we stay disciplined especially during the tough times.  A strict regiment and a reward system are things that promise to keep us motivated even during trying times. Any addict can tell you that we have unlimited reasons, or as I like to call them, “excuses”, to let ourselves get away with cheating, after all, we aren’t in school anymore right?


After I graduated from my Junior College where the teachers relentlessly cross-examined our essays on the web to ensure that we weren’t cheating, I was presented with new theories from my teachers at my new four-year school. Instead of telling all the students how they would catch us if we tried to cheat, the teachers simply laughed at the idea of cheating. Why? I loved the explanation they gave to me and I still remember it. At this particular college and in this particular class with this teacher she assumed we were there to learn (go figure!) and if we wanted to cheat and not learn then she simply said she took sympathy on us and then we better get ready for the real world where the only people we would be cheating were ourselves.

Tying it all together.

Life isn’t the same as school, for some it is much easier but for others it is much harder. It all depends on what your goals are and what “grade/results” you want to get.

Life isn’t the same as school, it’s much more important!

The teachers in that class taught me something very important. They showed me that up until that point I let others, my parents, my friends, my teachers or my boss hold me accountable for doing my job the right way. After that class however I learned that the teachers, my friends, my parents and even my boss held me to a standard that I wasn’t satisfied with. And once you are more up-tight then your own boss let me warn you, you soon might be your own boss (no not fired, running your own company!).

Success can be right around the corner. Whatever it is for you, a slimmer body, an A in Algebra, a raise in salary or a happier and healthier life, the simple key is not to settle for what is easiest but continue on your path until you turn that corner!

Remember, evaluate everything that you view as a “chore”, something that you have to do. Then evaluate all the things that are a treat or rewards. Structure your day so that you “present” yourself with a reward AFTER you have completed the chore. If you always get Starbucks on the way to work but DIDN’T wake up early enough to get a coffee and get to work on time, DON’T cheat and get one anyway! Or, go ahead, but remember, the real person that you will always be cheating is you.