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HOW TO INFLAME PASSION TO TAKE ON THE ICKY STUFF
I hate balancing my (dilapidated) checkbook.
I hate taking out the filthy garbage.
I hate waking up on drab Monday mornings.
Heck , there's quite a lot of things I abhor, I might as well
crawl under a mossy rock and hibernate.
The problem is, the real world won't forgive me for shying from
obligati ons. And that leads to the big question:
How do you motivate yourself to obliterate your dull tasks?
Think of the many things you postpone doing , checking inventory,
organizing your expenses, color coding your suits, typing up that
report, sending mom a Hallmark card, washing the Doberman. That kind
Is there a secret to firing yourself up to get rid of the backlog
cluttering your desk since 1992??
THE BIG SECRET
It isn 't such a secret, really. In fact, it was published on last
Sunday's broadsheet. The suggestion came from an 82 year old PhD:
*Avoid doing things you don 't enjoy doing. *
I almost dismissed the advice as plain inanity. Somehow, images of
mortuary attendants abandoning their shifts, doctors leaving their
surgery patients and soldiers deserting their posts didn 't seem
quite right. There'd be chaos. (On the bright side, I can use it
as an excuse to sleep through drab Monday mornings!)
But my brain whirred and I soon realized the utter beauty of the
postulate. You can avo id doing things you don 't enjoy doing
..YOU CAN GET A SYSTEM TO ACCOMPLISH IT FOR YOU
When I first launched a B2C shopping portal ten years ago, I found
myself processing orders, following-up credit card transactions,
shrink-wrapping items, shipping out the products and mailing thank
you cards to my clients. This I balanced with my existing
construction management business. All in all, that left me with 4
hours of sleep per day.
The money was good but the life was about as much fun as a slog
through the mud.
Then I discovered the value of outsourcing to systems.
First thing was to offload the credit card processing to a well-
known e-commerce solutions company. They gladly provided the
processing of orders, fraud screening and chargeback management.
From then on, I never swiped another card through the machine again.
I also hated accounting. Numbers and figures leapt at me like
muggers with sharp knives and so I trashed my financial calculator
and acquired the services of a book keeper. He now keeps tabs on
receivables that 's due my way, taxes that can be delayed, and
deadlines that can't be sidelined.
Today, I pretty much show up at office by 2pm in the afternoon. With
a SYSTEM, I avoided what I didn't enjoy doing.
BUT WHAT IF YOU REALLY HAVE TO DO IT?
We all run into mandatory things which are important but can be as
enjoyable as a tooth extraction. In fact, a molar extraction might
just be one of them! How does one deal with these tasks that
certainly don 't make you float with bl iss?
I 've dredged up a pretty effective list of tricks that stokes
your engine for action.
A. Get a handle on WHY you 're doing it in the first place. What
will it accomplish? How will doing this make YOUR life better?
Okay, so doing the di shes right now doesn 't strike your fancy. But
imagine what happens if you leave the dishwashing for the weekend
when everything has piled up? Life certainly won't be better on
Saturday. I'm sure you'd rather be at the beach with your
For every undertaking, ask yourself how doing it makes YOUR life
better. Remember the WIIFM or the What's In It For Me.
B. Cut down a task into manageable chunks. The enormity of the task
will just melt away.
Let me ask you, how do you eat an elephant?
A bite at a time!!! It might take some weeks, but it SHALL be done.
Last month, I was coaching someone on how to setup a business. In my
country, you can 't just plunk down the cash and plunge headlong
into any enterprise. There are business plans to make, permits to be
filed, people to be hired, and tasks to be delegated. . You need to
plan your AGENDA, hence .
C. Whip up a detailed agenda. No, not on post-its that may be lost.
A notebook would be great. Better yet, a Palm pilot with all the
snazzy agenda tracking features. Palms even have alarms that make
you guilty when you miss a deadline.
(and no, I 'm not a Palm salesman)
D. Build up a state of motivation state & anchor it (check out for
great stuff www.essential-skills.com on Artful Anchoring)
Each time I map out my agenda, I visualize what it will be like when
I 've zipped past the finish line. I literally imagine that
I'm relishing the fruits of my effort in a really bright, really
huge mental screen. It's here that the magic begins; as I lo ok
into the future, imagining my task already accomplished, I 'd
start to wash over with warm feelings that I'm going to
experience when I've actually done it. *I've given myself
something to aim for. *
E. Okay, we 're nearly done now. In the previous step, you were
imagining yourself enjoying the fruits of your effort from the first
person perspective. Now, you are to step out of the picture and
imagine looking AT YOURSELF from the third person point of view. See
that big smile on your face. Watch yourself literally bask in the
glow of accomplishment See yourself reaping the rewards from acting
upon the job immediately. Do you see an image of yourself holding a
briefcase of money?? Wow! Go for it!.
F. Reward yourself immensely.
A most important step! Be as generous to yourself as you can.
Recall the Pavlov dog experiment
(http://riri.essortment.com/pavlovdogs_oif.htm) ? The dogs were
conditioned to drool whenever the dinner bell was rung because a
reward (food) was waiting. It 's the story of clas sical
Condition yourself for SUCCESS, Pavlov style, by compensating your
efforts with something out of the ordinary. You 'll look forward
to more challenging tasks in the future.
This is all useless theory unless your practice it. Get your lazy
derriere off that couch, can the excuses, finish all those tasks
that were due yesterday.
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