Posts Tagged ‘goals’

life lesson on effort

“Life doesn’t require that we be the best, only that we try our best.”

– H. Jackson Brown Jr

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The Hong Kong Orchid in full boom. And  along the way, it also took on fascinating shapes.

Spending time in the garden has taught me a lot of things.

Not just about plants and soil, but also other things, such as developing patience. Being patient, while waiting for a seed to sprout, or for a new plant to show buds of color and beauty. Being patient while the plants shuts down for winter, or shed its leaves, looking bare and undecorative.

I also learn that some plants may not root, and also sometimes, you can’t give up on a wilting plant, and that it can be nurtured back to health.

But walking in my garden in late summer, I was reminded of a life lesson I had been guilty of forgetting: that in my focus to reach my destination, I sometimes forget to really enjoy the journey or the stops along the way.

It took several walks in the morning or early evening for me to notice the flowers in various stages of bloom. It was as though I had never really paid attention to this before.

The Hong Kong Orchid, in its first few stages of blooms, astounded me with a geometrical-like shape. The baby plumeria spiraled outward with verve, reminding me of a top.

The flowers “talked” to me. And so I have to thank my garden for leading me back to this awareness. Thus, this year, I will remind myself that on the way to my goal or to whatever else I desire, I will be mindful to enjoy the journey, and not just the destination.

flowers and life lesson

The bud took on a crisp, geometric angle as the petals unfold.

journey of flowers

The plumeria in full bloom.

journey of flowers

I was fascinated by the way the baby plumeria spiraled outwards.

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Michael Jordan and success

Michael...talent and strong determination. (Pic: Sports Illustrated)

February is Black History Month, celebrating the contributions that the African-American community have made to the history and culture of the nation.

My thoughts landed on Michael Jordan, considered one of the best basketball players of all time, and a quote by him that I came across a couple of years ago. I found it insightful and inspiring. It showed that like many high achievers, he did not let bumps and challenges deter him from his goal:

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

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motivational dna


Have a desire to achieve something, but somehow just not motivated to strive for it?

Welcome to the club. At one time or other, we face this situation. There are many self-help books out there that claim to help us find, regenerate or sustain this motivation. In her book Get Motivated!, motivational speaker Tamara Lowe has an interesting theory: everyone has a unique achievement pattern or what she terms as Motivational DNA. Figure out what your Motivational DNA is, and you will know what makes you get up and go after your goals .

Lowe says that her theory is grounded in eight years of research with more than 10,000 people. In the same way that your genetic DNA determines your physical attributes, Motivational DNA is a part of who you are and dictates how you are best motivated. Factors that motivate your partner or your parent may not awaken your passion or your ambition. And she emphasizes that no one motivational type is better than any other.

Lowe points out that all the motivators that she discusses in her theory inspire everyone to one degree or another, but each of us has a definite preference or tendency:

D stands for drives, the internal forces that mobilize a person to act. One can have more of a Production drive or more of a Connection drive. Producers tend to be task-oriented whereas Connectors are people-oriented.

N stands for needs, core requirements that a person must have in order to feel fulfilled. People who prefer consistency and order have a Stability need, and those stimulated by new experiences have a Variety need.

book on motivation

Lowe...what motivates one person may not motivate another.

A stands for awards, the kind of material or psychological currency that people want to be paid for their performance or achievement. Individuals motivated by External awards feel validated by tangible benefits like bonuses and a nice, big office. Those motivated by Internal awards need to feel good about what they are doing, and feel validated by sincere appreciation.

In her book, she has a test that will help you decode your Motivational DNA. The test is also available at her website: www.GetMotivatedBook.com

I did the test and found that among the eight motivational styles, mine is a CSI: Connection-Stability-Internal.

I find this to be quite correct. I like learning about people from all walks of life.  Like most folks, I do like the idea of having lots of money, but I think personal fulfillment and believing in what I do are more important to me. I’m not sure about being the Stability type, though. It would be more accurate to say that, though it may sound paradoxical, I need both structure and new ideas.

The CSI type is motivated by factors such as facts and information, an inspiring work environment and a sense of accomplishment. De-motivators for this type include perceived inequity and hype.

On the whole, I would say that Lowe’s Get Motivated! (published in  2009) is quite a worthwhile read. If you do take her Motivational DNA test, I hope you would share the results and your thoughts about it here.

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Will your New Year resolution stick? Most resolutions do not work out, according to the self-help experts, because they are too general. It’s always better to be more specific, to have a goal.

That is true. But at the same time, New Year brings with it a unique kind of optimism – an opportunity to start with a clean slate. And the word resolution is a powerful, emotive word that plays a big role in this feeling.

So my thinking is, let’s try something different. Why don’t we call it a resolution-goal with all its implications, instead of just a resolution. So, instead of saying “I want to lose weight in 2010”, we can be more specific. We can spell it out this way: “My resolution-goal is to lose 5 lbs in 2010.” For someone who wants to improve his/her social network, it might be better to think of it this way: “Next year, my resolution-goal is to have lunch with one new acquaintance.”

For me, my resolution-goals are pretty modest this year. One is to complete a long essay by June. The other is to learn to cook one of these two dishes: crème puffs or mee siam which is a Malay noodle dish. I know, some people may see this  ‘either or’ strategy as a cop-out. But as my culinary ambitions are often more aspirational than practical, I think this is a strategy that will work for me.

So, here’s to the success of our resolution-goals as we welcome 2010. Happy New Year.

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