Ok I want to be very clear that the self motivation we are going to be talking about in this article is NOT about all the usual self motivation material.
Our focus here is going to be on the heavy duty / big picture level motivation that you need to get you through tough times often involving imposed change that have large and perhaps dramatic impacts on your life.
Here's the scenario: your company has just announced that it is downsizing and you are seriously concerned that this might include you...
Or maybe your organisation is restructuring - normally a euphemism for getting rid of people and making those left work even harder and you can feel some seriously unwelcome changes coming down the pipe-line...
Or perhaps all that has already kicked in and you are experiencing severe financial pressure...
If you're self employed or run your own business maybe you've just heard that a major customer or client who owes you a lot of money has gone bust gone bust...
You know what I am talking about - you may be experiencing this right now? I totally empathise with you, I do know how this feels.
Understandably, in all these types of very stressful situations self motivation can be extremely difficult - to put it mildly.
 Resist the urge to just DO something
In my experience, in times of great stress what tends to happen is that we feel an urgent need to DO something - anything.
This is inevitably accompanied with lots of thinking - the kind of thinking that we find hard to stop - the kind of thinking that keeps us awake at night - the kind of thinking that goes round and round in circles - the kind of thinking that starts to take over and dominate our minds.
Underneath all this thinking is a lot of emotion - invariably negative, anxious, fearful feelings - feelings of stress - feelings of overwhelm.
And then the urge, the need, the compulsion to DO SOMETHING arises again...
A vicious, gnawing, soul-destroying cycle...
But actually there is not much if anything we can do - because there is so much uncertainty surrounding the whole situation, there are so many unknowns, and we have no way of figuring out how this thing is going to play itself out.
Then comes the painful realisation that we are not in control - that unwelcome change is being imposed upon us.
As this realisation sinks in it is usually accompanied by another round of frantic thinking accompanied by more urgent and insistent feelings of anxiety and insecurity which can throw us into “cognitive shock” that turns our mind into even more of a muddle.
 Deal with the cognitive shock
Trying to push away our emotional distress can throw us into cognitive shock that turns our mind into a muddle.
Ezra Bayda, a teacher at the Zen Center of San Diego, shares five simple questions to help us cut though confusion.
Here are 5 simple questions to help you cut through the confusion.
Inside our heads- here is what's going on :
- We get very stuck with our thoughts and emotional states
- They arise automatically
- They are repetitive
- The repetition causes reinforcement – making us more attached and thus more stuck
- We are largely if not totally unaware of this process
- We mistake the state for who we are
- We identify totally with these states – we are immersed in them – "I am angry" – "I am anxious" etc
- After the passing of a certain amount of time these states recede or pass and we are "normal" again
- After the passing of a certain amount of more time these states arise again and the whole cyclical process repeats itself
- Again and again and again…ad infinitum
So faced with this type of scenario, what can we do?
Here are two resources:
Understanding That You Are Not Your Thoughts
Learning How To Live With Your Thoughts
 Accept there are no instant fixes
We live in an age and a culture that is obsessed with instant fixes and unfortunately I can't offer you an instant fix.
What I can do is suggest the following thoughts and self motivation tips that are based entirely on my own hard experience of some very tough times, and that will bring you through into calmer waters - and may just change your life.
Some of this is counter-intuitive, so if you feel resistance rising - just watch it - cos in my experience resistance often points to a submerged truth.