In this article as a series of “I can Motivate Myself. “I am the creator of my own self” In Part 2″, we will dwell on the next five ways to keep ourselves motivated.
Her hair is worked hard upon – neatly oiled and plaited. Abundant wrinkles crisscross her face. She is wearing Hawai chappals and a khadi saree that falls slightly above her ankles. She looks ready for a day of work but is here to take us across the Pinnath range to the Rudradhari waterfall – the source of the Kosi river in the Kumaon region.
Basanti Samant, 60, or Basanti behen, as she is widely addressed, is a speaker at an event.
Some years ago, she led a movement – forming 200 groups, each with 15-20 women – in and around Kausani , to save the Kosi. By 2002, the river’s summer flow had dwindled to around 80 liters a second from 800 liters in 1992, and since then Samant and the women of Kausani have worked hard for its conservation.
Back in 2002, Samant inspired women to stop cutting live wood and start planting more native broadleaf trees such as the banj oak. The women pledged to use water judiciously and to put out and prevent forest fires. Samant ushered them into a sisterhood that conserves the environment, but over the years, the women have stayed together, deriving strength from each other for battles also fought within their homes.
But, at first, Samant had to fight her own battle.
“My life was like the mountain – difficult and uphill,” she says. When she was around 12 and had completed Class 5, Basanti was married. She moved to her husband’s home in the Tharkot village of Pithoragarh district. By the time she turned 15, her husband, a school teacher, died. “My mother-in-law would tell me that I ate him,” she says.
Soon, she packed her few clothes and returned home to Dinara, her village in Pithoragarh, to help her mother and aunts cut grass and collect cow dung. Samant’s father, who worked in the police department in Bihar, tried to get her re-admitted to school. “He wanted me to become a primary school teacher,” she says. But there was strong opposition at home. “If I ever read a book, my mother would taunt me, ‘Will you start working in an office now?’ I didn’t have the courage to oppose her.”
A few years later, Basanti heard about Lakshmi Ashram, a training center for young women in Kasauni, which started in 1946 by Catherine Heilman, a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi. Basanti sent a letter to the ashram asking for admission. “Radha Bhatt, the president, asked me to come,” she says. Her father dropped her at the ashram for a year-long sewing program in 1980.
Basanti extended her stay to fulfill her father’s dream of teaching in Lakshmi Ashram’s balwadis. She also filled out forms to resume schooling. “I graduated high school [Class 10, through a distance learning course] at the age of 31. My brother distributed sweets all over the village,” she says, beaming at something that happened 30 years ago as if it happened yesterday.
Over time, Basanti started working full-time in the ashram, where she still lives. Her work included helping to form balwadis and women’s self-help groups (SHGs) – to teach sewing, handicrafts, and other income-related skills – across Uttarakhand. But she longed to go back to Kausani. “I wondered what I am doing in a big city [she was stationed in Dehradun] when I should be with women in the villages,” she says.
She returned to Kausani in 2002 – where the situation was dire. Villagers were cutting trees, unaware of the consequences – each family thinking that their limited use of wood for fuel and agriculture wasn’t amounting to much – and the Kosi was drying up. In 2003, Samant read an article in Amar Ujala saying that the Kosi will die in 10 years if deforestation and forest fires were not controlled – and she propelled into action.
The village women would leave before sunrise to bring wood. They would eat a meager lunch of roti, salt, and some rice, and go off to work in the farms. Samant says that often, “previously collected wood would be lying idle, infested with termites” but the women had to fetch more. If they sat at home, “they would get an earful from their husband and in-laws.” The inadequate food and strenuous work meant that the women were spending hard-earned money on medicines with “little or no time to look after their children’s education.”
For Samant, therefore, the objective of forming a self-help group became more than environmental conservation. But the women wouldn’t talk to her – largely because the men in their families were opposed to them being involved in any ‘activism’.
One day, Samant saw a group of women near the bus stand in Kausani. Nervously, she approached them. The district magistrate had announced that the Kosi’s water should only be used for drinking, but the women needed it for farming too. The government had not yet constructed canals or check dams in the village. The only approach then was to ensure that the Kosi continued to thrive.
Samant showed them the newspaper cutting and explained the need to plant and save the broadleaf oak trees as opposed to the inhospitable pine planted by the British. She gave them the example of the landmark Chipko movement of the 1970s to conserve forests in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. She pleaded and cajoled with them to think about how they would water their fields 10 years later. She invoked the visual of a lifeless, waterless Kosi. The conversation struck a chord. Around 2003, the women formed a committee, appointed a president, and the cutting of trees gradually stopped in the village. The men in Kausani too began to support the movement. The women still left their house early, but this time, to gather dry wood. The villagers entered into an agreement with the forest department – the department would recognize they had the first right over the wood, but neither the officials nor the villagers would cut trees. It sets a strong precedent and committees of women were formed in several nearby villages.
Even after this victory, challenges gushed out rapidly. For example, despite the government orders, around 2005, a local restaurant owner was siphoning off Kosi’s water. The women phoned Basanti behen. She told them to not let the tanker pass. By then, the movement had become strong and visible, and so when the women sat down in protest, the owner relented and agreed to pay a fine of Rs. 1,000, which went into the SHG’s funds.
But it wasn’t just the villagers or the tourism industry at fault. A forest official was stealthily running a wood business and would often arrive with his workers to cut trees. One day, Samant and the women confronted him. She told him, “You’ve never planted a single sapling and you come here and steal our wood.” The women were united. They were numerous. They persisted for months. They demanded a written apology – he refused. They threatened to complain against him. The fear of losing his job finally made him stop.
Since then, the local groups have not just been forest watch guards, they’ve also tried to address many instances of alcoholism and abuse within the home by intervening or counseling the woman on how to handle the situation. While problems persist, 30-year-old Mamta Thapa, of one of the Kausani SHGs, says, “I’ve found a platform for discussion and possible remedies.”
In 2016, Samant was awarded the Nari Shakti Puraskar by the Ministry of Women and Child Development – she proudly received it from former President Pranab Mukherjee. She continues to fight to save the Kosi and is now also working on waste segregation and talking to hoteliers in and around Kausani about recycling their dry waste. But her biggest contribution, she says, is “ensuring that women are not silent – neither in their local committees or the gram sabha nor inside their homes.”
The above story is a masterpiece of self-motivation.
Let’s start with the 5 effective way’s for self Motivation in Part 2 of this series
. 1.Simplify your life-
The great Green Bay Packer’s football coach Vince Lombardi was once asked why his world championship team, which had so many multi-talented players, ran such a simple set of plays. “It’s hard to be aggressive when you’re confused,” he said.
One of the benefits of creatively planning your life is that it allows you to simplify. You can weed out, delegate, and eliminate all activities that don’t contribute to your projected goals. Another effective way to simplify your life is to combine your tasks. Combining allows you to achieve two or more objectives at once.
For example, as I plan my day today, I notice that I need to shop for my family after work. That’s a task I can’t avoid because we’re running out of everything
I also note that one of my goals is to take my daughter to a dentist. I realize, too, that I’ve made the decision to spend more time doing things with all my kids, as I’ve tended lately to just come home and crash at the end of a long day. An aggressive orientation to the day—making each day simpler and stronger than the day before—allows you to look at all of these tasks and small goals and ask yourself, “What can I combine?” (Creativity is really little more than making unexpected combinations, in music, architecture, anything, including your day.)
After some thought, I realize that I can combine shopping with doing something with my children. (That looks obvious and easy, but I can’t count the times I mindlessly go shopping or do things on my own just to get them done, and then run out of time to play with the kids.) I also think a little further and remember that the grocery store where we shop is just near the dentist. My wife loves to make lists and go up and down the grocery shop herself to fill the grocery cart, so I decided to take my daughter to the dentist while my wife will be busy collecting the groceries from the shop.
After an hour or so, three things have happened at once: 1) I’ve done something with my wife and kids; 2) I’ve honored the appointment with the dentist, and 3) the shopping has been completed.
In her book, Brain Building, Marilyn Vos Savant recommends something similar to simplify life. She advises that we make a list of absolutely every small task that has to be done, say, over the weekend, and then do them all at once, in one exciting focused action. A manic blitz. In other words, fuse all small tasks together and make it doing of the one task, so that the rest of the weekend is absolutely free to create as we wish.
Bob Koether, has the most simplified time management system I’ve ever seen in my life. His method is this: Do everything right on the spot—don’t put anything unnecessarily into your future. Do it now, so that the future is always wide open.
Take action immediately, do not postpone small things for the future.
Let’s take up an example- My wife wants me to book the household LPG gas cylinder, the Cylinder is about to be finished and any time it can take the form of an emergency.
Now, I can instantly take up my phone and call the LPG supplier and book my cylinder. By doing this I will be avoiding the creation of an emergency situation in my family.
Handle Everything Immediately.
It’s hard to stay motivated when you’re confused. When you simplify your life, it gathers focus. The more you can focus your life, the more motivated it gets.
2.Look for the lost gold-
When I am happy, I see happiness in others. When I am compassionate, I see compassion in other people. When I am full of energy and hope, I see opportunities all around me.
But when I am angry, I see other people as unnecessarily testy. When I am depressed, I notice that people’s eyes look sad. When I am weary, I see the world as boring and unattractive.
Who I am is what I see!
If I drive into a phoenix and complain, “What a crowded, smog-ridden mess this place is!” I am really expressing what a crowded, smog-ridden mess I am at that moment. If I had been feeling motivated that day, and full of hope and happiness, I could just as easily have said, while driving into Phoenix, “Wow, what a thriving, energetic metropolis this is!” Again, I would have been describing my inner landscape, not Phoenix’s. Our self-motivation suffers mostly from how we choose to see the
Circumstances in our lives. That’s because we don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.
In every circumstance, we can look for the gold, or look for the filth.
And what we look for, we find. The best starting point for self-motivation is in what we choose to look for in what we see around us. Do we see the opportunity everywhere? “When I open my eyes in the morning,” said Colin Wilson, “I am not confronted by the world, but by a million possible worlds.”
It is always our choice. Which world do we want to see today? Opportunity is life’s gold. It’s all you need to be happy. It’s the fertile field in which you grow as a person. And opportunities are like those subatomic quantum particles that come into existence only when they are seen by an observer. Your opportunities will multiply when you choose to see them.
3.Pushing all your own buttons-
Have you ever peeked into the cockpit of a large airliner as you boarded a plane? It’s an impressive display of buttons, levers, dials, and switches under one big windshield.
Think of a situation as you were boarding, you overheard the pilot say to the
co-pilot, “Hay, remind me, what does this set of buttons do?”
As you hear that, it would make it a rough flight for you. But most of us pilot our own lives that way, without much knowledge of the instruments. We don’t take the time to learn where our own buttons are, or what they can do.
From now on, make it a personal commitment to notice everything that pushes your buttons. Make a note of everything that inspires you. That’s your control panel. Those buttons operate your whole system of personal motivation.
Motivation doesn’t have to be accidental. For example, you don’t have to wait for hours until a certain song comes on the radio that picks up your spirits. You can control what songs you hear.
If there are certain songs that always lift you up, make a tape or CD of those songs and have it ready to play in your car. Go through all of your music and create a “greatest motivational hits” tape for yourself.
Use the movies, too.
How many times do you leave a movie feeling inspired and ready to take on the world? Whenever that happens, put the name of the movie in a special notebook that you might label “the right buttons.” Six months to a year later, you can rent the movie and get the same inspired feeling. Most movies that inspire us are even better the second time around.
You have much more control over your environment than you realize. You can begin programming yourself consciously to be more and more focused and motivated. Get to know your control panel and learn how to push your own buttons. The more you know about how you operate, the easier it will be to motivate yourself.
4.Build a track record
It’s not what we do that makes us tired—it’s what we don’t do. The tasks we don’t complete cause the most fatigue. A motivational speaker was speaking in a seminar to a utility company recently, and during one of the breaks a small man who looked to be in his 60s came up to him. My problem,” he said, “is that I never seem to finish anything. I’m always starting things—this project and that, but I never finish. I’m always off on to something else before anything is completed.”
He then asked whether he could give him some affirmations that might alter his belief system. He correctly saw the problem as being one of belief. Because he did not believe he was a good finisher, he did not finish anything. So he wanted a magic word or phrase to repeat to himself that would brainwash him into being different.
“Do you think affirmations are what you need?” The motivational speaker asked him. “If you had to learn how to use a computer, could you do it by sitting on your bed and repeating the affirmations, ‘I know how to use a computer. I am great at using computers. I am a wizard on a computer’?”
He admitted that affirmations would probably have no effect on his ability to use a computer.
“The best way to change your belief system is to change the truth about you,” He said. “We believe the truth faster than we believe false affirmations. To believe that you are a good finisher, you must begin by building a track record of finished tasks.”
He followed the speaker’s suggestions with great enthusiasm. He bought a notebook and at the top of the first page he wrote, “Things I have finished.” Each day, he made a point of setting small goals and finishing them. Whereas in the past, he would be sweeping his front walk and leave it unfinished when the phone rang, now he’d let the phone ring so he could finish the job and record it in his notebook. The more things he wrote down, the more confident he became that he was truly becoming a finisher. And he had a notebook to prove it.
Consider how much more permanent his new belief was than if he had tried to do it with affirmations. He could have whispered to himself all night long, “I am a great finisher,” but the right side of his brain would have known better. It would have said to him, “No you’re not.” Stop worrying about what you think of yourself and start building a track record that proves that you can motivate yourself to do whatever you want to do.
5.Welcome the unexpected-
Everybody is creative in his own way. Most people say, “My sister is creative, she paints,” or “My father is creative, he sings and writes music.” We miss the point that we are all creative.
One of the reasons we don’t see ourselves that way is that we normally associate being “creative” with being “original.” But in reality, creativity has nothing to do with originality—it has everything to do with being unexpected. You don’t have to be original to be creative. In fact, it sometimes helps to realize that no one is original.
Even Mozart said that he never wrote an original melody in his life. His melodies were all recombinations of old folk melodies.
Look at all the successful singers, writers, leaders, and others who have shown their creativity in one way or the other. If you ask them and go through their lives, you will come to know that they all were motivated by someone, they all have taken the inspiration from someone and they have actually inculcated some habits and skills that have brought them to the point of success and we call them creative as they have done something unexpected.
If you believe you were created in the image of your Creator, then you must, therefore, be creative. Then, if you’re willing to see yourself as creative, you can begin to cultivate it in everything you do. You can start coming up with all kinds of unexpected solutions to the challenges that life throws at you.
So just welcome the unexpected, you will definitely be motivated to succeed.
So, this is the end of Part 2 in the series.
Stay tuned for more ways to keep yourself motivated.