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THE LION OR THE LIGHTHOUSE – WHICH DO YOU PREFER?
- by Dr Hannetjie
Today we are looking at two types of motivation. I will illustrate this by giving you two scenarios to imagine…
Scene 1. Imagine being chased by a lion – all you will probably be thinking is “I have to get away from this animal as fast as possible or I might end up as breakfast!” That is, if you even have time to think at all. Most likely you will be in reactive flight mode and getting away, anywhere, is good enough. But then, as you succeed in increasing the distance between you and the vicious predator, or if you happen to get indoors and shut the animal out, the motivation drastically dwindles. And, as soon as the threat has gone, so with it your motivation, and to make matters worse, “anywhere” might not be your destination of choice.
Transfer this scenario into the workplace – if all you can think about is getting away from an unpleasant situation at work, you will be spending most of your energy in defensive manoeuvring and may not be paying attention in any significant way to goalsetting or planning of your post-retirement life. To stay motivated you will have to keep thinking about what’s wrong and about how much you dislike what’s around you. Not really a great way of being, don’t you think? Now, contrast that with the following:
(Original cartoon by Bill Stott, from Distilled Wisdom)
Scene 2. Imagine that you have been shipwrecked, but you can see a lighthouse somewhere in the distance. Would it not almost be as if you are drawn by a magnet to your place of safety? The closer you get, the stronger the motivation.
This is “towards” motivation, and exactly the type of motivation that one needs to create a positive life.
Here’s how to get there: Make the image of what you want so clear in your mind, that it is as if you are right there, right now. Create your lighthouse thought - your homing thought - in such clear detail, that it pulls you closer.
Even if you’re tired, you will be motivated to keep going until you’ve reached your goal.
We need a clear vision, a homing thought, to anchor our efforts and to provide direction for our decisions and actions. (From Distilled Wisdom).
In retirement planning, we need just a smidgeon of the “away from” motivation to get us into action and to start planning for change. But, to really manifest that positive future, the “towards” motivation needs to override. And the better defined the goal, the stronger and more irresistible the “magnetic pull” of the motivation.
If you have a partner or spouse, this is the ideal time to imagine your desired future together. It is a great idea to create a shared vision board. That way you will not only be able to spur each other on, but will also be able to clarify and align important needs and wishes. But, more about that later.
We hope you will be inspired to set your own clear lighthouse of the future…
Look out for our next blog post, where Marianne will be sharing the first part of her journey into retirement.
References and further reading:
1. Britton, P. & Heron, M. Rewire don’t Retire.
2. Van Zyl-Edeling, H. 2013. Over the Hill Moon – A Guide to Positive Ageing. Johannesburg, Porcupine Press.
3. Andy Smith – Do you have the wrong kind of motivation?
4. Jones, K.W. December 14, 2017. Single, Retired, and Female
5. McCoy, K. June 23, 2011. Retirement Readiness http://drkathleenmccoy.blogspot.com/2011/06/retirement-readiness.html
INFORMATION TO BE USED AT YOUR OWN RISK.
Any suggestions or opinions voiced in these pages are those of the authors, and in no way to be constructed as final treatment advice. They are intended as a starting point to develop your own preparation and treatment plan. Please consult your medical and/or psychological experts or caregivers to fine-tune the advice and suggestions for your own unique needs.
Dr. Hannetjie Van-Zyl-Edeling
082 460 4575
CLICK LINKS BELOW TO VIEW BLOGS:
MINDFUL RETIREMENT - Exploring the Psychology
MINDFUL RETIREMENT - Out to pasture or a vibrant encore?
RETIREMENT READINESS - Is your parachute in order?
MOTIVATION - The lion or the lighthouse, which do you prefer?
WHAT MAKES YOU TICK? - Understanding our basic human needs
RETIREMENT STRESS - Not a walk on the beach
RETIREMENT STRESS - Daily hassles , beware of the little foxes
COPING WITH STRESS - Uplifts and how to create them