OT: Help with motivation

Dan Shafer revdan at danshafer.com
Tue Feb 22 19:54:59 EST 2005

On Feb 22, 2005, at 2:56 PM, Thomas McGrath III wrote:

> Any helpful ideas on how to jump start a project?
> <*)) >=<
> "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of 
> arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather 
> to skid in sideways - a Cigar in one hand - a large steak in the other 
> - your body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming - WOO 
> HOO! What a Ride!"
Hi, Tom.....

I do a lot of motivational speaking, coaching and counseling with 
creative folks. A lot of the advice others have offered you here is 
first-rate. I would only add a few sort of specific ideas for getting 
unstuck or unblocked that various of my clients and I have found 
helpful over the years.

1. Nothing is more important than that you feel good. Nothing.

2. Get a clear picture of what we call the "end of the movie." What is 
your life like when this project is over? What has changed? What are 
you enjoying? How do you feel? There's an old saying that was turned 
into a book title: If you don't know where you're going, you'll 
probably wind up somewhere. Know where you are going. Any time your 
motivation lags, re-visit this visualization, embellish it if you like.

3.  Play the Alphabet Animals Game. Go through the alphabet and for 
each letter think of an animal which starts with that letter. Then 
visualize the animal. Give it sound. Put it into a situation in which 
it would probably never find itself. Watch what it does. (This one's a 
really good tool for when you are facing writer's block, an affliction 
shared by programmers in my experience. I almost never do more than six 
or seven animals before my creative juices are flowing and three new 
ideas have appeared.)

4. The 20-I technique developed years ago by Brian Tracy is a good 
stand-by. Take a sheet of paper. At the top, write down the problem or 
question you're grappling with. Number the left side of the sheet from 
1-20. Now, as fast as you can and without spending a single second 
evaluating their logic, practicality or even potential helpfulness, 
write down 20 ideas for ways to solve the problem or answer the 
question. Set the paper aside for a while (how long depends on you). 
When you go back to it, I guarantee one of two outcomes: either one or 
more of the ideas you listed will literally jump off the page and 
suggest itself as the solution or an entirely new approach will occur 
to you that will answer the problem.

I have a whole course of things like this but these are the ones I 
think are generally most helpful in situations such as yours.



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