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Self motivation part 2


It’s all very well saying one person should do this and another do that but every person is different.
For many people to change what they do might involve moving out of their comfort zone.
When people try to do this they will often have fears.
These fears manifest themselves in a few common ways.

Fear of failure

Many will be familiar with this even if they won’t admit it.
What presents absolutely no fear for one can cause great concern for another.
This fear can stop them starting an activity or create an environment where they perform at a poor level.

Society seems to promote winners and sideline losers.
Many years ago the fear of failure in business had serious consequences.
If you were made bankrupt in the 19th Century penalties could be very harsh.

A classic area of fear is giving a public presentation.
Motivation can drop when faces with this activity.
For many people this is their number one fear over and above dying.
In practice, no one usually has any idea that you may be nervous or less than perfect.
In fact, the audience is actually willing you to do well.
Once it is all over you may wonder what all the fuss was about but the anxiety is still real before you begin.

Fear of the unknown

People always feel safer doing what they know and are familiar with.
Moving away from this and experimenting can start to generate fears.
Barriers are often hard to break until someone takes that first important step.

This happened in the case of Roger Bannister breaking the 4 minute mile in 3 min 59.4 secs.
Soon after this many athletes managed to break the 4 minute barrier.

When someone conquers a mountain peak others then follow.
There almost seems to be a mental block making something seem virtually impossible to do until another proves otherwise.
Motivation and self belief seem to rise once someone else has achieved.

Fear of the spotlight

This fear will manifest itself in giving a public presentation. Just the very act of being in a place where you are suddenly the centre of attention can make the heart race, palms sweat and hands shake. This will exacerbate the fear of failure.

In some instances it’s not just a case of fear of failure but a fear it may lead to total embarrassment.
When people reach the end of a lecture and it comes to questions many find it hard to ask one.
When you ask a question the spotlight immediately hits you for a few seconds.
Is it a good question? Is it a stupid question?

When faced with this situation it might be a good idea to have several questions prepared and ask one of these.
You could also take notes during the lecture and write down possible questions.
Once you have asked a question and the person has responded you may be able to follow up with an additional point.
Don’t ask a question just to make yourself look good the audience will know it.

In these situations we might feel vulnerable. The truth is we often admire this quality in others but are afraid of it in ourselves.
When you ask a question the majority of the audience will admire you and will be thinking “I wish I had the courage to do that”.
It’s another example of trying to step outside of your comfort zone.

Fear covers what is about to happen, that is, the future.
Worry about the past can be looked upon as guilt.
The aim is to focus on the present and try not to worry about what has past and what is to come.
Motivation can be affected by worrying about the past and what might happen in the future.

One step back

Failure is not just about not completing what you want to do or achieving a poor standard.
You may well have a large degree of success but get the occasional setback.
Its quite rare for any project to complete without a hitch.
You must accept that there will be setbacks and move on.

Do it poorly

When we fear carrying out a task it is often because we feel the finished result will be poor.
It is easy to find excuses for not starting the task, for example, too tired.
You begin to over worry about the potential result and don’t start the task.

Finding the motivation to get going can be hard.
Just begin anyway. As you progress you will begin to get the energy necessary that will galvanise you towards task completion. By starting you are denying your pessimistic side and reinforcing your optimistic side.
Even if your first efforts are poor keep going and ideas and performance will improve.

Get started even if your first results are poor.
Initially you may feel less than enthusiastic but once under way this tends to improve.
This is often the case for sporting activities. Once you have begun you tend to get a buzz from the exercise and afterwards feel regenerated.


One answer for any fear is constant practice.
If you happen to be doing a similar task to others, for example, one of a set of presentations you will be surprised just how nervous others appear. This in itself will bolster your confidence.
Remember Gary Player’s words “The more I practice the luckier I get”.


There is a natural desire to satisfy the basic need for security according to Abraham Maslow.
People worry about their job security.
In times when the economy is slow there are often more qualified people than jobs.
This can create the fear of job losses if performance is poor.

This is a case of trying to avoid a penalty (consequences), that is, losing something that you already have.