You wanted a bike, right? Now pedal!

We have our minds set on it: We want to apply to grad school, write our novel, develop the app, start the relief effort, or plan our wedding. Our mission is clear. Suddenly, something magical happens: tedious work turns into mission tasks under the light of our motivation and determination for the major goal.

My mission was: I want to do illustrations for a living. I quickly realized that making “beautiful” drawings wasn’t enough. I needed a website, used social networks, designed advertising materials, wrote my first invoices, improved my English, and visited fairs and events. I even picked up the phone to call agencies and drove to distant cities to deliver my postcards in person. That’s something I would never have done before. Suddenly, I was a programmer, social media expert, graphic designer, salesman, and I read books only in English.

Each task on its own would not have brought me joy. On the contrary, I would have hated them. But since they served my mission, all negative feelings disappeared. I just did it.

In Italy there is a saying, “Hai voluto la bicicletta? Adesso pedala.”, “You wanted a bike, right? Now pedal!” I used to roll my eyes every time my father said this. But it just seems to be true: We can’t have one without the other. And when it’s blowing the warm summer wind in your face, pedaling is fun, too.

Using time pressure as a motivational power-up

In video games, a power-up temporarily strengthens the player. The most famous one is the mushroom in Super Mario. Time pressure can be our power-up.

Let’s say we have an appointment at the bank in 45 minutes. If we subtract 15 minutes for the trip, we have 30 minutes left. We often fritter away this precious time until the appointment. We say, “It’s not worth it to start something new now,” and bang goes Youtube. But that short time can be our mushroom. We can accomplish so much in 30 minutes, whether it’s work or personal activities like exercise or household chores.

The best part is that we always keep an eye on the clock, which boosts our concentration. I am often amazed that I can accomplish something in an intense 30 minutes that usually takes much more time, like writing this post, for example. 

Good criticism is like medicine

(Mindshot 241)

At first, it tastes bitter, and you want to spit it out. But once it is down, it works wonders.

This only applies to constructive criticism. Criticism has the sole purpose of bringing the criticized person closer to her goal. This can be during the logo design process, the realization of a business idea, or the improvement of shooting techniques in football.

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