Habit stacking – seventh part

The power of synaptic pruning

There is a phenomenon that happens as we age called synaptic pruning. Synapses are connections between the neurons in your brain. The basic idea is that your brain prunes away connections between neurons that don’t get used and builds up connections that get used more frequently.

For example, if you practice playing the piano for 10 years, then your brain will strengthen the connections between those musical neurons. The more you play, the stronger the connections become. Not only that, the connections become faster and more efficient each time you practice. As your brain builds stronger and faster connections between neurons, you can express your skills with more ease and expertise. It is a biological change that leads to skill development.

Meanwhile, someone else who has never played the piano is not strengthening those connections in their brain. As a result, the brain prunes away those unused connections and allocates energy toward building connections for other life skills.

This explains the difference between newborn brains and adult brains. Babies are born with brains that are like a blank canvas. Everything is a possibility, but they don’t have strong connections anywhere. The adults, however, have pruned away a good deal of their neurons, but they have very strong connections that support certain skills.

Now for the fun part. Let’s talk about how synaptic pruning plays an important role in building new habits.

Habit stacking

Synaptic pruning occurs with every habit you build. As we’ve covered, your brain builds a strong network of neurons to support your current behaviors. The more you do something, the stronger and more efficient the connection becomes.

You probably have very strong habits and connections that you take for granted each day. For example, your brain is probably very efficient at remembering to take a shower each morning or to brew your morning cup of coffee or to open the blinds when the sun rises … or thousands of other daily habits. You can take advantage of these strong connections to build new habits.

How?

When it comes to building new habits, you can use the connectedness of behavior to your advantage. One of the best ways to build a new habit is to identify a current habit you already do each day and then stack your new behavior on top. This is called habit stacking.

Habit stacking is a special form of an implementation intention. Rather than pairing your new habit with a particular time and location, you pair it with a current habit. This method, which was created by BJ Fogg as part of his Tiny Habits program, can be used to design an obvious cue for nearly any habit.

Habit stacking – examples

The habit stacking formula is:

After/Before (CURRENT HABIT), I will (NEW HABIT).

For example:

  • After I pour my cup of coffee each morning, I will meditate for one minute.
  • After I take off my work shoes, I will immediately change into my workout clothes.
  • After I sit down to dinner, I will say one thing I’m grateful for that happened today.
  • After I get into bed at night, I will give my partner a kiss.
  • After I put on my running shoes, I will text a friend or family member where I am running and how long it will take.

Again, the reason habit stacking works so well is that your current habits are already built into your brain. You have patterns and behaviors that have been strengthened over years. By linking your new habits to a cycle that is already built into your brain, you make it more likely that you’ll stick to the new behavior.

Once you have mastered this basic structure, you can begin to create larger stacks by chaining small habits together. This allows you to take advantage of the natural momentum that comes from one behavior leading into the next.

Overall, habit stacking allows you to create a set of simple rules that guide your future behavior. It’s like you always have a game plan for which action should come next. Once you get comfortable with this approach, you can develop general habit stacks to guide you whenever the situation is appropriate:

  • When I see a set of stairs, I will take them instead of using the elevator.
  • Social skills. When I walk into a party, I will introduce myself to anyone I don’t know yet.
  • When I want to buy something over $100, I will wait 24 hours before purchasing.
  • Healthy eating. When I serve myself a meal, I will always put veggies on my plate first.
  • When I buy a new item, I will give something away. (“One in, one out.”)
  • When the phone rings, I will take one deep breath and smile before answering.
  • When I leave a public place, I will check the table and chairs to make sure I don’t leave anything behind.

No matter how you use this strategy, the secret to creating a successful habit stack is selecting the right cue to kick things off. Unlike an implementation intention, which specifically states the time and location for a given behavior, habit stacking implicitly has the time and location built into it. When and where you choose to insert a habit into your daily routine can make a big difference. If you’re trying to add meditation into your morning routine but mornings are chaotic and your kids keep running into the room, then that may be the wrong place and time. Consider when you are most likely to be successful. Don’t ask yourself to do a habit when you’re likely to be occupied with something else.

Your cue should also have the same frequency as your desired habit. If you want to do a habit every day, but you stack it on top of a habit that only happens on Mondays, that’s not a good choice.

Finding the right trigger

One way to find the right trigger for your habit stack is by brainstorming a list of your current habits. You can use your habits scorecard as a starting point. Alternatively, you can create a list with two columns. In the first column, write down the habits you do each day without fail.

For example:

  • Get out of bed.
  • Take a shower.
  • Brush your teeth.
  • Get dressed.
  • Brew a cup of coffee.
  • Eat breakfast.
  • Take the kids to school.
  • Start the work day.
  • Eat lunch.
  • End the work day.
  • Change out of work clothes.
  • Sit down for dinner.
  • Turn off the lights.
  • Get into bed.

Your list can be much longer, but you get the idea. In the second column, write down all of the things that happen to you each day without fail. For example:

  • The sun rises.
  • You get a text message.
  • The song you are listening to ends.
  • The sun sets.

Armed with these two lists, you can begin searching for the best place to layer your new habit into your lifestyle.

The next step

Habit stacking works best when the cue is highly specific and immediately actionable. Many people select cues that are too vague. I made this mistake myself. When I wanted to start a push-up habit, my habit stack was, “When I take a break for lunch, I will do ten push-ups.” At first glance, this sounded reasonable. But soon, I realized the trigger was unclear. Would I do my push-ups before I ate lunch? After I ate lunch? Where would I do them? After a few inconsistent days, I changed my habit stack to: “When I close my laptop for lunch, I will do ten push-ups next to my desk.” Ambiguity gone.

Habits like “read more” or “eat better” are worthy causes but far too vague. These goals do not provide instruction on how and when to act. Be specific and clear: After I close the door. After I brush my teeth. After I sit down at the table. The specificity is important. The more tightly bound your new habit is to a specific cue, the better the odds are that you will notice when the time comes to act.

Happy habit stacking!

I hope you liked the content about habits?

If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments!

For more motivational stories, you can visit https://motivationbymarco.com/

 

Stopping procrastination! – the sixth part!

Stopping procrastination! This is the most important condition if we want to succeed!

In the following text, I will deal with this topic in more detail!

Ronan Byrne, an electrical engineering student in Dublin, Ireland, enjoyed watching Netflix, but he also knew that he should exercise more often than he did. Putting his engineering skills to use, Byrne hacked his stationary bike and connected it to his laptop and television. Then he wrote a computer program that would allow Netflix to run only if he was cycling at a certain speed. If he slowed down for too long, whatever show he was watching would pause until he started pedaling again. He was, in the words of one fan, “eliminating obesity one Netflix binge at a time.”

He was also employing temptation bundling to make his exercise habit more attractive. Temptation bundling works by linking an action you want to do with an action you need do. In Byrne’s case, he bundled watching Netflix (the thing he wanted to do) with riding his stationary bike (the thing he needed to do).

Businesses are masters at temptation bundling. For instance, when the American Broadcasting Company, more commonly known as ABC, launched its Thursday night television lineup for the 2014–2015 season, they promoted temptation bundling on a massive scale.

Every Thursday, the company would air three shows created by screenwriter Shonda Rhimes—Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder. They branded it as “TGIT on ABC” (TGIT stands for Thank God It’s Thursday). In addition to promoting the shows, ABC encouraged viewers to make popcorn, drink red wine, and enjoy the evening.

Andrew Kubitz, head of scheduling for ABC, described the idea behind the campaign: “We see Thursday night as a viewership opportunity, with either couples or women by themselves who want to sit down and escape and have fun and drink their red wine and have some popcorn.” The brilliance of this strategy is that ABC was associating the thing they needed viewers to do (watch their shows) with activities their viewers already wanted to do (relax, drink wine, and eat popcorn).

Over time, people began to connect watching ABC with feeling relaxed and entertained. If you drink red wine and eat popcorn at 8 p.m. every Thursday, then eventually “8 p.m. on Thursday” means relaxation and entertainment. The reward gets associated with the cue, and the habit of turning on the television becomes more attractive.

You’re more likely to find a behavior attractive if you get to do one of your favorite things at the same time. Perhaps you want to hear about the latest celebrity gossip, but you need to get in shape. Using temptation bundling, you could only read the tabloids and watch reality shows at the gym. Maybe you want to get a pedicure, but you need to clean out your email inbox. Solution: only get a pedicure while processing overdue work emails.

Temptation bundling is one way to apply a psychology theory known as Premack’s’s Principle. Named after the work of professor David Premack’s, the principle states that “more probable behaviors will reinforce less probable behaviors.” In other words, even if you don’t really want to process overdue work emails you’ll become conditioned to do it if it means you get to do something you really want to do along the way.

How to create your temptation bundle?

There is a simple exercise you can use to boost your willpower and figure out your own temptation bundling strategy.

You’re going to create a two-column list:

  1. In column one, write down the pleasures you enjoy and the temptations that you want to do.
  2. In column two, write down the tasks and behaviors you should be doing, but often procrastinate on.

Take your time and write down as many behaviors as possible. Then, browse your list and see if you can link one of your instantly gratifying “want” behaviors with something you “should” be doing.

Here are a few common examples of temptation bundling:

  • Only listen to audio books or podcasts you love while exercising.
  • Only get a pedicure while processing overdue work emails.
  • Only watch your favorite show while ironing or doing household chores.
  • Only eat at your favorite restaurant when conducting your monthly meeting with a difficult colleague.

You can even combine temptation bundling with habit stacking to create a set of rules to guide your behavior.

The habit stacking + temptation bundling formula is:

  1. After (CURRENT HABIT), I will (HABIT I NEED).
  2. After (HABIT I NEED), I will (HABIT I WANT).

If you want to read the news, but you need to express more gratitude:

  1. After I get my morning coffee, I will say one thing I’m grateful for that happened yesterday (need).
  2. After I say one thing I’m grateful for, I will read the news (want).

If you want to watch sports, but you need to make sales calls:

  1. After I get back from my lunch break, I will call three potential clients (need).
  2. After I call three potential clients, I will check ESPN (want).

If you want to check Facebook, but you need to exercise more:

  1. After I pull out my phone, I will do ten bur pees (need).
  2. After I do ten bur pees, I will check Facebook (want).

The hope is that eventually you’ll look forward to calling three clients or doing ten bur pees because it means you get to check Facebook or read the latest sports news. Doing the thing you need to do means you get to do the thing you want to do.

Always important, never urgent

There are many factors that contribute to success, but you can make a strong argument that consistently accomplishing tasks which are important, but not urgent is the one ability that separates top performers from everyone else.

Consider how many tasks are important to our progress, but not urgent in our daily lives.

  • Getting a workout in will never feel like an urgent task on any particular day, but exercising consistently will change your health and your life.
  • Cleaning your office space or kitchen will rarely feel like an immediate need, but reducing clutter can clear your mind and reduce chronic stress.
  • Practicing the fundamentals of your craft is often boring, but when you master these core skills you begin to separate yourself from your competitors.

The tasks that are important are rarely urgent!

Temptation bundling offers a simple way to accomplish these tasks that are always important, but never feel urgent. By using your guilty pleasures pull you in, you make it easier to follow through on more difficult habits that pay off in the long-run.

 

 

I hope you enjoyed the content about procrastination?

If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments!

For more motivational stories, you can visit https://motivationbymarco.com/

Warren Buffett’s “2 List” strategy – part five

With well over 50 billion dollars to his name, Warren Buffett is consistently ranked among the wealthiest people in the world. Out of all the investors in the 20th century, Buffett was the most successful and in the following text, I will introduce you Warren Buffett’s “2 List” strategy.

Given his success, it stands to reason that Buffett has an excellent understanding of how to spend his time each day. From a monetary perspective, you could say that he manages his time better than anyone else.

And that’s why the story below, which was shared directly from Buffett’s employee to my good friend Scott Dinsmore, caught my attention.

Let’s talk about the simple 3-step productivity strategy that Warren Buffett uses to help his employees determine their priorities and actions.

The power of elimination

I believe in minimalism and simplicity. I like getting rid of waste. I think that eliminating the inessential is one of the best ways to make life easier, make good habits more automatic, and make you grateful for what you do have.

That said, getting rid of wasteful items and decisions is relatively easy. It’s eliminating things you care about that is difficult. It is hard to prevent using your time on things that are easy to rationalize, but that have little payoff. The tasks that have the greatest likelihood of derailing your progress are the ones you care about, but that aren’t truly important.

Every behavior has a cost. Even neutral behaviors aren’t really neutral. They take up time, energy, and space that could be put toward better behaviors or more important tasks. We are often spinning in motion instead of taking action.

This is why Buffett’s strategy is particularly brilliant. Items 6 through 25 on your list are things you care about. They are important to you. It is very easy to justify spending your time on them. But when you compare them to your top 5 goals, these items are distractions. Spending time on secondary priorities is the reason you have 20 half-finished projects instead of 5 completed ones.

Eliminate ruthlessly. Force yourself to focus. Complete a task or kill it.

The most dangerous distractions are the ones you love, but that don’t love you back.

The reason why our brain likes to procrastinate

Sometime around 2006, two Harvard professors began to study why we procrastinate. Why do we avoid doing the things we know we should do, even when it’s clear that they are good for us?

To answer this question, the two professors — Todd Rogers and Max Bazerman — conducted a study where participants were asked whether they would agree to enroll in a savings plan that automatically placed two percent of their paycheck in a savings account.

Nearly every participant agreed that saving money was a good idea, but their behavior said otherwise:

  • One version of the question asked participants to enroll in the savings plan as soon as possible. In this scenario, only 30 percent of people said they would agree to enroll in the plan.
  • In another version of the question, participants were asked to enroll in a savings plan in the distant future (like a year from today). In this scenario, 77 percent of people said they would agree to enroll in the plan.

Why did the timeline alter their responses so much?

As it turns out, this little experiment can tell us a lot about why we procrastinate on behaviors that we know we should do.

We have a tendency to care too much about our present selves and not enough about our future selves. We like to enjoy immediate benefits in the present, especially if the costs of our choices don’t become apparent until far in the future.

For example:

  • The payoff of eating a donut is immediate (sugar!) and the cost of skipping workouts won’t show up until you’ve skipped for months.
  • The payoff of spending money today is immediate (new iPhone!) and the cost of forgetting to save for retirement won’t show up until you’re years behind.
  • The payoff of unhindered fossil fuel usage is immediate (more energy! more heat! more electricity!) and the cost of climate change won’t reveal itself until decades of damage have been done.

However, when we consider these problems in the distant future, our choices usually change. In one year, would you rather be overweight and eating donuts or healthy and exercising consistently? In the long-run the choice is easy, but when it comes time to make the choice today, in this very moment, we discount the long-term costs and overvalue the immediate benefits of unproductive behaviors.

Behavioral economists refer to this concept “time inconsistency” because when we think about the future we want to make choices that lead to long-term benefits (“Yes, I’ll save more!”), but when we think about today, we want to make choices that lead to short-term benefits (“I’ll spend it right now.”).

I like to call this the Present Your vs. Future Your problem. Future Your know you should do things that lead to the highest benefit in the long-term, but Present Your tend to overvalue things that lead to immediate benefit right now.

Alright, so we know why we procrastinate. What can we do about all of this?

The answer to inconsistency

If you want to beat procrastination and make better long-term choices, then you have to find a way to make your present self act in the best interest of your future self.

Your have three primary options:

  1. Make the rewards of long-term behavior more immediate.
  2. Make the costs of procrastination more immediate.
  3. Remove procrastination triggers from your environment.

Let’s break down each one.

1. Make the rewards of long-term behavior more immediate. The reason why we procrastinate is that our mind wants an immediate benefit. If you can find a way to make the benefits of good long-term choices more immediate, then it becomes easier to avoid procrastination. One way to do this is to simply imagine the benefits your future self will enjoy. Visualize what your life will be like if you lose those 30 pounds. Think about why saving money now is important to your future. Pull the future payoff into the present moment in your mind’s eye.

2. Make the costs of procrastination more immediate. There are many ways to force you to pay the costs of procrastination sooner rather than later. For example, if you are exercising alone, skipping your workout next week won’t impact your life much at all. Your health won’t deteriorate immediately because you missed that one workout. The cost of procrastinating on exercise only becomes painful after weeks and months of lazy behavior. However, if you pre-commit to working out with a friend at 7 a.m. next Monday, then the cost of skipping your workout becomes more immediate. Miss this one workout and you look like a jerk.

Here are some other ways to make procrastination more costly:

  • Set a public deadline for your behavior. (“I am going to publish a new article every Monday.”)
  • Place an expensive bet on your behavior. (“For each workout I miss, I will pay my friend $50.)
  • Make a physical consequence for your behavior. (“For each dish I leave unwashed in the sink, I have to do 25 push ups.”)

3. Remove procrastination triggers from your environment. The most powerful way to change your behavior is to change your environment. It doesn’t take much guesswork to figure out why this is true. In a normal situation, you might choose to eat a cookie rather than eat vegetables. What if the cookie wasn’t there to begin with? It is much easier to make the right choice if you’re surrounded by better choices. Remove the distractions from your environment and create a space with better choice architecture.

Want to take it a step further? Your can add triggers to your environment that prompt the good behaviors.

The way forward

Each day, we are faced with hundreds of tiny decisions. The option to either take the easy way out and jump at instant gratification or to say no to temptation and commit to a long-term behavior.

These daily choices end up defining our reality. It is increasingly the distractions we avoid that define our capacity for success.

 

I hope you enjoyed the content about Warren Buffett and his “2 List” strategy?

If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments!

For more motivational stories, you can visit https://motivationbymarco.com/

Peak productivity! – fourth part

Peak productivity is something everyone wants, but few people achieve it!

In this text, we will find out why this is so?

By 1918, Charles M. Schwab was one of the richest men in the world.

Schwab was the president of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, the largest shipbuilder and the second-largest steel producer in America at the time. The famous inventor Thomas Edison once referred to Schwab as the “master hustler.” He was constantly seeking an edge over the competition.

One day in 1918, in his quest to increase the efficiency of his team and discover better ways to get things done, Schwab arranged a meeting with a highly-respected productivity consultant named Ivy Lee.

Lee was a successful businessman in his own right and is widely remembered as a pioneer in the field of public relations. As the story goes, Schwab brought Lee into his office and said, “Show me a way to get more things done.”

“Give me 15 minutes with each of your executives,” Lee replied.

“How much will it cost me,” Schwab asked.

“Nothing,” Lee said. “Unless it works. After three months, you can send me a check for whatever you feel it’s worth to you.”

During his 15 minutes with each executive, Ivy Lee explained his simple daily routine for achieving peak productivity:

  1. At the end of each work day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Do not write down more than six tasks.
  2. Prioritize those six items in order of their true importance.
  3. When you arrive tomorrow, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second task.
  4. Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.
  5. Repeat this process every working day.

The strategy sounded simple, but Schwab and his executive team at Bethlehem Steel gave it a try. After three months, Schwab was so delighted with the progress his company had made that he called Lee into his office and wrote him a check for $25,000.

A $25,000 check written in 1918 is the equivalent of a $400,000 check in 2021.

The Ivy Lee Method of prioritizing your to-do list seems stupidly simple. How could something this simple be worth so much?

What makes it so effective?

Here’s what makes it so effective:

It’s simple enough to actually work. The primary critique of methods like this one is that they are too basic. They don’t account for all of the complexities and nuances of life. What happens if an emergency pops up? What about using the latest technology to our fullest advantage? In my experience, complexity is often a weakness because it makes it harder to get back on track. Yes, emergencies and unexpected distractions will arise. Ignore them as much as possible, deal with them when you must, and get back to your prioritized to-do list as soon as possible. Use simple rules to guide complex behavior.

It forces you to make tough decisions. I don’t believe there is anything magical about Lee’s number of six important tasks per day. It could just as easily be five tasks per day. However, I do think there is something magical about imposing limits upon yourself. I find that the single best thing to do when you have too many ideas (or when you’re overwhelmed by everything you need to get done) is to prune your ideas and trim away everything that isn’t absolutely necessary. Constraints can make you better. Lee’s method is similar to Warren Buffett’s 25-5 Rule, which requires you to focus on just 5 critical tasks and ignore everything else. Basically, if you commit to nothing, you’ll be distracted by everything.

It removes the friction of starting. The biggest hurdle to finishing most tasks is starting them. Lee’s method forces you to decide on your first task the night before you go to work. In the beginning, getting started is just as important as succeeding at all.

Modern society loves multi-tasking. The myth of multi-tasking is that being busy is synonymous with being better. The exact opposite is true. Having fewer priorities leads to better work. Study world-class experts in nearly any field—athletes, artists, scientists, teachers, CEO s—and you’ll discover one characteristic runs through all of them: focus. The reason is simple. You can’t be great at one task if you’re constantly dividing your time ten different ways. Mastery requires focus and consistency.

The bottom line? Do the most important thing first each day. It’s the only productivity trick you need.

 

 

 

I hope you liked the content about peak productivity?

If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments!

For more motivational stories, you can visit https://motivationbymarco.com/

The fifteen minute routine Anthony Trollope used to write 40+ books – the third part

In the third part of the content on the topic: “The fifteen minute routine Anthony Trollope used to write 40+ books”, I will give you more valuable details that can help you achieve your goals!

Beginning with his first novel in 1847, Anthony Trollope wrote at an incredible pace. Over the next 38 years, he published 47 novels, 18 works of non-fiction, 12 short stories, 2 plays, and an assortment of articles and letters.

Trollope achieved his incredible productivity by writing in 15-minute intervals for three hours per day.

His strategy is explained in Mason Currey’s book, Daily Rituals (audio book):

“It had at this time become my custom,—and is still my custom, though of late I have become a little lenient of myself—to write with my watch before me, and to require of myself 250 words every quarter of an hour…

This division of time allowed me to produce over ten pages of an ordinary novel volume a day, and if kept up through ten months, would have given as its results three novels of three volumes each in the year…”

—Anthony Trollope

Trollope’s approach may seem simple on the surface, but there is more going on here than it may appear at first glance.

Let’s break down why this strategy allowed the author to be so productive and how we can use it in our own lives.

The problem with big projects

When it comes to getting things done, I have experienced the best results when I rank my priorities based on their true importance and do the most important thing first. Whenever possible, I believe this is the best strategy because it forces you to direct your energy to the tasks of the highest value.

There is one common problem with this approach:

After ranking your priorities for the day, if the number one task is a really big project then it can leave you feeling frustrated, because it takes a long time to finish.

Anthony Trollope, however, developed a solution to this common problem.

Bring a basket of earth to one place every day and you will make a mountain. – Confucius (K’ung Fu-tzu)

Anthony Trollope was in the business of writing books and writing a book is a big project. It is not the type of task that you can complete in a day. In some cases, merely writing a chapter is too big a task for a single day.

However, instead of measuring his progress based on the completion of chapters or books, Trollope measured his progress in 15-minute increments. This approach allowed him to enjoy feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment very quickly while continuing to work on the large task of writing a book.

This is a big deal for two reasons:

  • Small measures of progress help to maintain momentum over the long-run, which means you’re more likely to finish large tasks.
  • The faster you complete a productive task, the more quickly your day develops an attitude of productivity and effectiveness.

I have found this second point, the speed with which you complete your first task of the day, to be of particular importance for maintaining a high productive output day after day.

Hurry slowly – Latin saying

Anthony Trollope didn’t have to wait three months to feel a sense of accomplishment from completing his book nor did he have to wait three days until he finished a chapter. Every fifteen minutes he could check his progress. If he wrote 250 words, he could mentally check that time block off his list and feel a sense of immediate accomplishment.

Trollope’s 15-minute writing block was a well-designed progress meter that allowed Trollope to “get to finished” faster while still working on a big task. He received the long-term value of working on the most important things and the immediate payoff of finishing each little time block quickly.

You can employ a similar strategy for tasks besides writing, of course. For example, rather than measuring his progress on a bigger task like monthly revenue, Trent Dyrsmid tracked each sales call he made with a paper clip.

The basic idea is to design a way to get rapid feedback while working on bigger projects. The faster we get feedback that we are moving in the right direction, the more likely we are to continue moving that way.

Work for the long-term. Measure your progress for the short-term.

 

I hope you enjoyed the third part of Anthony Trollope’s content The fifteen minute routine?

If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments!

For more motivational stories, you can visit https://motivationbymarco.com/

The akrasia effect

In the summer of 1830, Victor Hugo was facing an impossible deadline. Twelve months earlier, the French author had promised his publisher a new book. But instead of writing, he spent that year pursuing other projects, entertaining guests, and delaying his work. Frustrated, Hugo’s publisher responded by setting a deadline less than six months away. The book had to be finished by February 1831.

Hugo concocted a strange plan to beat his procrastination. He collected all of his clothes and asked an assistant to lock them away in a large chest. He was left with nothing to wear except a large shawl. Lacking any suitable clothing to go outdoors, he remained in his study and wrote furiously during the fall and winter of 1830. The Hunchback of Notre Dame was published two weeks early on January 14, 1831.

The ancient problem of akrasia effect

Human beings have been procrastinating for centuries. Even prolific artists like Victor Hugo are not immune to the distractions of daily life. The problem is so timeless, in fact, that ancient Greek philosophers like Socrates and Aristotle developed a word to describe this type of behavior: Akrasia.

Akrasia is the state of acting against your better judgment. It is when you do one thing even though you know you should do something else. Loosely translated, you could say that akrasia is procrastination or a lack of self-control. Akrasia is what prevents you from following through on what you set out to do.

Why would Victor Hugo commit to writing a book and then put it off for over a year? Why do we make plans, set deadlines, and commit to goals, but then fail to follow through on them?

Why we make plans, but don’t take action!

One explanation for why akrasia rules our lives and procrastination pulls us in has to do with a behavioral economics term called “time inconsistency.” Time inconsistency refers to the tendency of the human brain to value immediate rewards more highly than future rewards.

When you make plans for yourself — like setting a goal to lose weight or write a book or learn a language — you are actually making plans for your future self. You are envisioning what you want your life to be like in the future and when you think about the future it is easy for your brain to see the value in taking actions with long-term benefits.

When the time comes to make a decision, however, you are no longer making a choice for your future self. Now you are in the moment and your brain is thinking about the present self. And researchers have discovered that the present self really likes instant gratification, not long-term payoff. This is one reason why you might go to bed feeling motivated to make a change in your life, but when you wake up you find yourself falling into old patterns. Your brain values long-term benefits when they are in the future, but it values immediate gratification when it comes to the present moment.

This is one reason why the ability to delay gratification is such a great predictor of success in life. Understanding how to resist the pull of instant gratification – at least occasionally, if not consistently—can help you bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be.

Here are three ways to overcome akrasia, beat procrastination, and follow through on what you set out to do.

Strategy 1: design your future actions!

When Victor Hugo locked his clothes away so he could focus on writing, he was creating what psychologists refer to as a “commitment device.” A commitment device is a choice you make in the present that controls your actions in the future. It is a way to lock in future behavior, bind you to good habits, and restrict you from bad ones.

There are many ways to create a commitment device. I’ve heard of athletes who have to “make weight” for a competition choosing to leave their wallets at home during the week before weigh-in so they won’t be tempted to buy fast food.

The circumstances differ, but the message is the same: commitment devices can help you design your future actions. Find ways to automate your behavior beforehand rather than relying on willpower in the moment. Be the architect of your future actions, not the victim of them.

Strategy 2: reduce the friction of starting!

The guilt and frustration of procrastinating is usually worse than the pain of doing the work. In the words of Eliezer Yudkowsky, “On a moment-to-moment basis, being in the middle of doing the work is usually less painful than being in the middle of procrastinating.”

So why do we still procrastinate? Because it’s not being in the work that is hard, it’s starting the work. The friction that prevents us from taking action is usually centered around starting the behavior. Once you begin, it’s often less painful to do the work. This is why it is often more important to build the habit of getting started when you’re beginning a new behavior than it is to worry about whether or not you are successful at the new habit.

You have to constantly reduce the size of your habits. Put all of your effort and energy into building a ritual and make it as easy as possible to get started. Don’t worry about the results until you’ve mastered the art of showing up.

Strategy 3: utilize implementation intentions!

An implementation intention is when you state your intention to implement a particular behavior at a specific time in the future. For example, “I will exercise for at least 30 minutes on (DATE) in (PLACE) at (TIME).”

There are hundreds of successful studies showing how implementation intentions positively impact everything from exercise habits to flu shots. In the flu shot study, researchers looked at a group of 3,272 employees at a Midwestern company and found that employees who wrote down the specific date and time they planned to get their flu shot were significantly more likely to follow through weeks later.

It seems simple to say that scheduling things ahead of time can make a difference, but as I have covered previously, implementation intentions can make you 2x to 3x more likely to perform an action in the future.

Fighting akrasia

Our brains prefer instant rewards to long-term payoffs. It’s simply a consequence of how our minds work. Given this tendency, we often have to resort to crazy strategies to get things done—like Victor Hugo locking up all of his clothes so he could write a book. But I believe it is worth it to spend time building these commitment devices if your goals are important to you.

Aristotle coined the term enkrateia as the antonym of akrasia. While akrasia refers to our tendency to fall victim to procrastination, enkrateia means to be “in power over oneself.” Designing your future actions, reducing the friction of starting good behaviors, and using implementation intentions are simple steps that you can take to make it easier to live a life of enkrateia rather than one of akrasia.

 

 

I hope you liked the content about the akrasia effect?

If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments!

For more motivational stories, you can visit https://motivationbymarco.com/

Motivation and habits

In the text “Motivation and habits”, I’ll explain how to build good habits and break bad ones?

What Are Habits?

Let’s define habits. Habits are the small decisions you make and actions you perform every day. According to researchers at Duke University, habits account for about 40 percent of our behaviors on any given day.

Your life today is essentially the sum of your habits. How in shape or out of shape you are? A result of your habits. How happy or unhappy you are? A result of your habits. How successful or unsuccessful you are? A result of your habits.

What you repeatedly do (i.e. what you spend time thinking about and doing each day) ultimately forms the person you are, the things you believe, and the personality that you portray. When you learn to transform your habits, you can transform your life.

In several sequels, I will explain to you what habits are, what their connection is with motivation and some other categories that are important for understanding this concept!

Procrastination – how to stop it?

Procrastination is a challenge we have all faced at one point or another. For as long as humans have been around, we have been struggling with delaying, avoiding, and procrastinating on issues that matter to us.

During our more productive moments, when we temporarily figure out how to stop procrastinating, we feel satisfied and accomplished. Today, we’re going to talk about how to make those rare moments of productivity more routine. The purpose of this guide is to break down the science behind why we procrastinate, share proven frameworks you can used to beat procrastination, and cover useful strategies that will make it easier to take action.

Let’s start by getting the basics nailed down. What is procrastination? What does procrastination mean? What exactly are we dealing with here?

What is procrastination?

Human beings have been procrastinating for centuries. The problem is so timeless, in fact, that ancient Greek philosophers like Socrates and Aristotle developed a word to describe this type of behavior: Akrasia.

Akrasia is the state of acting against your better judgment. It is when you do one thing even though you know you should do something else. Loosely translated, you could say that akrasia is procrastination or a lack of self-control.

Here’s a modern definition:

Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing a task or set of tasks. So, whether you refer to it as procrastination or akrasia or something else, it is the force that prevents you from following through on what you set out to do.

Why do we procrastinate?

OK, definitions are great and all, but why do we procrastinate? What is going on in the brain that causes us to avoid the things we know we should be doing?

This is a good time to bring some science into our discussion. Behavioral psychology research has revealed a phenomenon called “time inconsistency,” which helps explain why procrastination seems to pull us in despite our good intentions. Time inconsistency refers to the tendency of the human brain to value immediate rewards more highly than future rewards.

The best way to understand this is by imagining that you have two selves: your Present Self and your Future Self. When you set goals for yourself — like losing weight or writing a book or learning a language — you are actually making plans for your Future Self. You are envisioning what you want your life to be like in the future. Researchers have found that when you think about your Future Self, it is quite easy for your brain to see the value in taking actions with long-term benefits. The Future Self values long-term rewards.

However, while the Future Self can set goals, only the Present Self can take action. When the time comes to make a decision, you are no longer making a choice for your Future Self. Now you are in the present moment, and your brain is thinking about the Present Self. Researchers have discovered that the Present Self really likes instant gratification, not long-term payoff.

So, the Present Self and the Future Self are often at odds with one another. The Future Self wants to be trim and fit, but the Present Self wants a donut. Sure, everyone knows you should eat healthy today to avoid being overweight in 10 years. But consequences like an increased risk for diabetes or heart failure are years away.

Similarly, many young people know that saving for retirement in their 20s and 30s is crucial, but the benefit of doing so is decades off. It is far easier for the Present Self to see the value in buying a new pair of shoes than in socking away $100 for 70-year-old you. (If you’re curious, there are some very good evolutionary reasons for why our brain values immediate rewards more highly than long-term rewards.)

This is one reason why you might go to bed feeling motivated to make a change in your life, but when you wake up you find yourself falling back into old patterns. Your brain values long-term benefits when they are in the future (tomorrow), but it values immediate gratification when it comes to the present moment (today).

The procrastination – action Line

You cannot rely on long-term consequences and rewards to motivate the Present Self. Instead, you have to find a way to move future rewards and punishments into the present moment. You have to make the future consequences become present consequences.

This is exactly what happens during the moment when we finally move beyond procrastination and take action. For example, let’s say you have a report to write. You’ve known about it for weeks and continued to put it off day after day. You experience a little bit of nagging pain and anxiety thinking about this paper you have to write, but not enough to do anything about it. Then, suddenly, the day before the deadline, the future consequences turn into present consequences, and you write that report hours before it is due. The pain of procrastinating finally escalated and you crossed the “Action Line.”

There is something important to note here. As soon as you cross the Action Line, the pain begins to subside. In fact, being in the middle of procrastination is often more painful than being in the middle of doing the work. The guilt, shame, and anxiety that you feel while procrastinating are usually worse than the effort and energy you have to put in while you’re working. The problem is not doing the work, it’s starting the work.

If we want to stop procrastinating, then we need to make it as easy as possible for the Present Self to get started and trust that motivation and momentum will come after we begin. (Motivation often comes after starting, not before.)

Let’s talk about how to do that now.

Option 1: make the rewards of taking action more immediate

If you can find a way to make the benefits of long-term choices more immediate, then it becomes easier to avoid procrastination. One of the best ways to bring future rewards into the present moment is with a strategy known as temptation bundling.

Temptation bundling is a concept that came out of behavioral economics research performed by Katy Milkman at The University of Pennsylvania. Simply put, the strategy suggests that you bundle a behavior that is good for you in the long-run with a behavior that feels good in the short-run.

The basic format is: Only do (THING YOU LOVE) while doing (THING YOU PROCRASTINATE ON).

Here are a few common examples of temptation bundling:

  • Only listen to audio books or podcasts you love while exercising.
  • Only get a pedicure while processing overdue work emails.
  • Only watch your favorite show while ironing or doing household chores.
  • Only eat at your favorite restaurant when conducting your monthly meeting with a difficult colleague.

Option 2: design your future actions

One of the favorite tools psychologists used to overcome procrastination is called a “commitment device.” Commitment devices can help you stop procrastinating by designing your future actions ahead of time.

For example, you can curb your future eating habits by purchasing food in individual packages rather than in the bulk size. You can stop wasting time on your phone by deleting games or social media apps. (You could also block them on your computer.)

Similarly, you can reduce the likelihood of mindless channel surfing by hiding your TV in a closet and only taking it out on big game days. You can voluntarily ask to be added to the banned list at casinos and online gambling sites to prevent future gambling sprees. You can build an emergency fund by setting up an automatic transfer of funds to your savings account. These are all examples of commitment devices that help reduce the odds of procrastination.

Option 3: make the task more achievable

As we have already covered, the friction that causes procrastination is usually centered around starting a behavior. Once you begin, it’s often less painful to keep working. This is one good reason to reduce the size of your habits because if your habits are small and easy to start, then you will be less likely to procrastinate.

One of my favorite ways to make habits easier is to use The 2-Minute Rule, which states, “When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do.” The idea is to make it as easy as possible to get started and then trust that momentum will carry you further into the task after you begin. Once you start doing something, it’s easier to continue doing it. The 2–Minute Rule overcomes procrastination and laziness by making it so easy to start taking action that you can’t say no.

Another great way to make tasks more achievable is to break them down. For example, consider the remarkable productivity of the famous writer Anthony Trollope. He published 47 novels, 18 works of non-fiction, 12 short stories, 2 plays, and an assortment of articles and letters. How did he do it? Instead of measuring his progress based on the completion of chapters or books, Trollope measured his progress in 15-minute increments. He set a goal of 250 words every 15 minutes and he continued this pattern for three hours each day. This approach allowed him to enjoy feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment every 15 minutes while continuing to work on the large task of writing a book.

Making your tasks more achievable is important for two reasons.

  1. Small measures of progress help to maintain momentum over the long-run, which means you’re more likely to finish large tasks.
  2. The faster you complete a productive task, the more quickly your day develops an attitude of productivity and effectiveness.

I have found this second point, the speed with which you complete your first task of the day, to be of particular importance for overcoming procrastination and maintaining a high productive output day after day.

The daily routine experts recommend for peak productivity

One reason it is so easy to slip back into procrastination time after time is because we don’t have a clear system for deciding what is important and what we should work on first. (This is yet another example of the system often being more important than the goal.)

One of the best productivity systems I have found is also one of the most simple. It’s called The Ivy Lee Method and it has six steps:

At the end of each work day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Do not write down more than six tasks.

Prioritize those six items in order of their true importance.

When you arrive tomorrow, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second task.

Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.

Repeat this process every working day.

Here’s what makes it so effective:

It’s simple enough to actually work. The primary critique of methods like this one is that they are too basic. They don’t account for all of the complexities and nuances of life. What happens if an emergency pops up? What about using the latest technology to our fullest advantage? In my experience, complexity is often a weakness because it makes it harder to get back on track. Yes, emergencies and unexpected distractions will arise. Ignore them as much as possible, deal with them when you must, and get back to your prioritized to-do list as soon as possible. Use simple rules to guide complex behavior.

It forces you to make tough decisions. I don’t believe there is anything magical about Lee’s number of six important tasks per day. It could just as easily be five tasks per day. However, I do think there is something magical about imposing limits upon yourself. I find that the single best thing to do when you have too many ideas (or when you’re overwhelmed by everything you need to get done) is to prune your ideas and trim away everything that isn’t absolutely necessary. Constraints can make you better. Lee’s method is similar to Warren Buffett’s 25-5 Rule, which requires you to focus on just five critical tasks and ignore everything else. Basically, if you commit to nothing, you’ll be distracted by everything.

It removes the friction of starting. The biggest hurdle to finishing most tasks is starting them. (Getting off the couch can be tough, but once you actually start running it is much easier to finish your workout.) Lee’s method forces you to decide on your first task the night before you go to work. This strategy has been incredibly useful for me: as a blog writer, I can waste three or four hours debating what I should write about on a given day. If I decide the night before, however, I can wake up and start writing immediately. It’s simple, but it works. In the beginning, getting started is just as important as succeeding at all.

It requires you to single-task. Modern society loves multi-tasking. The myth of multi-tasking is that being busy is synonymous with being better. The exact opposite is true. Having fewer priorities leads to better work. Study world-class experts in nearly any field—athletes, artists, scientists, teachers, CEO s—and you’ll discover one characteristic runs through all of them: focus. The reason is simple. You can’t be great at one task if you’re constantly dividing your time ten different ways. Mastery requires focus and consistency.

Regardless of what method you use, the bottom line is this: Do the most important thing first each day and let the momentum of the first task carry you into the next one.

Visual cues

Another way to overcome the trap of chronic procrastination is to use visual cues to trigger your habits and measure your progress.

A visual cue is something you can see (a visual reminder) that prompts you to take action. Here’s why they are important for beating procrastination:

Visual cues remind you to start a behavior. We often lie to ourselves about our ability to remember to perform a new habit. (“I’m going to start eating healthier. For real this time.”) A few days later, however, the motivation fades and the busyness of life begins to take over again. Hoping you will simply remember to do a new habit is usually a recipe for failure. This is why a visual stimulus can be so useful. It is much easier to stick with good habits when your environment nudges you in the right direction.

Visual cues display your progress on a behavior. Everyone knows consistency is an essential component of success, but few people actually measure how consistent they are in real life. Having a visual cue—like a calendar that tracks your progress—avoids that pitfall because it is a built-in measuring system. One look at your calendar and you immediately have a measure of your progress.

Visual cues can have an additive effect on motivation. As the visual evidence of your progress mounts, it is natural to become more motivated to continue the habit. The more visual progress you see, the more motivated you will become to finish the task. There are a variety of popular behavioral economics studies that refer to this as the Endowed Progress Effect. Seeing your previous progress is a great way to trigger your next productive action.

 

 

I hope you enjoyed the content about motivation and habits?

If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments!

For more motivational stories, you can visit https://motivationbymarco.com/

 

Motivation: how to get and stay motivated?

Motivation is a powerful, yet tricky beast. Sometimes it is really easy to get motivated, and you find yourself wrapped up in a whirlwind of excitement. Other times, it is nearly impossible to figure out how to motivate yourself and you’re trapped in a death spiral of procrastination.

Instead, we’re going to break down the science behind how to get motivated in the first place and how to stay motivated for the long-run. Whether you’re trying to figure out how to motivate yourself or how to motivate a team, this page should cover everything you need to know about motivation: how to get and stay motivated?

What it is and how it works?

Scientists define motivation as your general willingness to do something. It is the set of psychological forces that compel you to take action. That’s nice and all, but I think we can come up with a more useful definition of motivation.

What is motivation?

So what is motivation, exactly? The author Steven Pressfield has a great line in his book, The War of Art, which I think gets at the core of motivation. To paraphrase Pressfield, “At some point, the pain of not doing it becomes greater than the pain of doing it.”

In other words, at some point, it is easier to change than to stay the same. It is easier to take action and feel insecure at the gym than to sit still and experience self-loathing on the couch. It is easier to feel awkward while making the sales call than to feel disappointed about your dwindling bank account.

This, I think, is the essence of motivation. Every choice has a price, but when we are motivated, it is easier to bear the inconvenience of action than the pain of remaining the same. Somehow we cross a mental threshold—usually after weeks of procrastination and in the face of an impending deadline—and it becomes more painful to not do the work than to actually do it.

Now for the important question: What can we do to make it more likely that we cross this mental threshold and feel motivated on a consistent basis?

Common misconceptions about motivation

One of the most surprising things about motivation is that it often comes after starting a new behavior, not before. We have this common misconception that motivation arrives as a result of passively consuming a motivational video or reading an inspirational book. However, active inspiration can be a far more powerful motivator.

Motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Getting started, even in very small ways, is a form of active inspiration that naturally produces momentum.

I like to refer to this effect as the Physics of Productivity because this is basically Newton’s First Law applied to habit formation: Objects in motion tend to stay in motion. Once a task has begun, it is easier to continue moving it forward.

You don’t need much motivation once you’ve started a behavior. Nearly all of the friction in a task is at the beginning. After you start, progress occurs more naturally. In other words, it is often easier to finish a task than it was to start it in the first place.

Thus, one of the keys to getting motivated is to make it easy to start.

Stop waiting for motivation or inspiration to strike you and set a schedule for your habits. This is the difference between professionals and amateurs. Professionals set a schedule and stick to it. Amateurs wait until they feel inspired or motivated.

How to get motivated (even when you don’t feel like it)

How do some of the most prolific artists in the world motivate themselves? They don’t merely set schedules, they build rituals.

Twyla Tharp is widely regarded as one of the greatest dancers and choreographers of the modern era. In her best-selling book, The Creative Habit (audio book), Tharp discusses the role rituals, or pre-game routines, have played in her success:

I begin each day of my life with a ritual; I wake up at 5:30 A.M., put on my workout clothes, my leg warmers, my sweatshirts, and my hat. I walk outside my Manhattan home, hail a taxi, and tell the driver to take me to the Pumping Iron gym at 91st street and First Avenue, where I workout for two hours. The ritual is not the stretching and weight training I put my body through each morning at the gym; the ritual is the cab. The moment I tell the driver where to go I have completed the ritual.

It’s a simple act, but doing it the same way each morning habitualizes it — makes it repeatable, easy to do. It reduces the chance that I would skip it or do it differently. It is one more item in my arsenal of routines, and one less thing to think about.

Many other famous creatives have rituals too. In his popular book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, author Mason Currey notes that many of the world’s great artists follow a consistent schedule.

  • Maya Angelou rented a local hotel room and went there to write. She arrived at 6:30 AM, wrote until 2 PM, and then went home to do some editing. She never slept at the hotel.
  • Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon writes five nights per week from 10 PM to 3 AM.
  • Haruki Murakami wakes up at 4 AM, writes for five hours, and then goes for a run.

The work of top creatives isn’t dependent upon motivation or inspiration, but rather it follows a consistent pattern and routine. Here are some examples of how you can apply ritual and routine to get motivated:

  • Exercise more consistently: Use the same warm up routine in the gym.
  • Become more creative: Follow a creative ritual before you start writing or painting or singing.
  • Start each day stress-free: Create a five-minute morning meditation ritual.
  • Sleep better: Follow a “power down” routine before bed.

The power of a ritual, or what I like to call a pre-game routine, is that it provides a mindless way to initiate your behavior. It makes starting your habits easier and that means following through on a consistent basis is easier.

The key to any good ritual is that it removes the need to make a decision: What should I do first? When should I do this? How should I do this? Most people never get moving because they can’t decide how to get started. You want starting a behavior to be easy and automatic so you have the strength to finish it when it becomes difficult and challenging.

How to make motivation a habit?

There are three simple steps you can take to build better rituals and make motivation a habit.

Step 1: A good pre–game routine starts by being so easy that you can’t say no to it.

The most important part of any task is starting. If you can’t get motivated in the beginning, then you’ll find that motivation often comes after starting. That’s why your pre–game routine needs to be incredibly easy to start.

Step 2: Your routine should get you moving toward the end goal.

A lack of mental motivation is often linked to a lack of physical movement. Just imagine your physical state when you’re feeling depressed, bored, or unmotivated. You’re not moving very much. Maybe you’re slumped over like a blob, slowly melting into the couch.

The opposite is also true. If you’re physically moving and engaged, then it’s far more likely that you’ll feel mentally engaged and energized. For example, it’s almost impossible to not feel vibrant, awake, and energized when you’re dancing.

While your routine should be as easy as possible to start, it should gradually transition into more and more physical movement. Your mind and your motivation will follow your physical movement. It is worth noting that physical movement doesn’t have to mean exercise. For example, if your goal is to write, then your routine should bring you closer to the physical act of writing.

Step 3: You need to follow the same pattern every single time.

The primary purpose of your pre–game routine is to create a series of events that you always perform before doing a specific task.

Eventually, this routine becomes so tied to your performance that by simply doing the routine, you are pulled into a mental state that is primed to perform. You don’t need to know how to find motivation, you just need to start your routine.

This is important because when you don’t feel motivated, it’s often too much work to figure out what you should do next. When faced with another decision, you will often decide to just quit. However, the pre–game routine solves that problem because you know exactly what to do next. There’s no debating or decision-making. Lack of motivation doesn’t matter. You just follow the pattern.

How to stay motivated for the long – run?

We have covered some strategies for making it easier to get motivated and start a task. What about maintaining motivation over the long-run? How can you stay motivated for good?

Imagine you are playing tennis. If you try to play a serious match against a four-year-old, you will quickly become bored. The match is too easy. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you try to play a serious match against a professional tennis player like Roger Federer or Serena Williams, you will find yourself demotivated for a different reason. The match is too difficult.

Compare these experiences to playing tennis against someone who is your equal. As the game progresses, you win a few points and you lose a few points. You have a chance of winning the match, but only if you really try. Your focus narrows, distractions fade away, and you find yourself fully invested in the task at hand. The challenge you are facing is “just manageable.” Victory is not guaranteed, but it is possible. Tasks like these, science has found, are the most likely to keep us motivated in the long term.

Human beings love challenges, but only if they are within the optimal zone of difficulty. Tasks that are significantly below your current abilities are boring. Tasks that are significantly beyond your current abilities are discouraging. But tasks that are right on the border of success and failure are incredibly motivating to our human brains. We want nothing more than to master a skill just beyond our current horizon.

We can call this phenomenon The Goldilocks Rule. The Goldilocks Rule states that humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. Not too hard. Not too easy. Just right.

Working on tasks that adhere to the Goldilocks Rule is one of the keys to maintaining long-term motivation. If you find yourself feeling unmotivated to work on a task, it is often because it has drifted into an area of boredom or been shoved into an area of great difficulty. You need to find a way to pull your tasks back to the border of your abilities where you feel challenged, but capable.

But, at the same time, we are slowly pushing our boundaries by doing tasks that bring us closer to those who are, under the signs of, “heavier” quotes!

How to reach peak motivation?

This wonderful blend of happiness and peak performance is sometimes referred to as flow. Flow is what athletes and performers experience when they are “in the zone.” Flow is the mental state you experience when you are so focused on the task at hand that the rest of the world fades away.

In many ways, we could describe flow as your state of peak motivation. You would be hard-pressed to find a state where you are more driven to continue the task you are working on.

One factor that researchers have found is linked to flow states is whether or not you are following The Goldilocks Rule we mentioned earlier. If you are working on challenges of optimal difficulty, then you will not only be motivated but also experience a boost in happiness. As psychologist Gilbert Brim put it, “One of the important sources of human happiness is working on tasks at a suitable level of difficulty, neither too hard nor too easy.”

In order to reach this state of peak performance, however, you not only need to work on challenges at the right degree of difficulty, but also measure your immediate progress. As psychologist Jonathan Haidt explains, one of the keys to reaching a flow state is that “you get immediate feedback about how you are doing at each step.”

Thus, we can say that measurement is a key factor in motivation. To put it more precisely, facing an optimal challenge and receiving immediate feedback about the progress you are making toward that challenge are two of the most critical components of peak motivation.

What to do when motivation fades?

Inevitably, your motivation to perform a task will dip at some point. What happens when motivation fades? I don’t claim to have all the answers, but here’s what I try to remind myself of when I feel like giving up.

Your mind is a suggestion engine

Consider every thought you have as a suggestion, not an order. Right now, as I’m writing this, my mind is suggesting that I feel tired. It is suggesting that I give up. It is suggesting that I take an easier path.

If I pause for a moment, however, I can discover new suggestions. My mind is also suggesting that I will feel very good about accomplishing this work once it is done. It is suggesting that I will respect the identity I am building when I stick to the schedule. It is suggesting that I have the ability to finish this task, even when I don’t feel like.

Remember, none of these suggestions are orders. They are merely options. I have the power to choose which option I follow.

Discomfort is temporary

Relative to the time in your normal day or week, nearly any habit you perform is over quickly. Your workout will be finished in an hour or two. Your report will be typed to completion by tomorrow morning.

Life is easier now than it has ever been. 300 years ago, if you didn’t kill your own food and build your own house, you would die. Today, we whine about forgetting our iPhone charger.

Maintain perspective. Your life is good and your discomfort is temporary. Step into this moment of discomfort and let it strengthen you.

You will never regret good work once it is done

Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” So often it seems that we want to work easily at work worth doing. We want our work to be helpful and respected, but we do not want to struggle through our work. We want our stomachs to be flat and our arms to be strong, but we do not want to grind through another workout. We want the final result, but not the failed attempts that precede it. We want the gold, but not the grind.

Anyone can want a gold medal. Few people want to train like an Olympian.

And yet, despite our resistance to it, I have never found myself feeling worse after the hard work was done. There have been days when it was damn hard to start, but it was always worth finishing. Sometimes, the simple act of showing up and having the courage to do the work, even in an average manner, is a victory worth celebrating.

This is life

Life is a constant balance between giving into the ease of distraction or overcoming the pain of discipline. It is not an exaggeration to say that our lives and our identities are defined in this delicate balance. What is life, if not the sum of a hundred thousand daily battles and tiny decisions to either gut it out or give it up?

This moment when you don’t feel like doing the work? This is not a moment to be thrown away. This is not a dress rehearsal. This moment is your life as much as any other moment. Spend it in a way that will make you proud.

The two types of inspiration

It’s easy to spend all day searching for inspiration. You can find incredible videos, articles, and news stories, and email them out to all of your friends. But the best (and longest lasting) type of inspiration comes from applying those outside bits of motivation to your own goals.

Make no mistake: it’s important to be a learner. Successful people in all fields soak up new information. They find inspiration and motivation in the work and success of others.

But here’s the problem: consuming the success and ideas of others is passive inspiration. Every time you watch a video, read an article, or listen to an interview, you’re practicing passive inspiration. You might learn something, but you don’t actually have to do anything. Hearing about other people’s success isn’t the same thing as creating your own.

Instead, it is through the process of active inspiration — the act of creating things, applying new ideas to our goals, and making mistakes — that we discover who we are and what is important to us. Furthermore, active inspiration is what results in long—term passion and enthusiasm. Watching someone else’s success might leave you feeling excited for a few minutes, but taking action and applying a new idea to your life will inspire you more than anything someone else could say.

Learning and listening can help you think about things in a different way, but creating, producing, and experimenting is what propels you forward. Passive inspiration can give you ideas, but active inspiration will give you momentum.

The inspiration is not the receiving of information. The inspiration is applying what you’ve received.

—Derek Sivers

If you come across a good idea, use it. We spend so much time trying to find more inspirational things to consume that it can be easy for us to forget that the best form of inspiration comes from what we create.

It’s about stumbling across a brilliant idea and bringing it to life in your work. It’s about finding a new strategy and applying it your own goals. It’s about learning a new exercise and adding it to your workout. The application of ideas will always be more powerful than the ideas themselves.

Too often we spend our lives consuming the world around us instead of creating it. Sure, there is some motivation in other people’s ideas, but don’t forget about the power your actions have to inspire you. The best inspiration comes from the application of ideas, not the consumption of them.

 

I hope you liked the text about motivation: how to get and stay motivated?

If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments!

For more motivational stories, you can visit https://motivationbymarco.com/

The life story of Nelson Mandela – freedom fighter

Nelson Mandela is a South African leader who spent years in prison for opposing apartheid, the policy by which the races were separated and whites were given power over blacks in South Africa. Upon his release from prison, Mandela became the first president of a black-majority-ruled South Africa in which apartheid was officially ended. A symbol of hope for many, Mandela is also a former winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

In the following text, I will describe the life story of Nelson Mandela, freedom fighter!

Youth and education

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born in a small village in the southeastern region of South Africa called the Transkei, on July 18, 1918. His father, Henry Mphakanyiswa, was chief of the village and a member of the royal family of the Thembu tribe, which spoke the Xhosa language. As a boy, Mandela grew up in the company of tribal elders and chiefs, which gave him a rich sense of African self-government and heritage, despite the cruel treatment of blacks in white governed South Africa.

Mandela was also deeply influenced by his early education in Methodist church schools. The instruction he received there set Mandela on a path leading away from some African tribal traditions, such as an arranged marriage set up by a tribal elder, which he refused. After being expelled from Fort Hare University College in 1940 for leading a student strike, Mandela obtained a degree from Witwatersrand University. In 1942, he received a degree in law from the University of South Africa.

Joining the ANC

In 1944 Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC), a South African political party. Since its founding, the ANC’s main goal had been to work to improve conditions and rights for people of color in South Africa. However, its fairly conservative stance had led some members to call for less timid measures. Mandela became one of the ANC’s younger and more radical leaders as a member of the ANC’s Youth League. He became president of the league in 1951.

The years between 1951 and 1960 were troubled times, both for South Africa and for the ANC. Younger anti apartheid activists (protesters), including Mandela, were coming to the view that nonviolent demonstrations against apartheid did not work, because they allowed the South African government to respond with violence against Africans. Although Mandela was ready to try every possible technique to destroy apartheid peacefully, he began to feel that nonviolent resistance would not change conditions in the end.

In 1952 Mandela’s leadership of ANC protest activities led to a nine-month jail sentence. Later, in 1956, he was arrested with other ANC leaders for promoting resistance to South Africa’s “pass laws” that prevented blacks from moving freely in the country. Mandela was charged with treason (a crime committed against one’s country), but the charges against him and others collapsed in 1961. By this time, however, the South African government had outlawed the ANC. This move followed events at Sharpeville in 1960, when police fired on a crowd of unarmed protesters.

Sharpeville had made it clear that the days of nonviolent resistance were over. In 1961 anti apartheid leaders created a semi-underground (operating illegally) movement called the All-African National Action Council. Mandela was appointed its honorary secretary and later became head of Umkhonto weSizwe (the Spear of the Nation), a militant ANC organization which used sabotage (destruction of property and other tactics used to undermine the government) in its fight against apartheid.

Political prisoner In 1962 Mandela was again arrested, this time for leaving South Africa illegally and for inciting strikes. He was sentenced to five years in jail. The following year he was tried with other leaders of Umkhonto weSizwe on a charge of high treason, following a government raid of the group’s secret headquarters. Mandela was given a life sentence, which he began serving in the maximum security prison on South Africa’s Robben Island.

During the twenty-seven years that Mandela spent in prison, his example of quiet suffering was just one of many pressures on South Africa’s apartheid government. Public discussion of Mandela was illegal, and he was allowed few visitors. But as the years dragged on, he was increasingly viewed as a martyr (one who suffers for a cause) in South Africa and around the world, making him a symbol of international protests against apartheid.

In 1988 Mandela was hospitalized with an illness, and after his recovery he was returned to prison under somewhat less harsh conditions. By this time, the situation within South Africa was becoming desperate for the ruling white powers. Protest had spread, and international pressures for the end of apartheid were increasing. More and more, South Africa was isolated as a racist state. It was against this backdrop that F. W. de Klerk (1936–), the president of South Africa, finally responded to the calls from around the world to release Mandela.

Freedom On February 11, 1990, Mandela walked out of prison. He received joyful welcomes wherever he went around the world. In 1991, he assumed the presidency of the ANC, which had been given legal status again by the government.

Both Mandela and deKlerk realized that only a compromise between whites and blacks could prevent civil war in South Africa. As a result, in late 1991, a multiparty Convention for a Democratic South Africa met to establish a new, democratic government that gave people of all colors rights to determine the country’s future. Mandela and deKlerk led the negotiations, and their efforts gained them the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. In September 1992, the two leaders signed a document that created a freely elected constitutional assembly to draft a new constitution and to act as a transition government (a government that functions temporarily while a new government is being formed). On April 27, 1994, the first free elections open to all South African citizens were held. The ANC won over sixty-two percent of the popular vote, and Mandela was elected president.

Presidency and retirement

As president, Mandela worked to ease the dangerous political differences in his country and to build up the South African economy. To a remarkable degree he was successful in his aims. Mandela’s skill at building compromise and his enormous personal authority helped him lead the transition to democracy. In an effort to help the country heal, he also backed the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission which offered amnesty (exemption from criminal prosecution) to those who had committed crimes during the apartheid era. This action helped to promote discussion about the country’s history.

Mandela retired in June 1999, choosing not to challenge Thabo Mbeki, his vice president, in elections. Mbeki won the election for the ANC and was inaugurated as president on June 16, 1999. Mandela quickly took on the role of statesman after leaving office, acting that year as a mediator in the peace process in Burundi, where a civil war had led to the killing of thousands.

Though fraught with tension and conducted against a backdrop of political instability, the talks earned Mandela and de Klerk the Nobel Peace Prize in December 1993. On April 26, 1994, more than 22 million South Africans turned out to cast ballots in the country’s first multiracial parliamentary elections in history. An overwhelming majority chose the ANC to lead the country, and on May 10 Mandela was sworn in as the first black president of South Africa, with de Klerk serving as his first deputy.

As president, Mandela established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate human rights and political violations committed by both supporters and opponents of apartheid between 1960 and 1994. He also introduced numerous social and economic programs designed to improve the living standards of South Africa’s black population. In 1996 Mandela presided over the enactment of a new South African constitution, which established a strong central government based on majority rule and prohibited discrimination against minorities, including whites.

Improving race relations, discouraging blacks from retaliating against the white minority and building a new international image of a united South Africa were central to President Mandela’s agenda. To these ends, he formed a multiracial “Government of National Unity” and proclaimed the country a “rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.” In a gesture seen as a major step toward reconciliation, he encouraged blacks and whites alike to rally around the predominantly Afrikaner national rugby team when South Africa hosted the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

On his 80th birthday in 1998, Mandela wed the politician and humanitarian Graça Machel, widow of the former president of Mozambique. (His marriage to Winnie had ended in divorce in 1992.) The following year, he retired from politics at the end of his first term as president and was succeeded by his deputy, Thabo Mbeki of the ANC.

Nelson Mandela’s later years and legacy

After leaving office, Nelson Mandela remained a devoted champion for peace and social justice in his own country and around the world. He established a number of organizations, including the influential Nelson Mandela Foundation and The Elders, an independent group of public figures committed to addressing global problems and easing human suffering. In 2002, Mandela became a vocal advocate of AIDS awareness and treatment programs in a culture where the epidemic had been cloaked in stigma and ignorance. The disease later claimed the life of his son Makgatho (1950-2005) and is believed to affect more people in South Africa than in any other country.

At the founding assembly of The Laureus World Sports Awards, May 25, 2000, the keynote address was given by Nelson Mandela! Nelson Mandela was the first Patron of Laureus. At the inaugural Laureus World Sports Awards in 2000, President Mandela said:

“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination.”

This has become the philosophy of Laureus Sport for Good and the driving force behind its work.

Treated for prostate cancer in 2001 and weakened by other health issues, Mandela grew increasingly frail in his later years and scaled back his schedule of public appearances. In 2009, the United Nations declared July 18 “Nelson Mandela International Day” in recognition of the South African leader’s contributions to democracy, freedom, peace and human rights around the world. Nelson Mandela died on December 5, 2013, from a recurring lung infection.

Fourteen inspiring Nelson Mandela quotes

 

On democracy: “It is not our diversity which divides us; it is not our ethnicity, or religion or culture that divides us. Since we have achieved our freedom, there can only be one division among st us: between those who cherish democracy and those who do not.”

On legacy: “A blind pursuit of cheap popularity has nothing to do with revolution.”

On strength: “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. I felt fear myself more times that I can remember, but I hid it behind a mask of boldness. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

On language: “It is never my custom to use words lightly. If twenty-seven years in prison have done anything to us, it was to use the silence of solitude to make us understand how precious words are and how real speech is in its impact on the way people live and die.”

On facing challenges: “Difficulties break some men but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end.”

On education: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

On parenting: “Few things make the life of a parent more rewarding and sweet as successful children.”

On determination: “Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.”

On freedom: “The truth is that we are not yet free; we have merely achieved the freedom to be free, the right not to be oppressed. We have not taken the final step of our journey, but the first step on a longer and even more difficult road. For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. The true test of our devotion to freedom is just beginning.”

On life: “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”

On morality: “Those who conduct themselves with morality, integrity and consistency need not fear the forces of inhumanity and cruelty.”

On humor: “You sharpen your ideas by reducing yourself to the level of the people you are with and a sense of humor and a complete relaxation, even when you’re discussing serious things, does help to mobilize friends around you. And I love that.”

On giving back: “A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreams of.”

On death: “Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity”.

 


I hope you liked Nelson Mendela’s biography?

If you have questions or suggestions, leave them in the comments!

For more motivational stories you can visit https://motivationbimarco.com/

 

The life story of Nikola Tesla – Serbian scientist

In this text, I will tell you the life story of Nikola Tesla, Serbian scientist and my favorite!

Nikola Tesla was a Serbian scientist, physicist and electrical engineer. He was one of the brightest minds of mankind. He is said to be the man “who invented the twentieth century” and “Prometheus of the twentieth century”.

He is the first Serb to be nominated for the Nobel Prize and after whom the international unit of measure is named. He is the author of over 700 patents, and his most important inventions are: polyphase system, rotating magnetic field, asynchronous motor, synchronous motor, Tesla’s transformer, alternating current system, etc.

Early life

He was born on July 10, 1856, in Smiljan, in the former Military Border of the Austrian Empire. Tesla’s father’s name was Milutin and he was an Orthodox priest. He loved to read and had a rich library in which the scientist spent his childhood and learned foreign languages. During his life he spoke: Serbian, English, German, Italian, French, Czech, Hungarian, Latin and Slovenian. Her mother’s name was Djuka and she was a hard-working woman from whom Nikola inherited a penchant for research life. The mother, unlike the father, experienced all the glory of her son. He had one brother, Dane, and three sisters: Angelina, Milka and Marica. It was named after his paternal grandfather. He was baptized in the Serbian Orthodox Church of St. Peter and Paul in Smiljan.

He finished the first grade in his hometown in a German primary school, and he attended the other three grades and lower real high school in Gospić, where the family moved after the accident in which Tesla’s brother Dane died. He was believed to be more capable and intelligent than Nikola.

He enrolled in the High Real High School in Karlovac, and he was tormented by the fact that he was expected to continue the family tradition and become a priest. He graduated on July 24, 1873, in a group of seven students.

He went to Gospić for the holidays and fell ill with cholera. He was very ill and then he admitted to his father that he would like to study technique. His father promised him that he would go to the best technical school, after which he recovered. He spent some time in the village with his uncle, uncle Tomo Mandić, where he gathered strength for the upcoming efforts.

In 1875, he enrolled at the Polytechnic School in Graz. He was interested in the natural sciences and spent all his free time studying. He slept four hours a day and read a large number of books, many of which he knew by heart.

It seemed to Tesla that his father was not interested in the successes he achieved, but when he passed away, the scientist found letters sent to his father by professors advising him to drop Nikola out of school if he did not want to kill himself by overwork.

During his studies in Graz, Tesla came up with the idea of creating a turning field. However, his professor did not agree and considered this impossible. He applied twice to Matica Serbian for a scholarship, but both times he was rejected. So he left Graz and cut off contact with relatives and friends.

In 1878, he started working as an assistant engineer in Maribor. He indulged in gambling, and his father barely found him and brought him home. He could not find an explanation for his son’s behavior, so he passed away the following year. Tesla worked briefly at the Gospić Real Gymnasium and enrolled at a university in Prague to fulfill his father’s wish. However, he was aware of the sacrifice his family was making, which is why he left his studies.

In 1881, he moved to Budapest and was chief telephone technician at the American Telephone Company. He invented a device that some consider to be a telephone amplifier and some to be the first speaker.

In 1882, he was employed in Paris by the Edison Continental Society. He worked as an engineer in the field of electrical equipment improvement. Having been noticed, he was recommended to Edison, who was then considered the hero of electricity. He then invented the rotating magnetic field and the inductive motor which he later constructed. He came to Gospić a few hours before his mother’s death. Since he was attached to her, it hit him hard, so he recovered for three weeks in the village of Tomingaj, her birthplace.

In 1884, Edison hired Tesla in his laboratory in New York. He soon progressed and was offered to redesign Edison’s DC generator.

By March 1885, Tesla, with the financial backing of businessmen Robert Lane and Benjamin Vail, started his own lighting utility company, Tesla Electric Light & Manufacturing. Instead of Edison’s incandescent lamp bulbs, Tesla’s company installed a DC-powered arc lighting system he had designed while working at Edison Machine Works. While Tesla’s arc light system was praised for its advanced features, his investors, Lane and Vail, had little interest in his ideas for perfecting and harnessing alternating current. In 1886, they abandoned Tesla’s company to start their own company. The move left Tesla penniless, forcing him to survive by taking electrical repair jobs and digging ditches for $2.00 per day. Of this period of hardship, Tesla would later recall, “My high education in various branches of science, mechanics, and literature seemed to me like a mockery.”

During his time of near destitution, Tesla’s resolve to prove the superiority of alternating current over Edison’s direct current grew even stronger.

Since the patents brought him a huge profit, Edison promised Tesla $50,000 when he finished everything successfully. When the scientist reminded him of that, he said that he was just joking and agreed to increase his salary by 10 dollars a week. Tesla immediately resigned and terminated the cooperation.

 

The war of the currents: Tesla vs. Edison

Recognizing the economic and technical superiority of alternating current to his direct current for long-distance power distribution, Edison undertook an unprecedently aggressive public relations campaign to discredit AC as posing a deadly threat to the public—a force should never allow in their homes. Edison and his associates toured the U.S. presenting grizzly public demonstrations of animals being electrocuted with AC electricity. When New York State sought a faster, “more humane” alternative to hanging for executing condemned prisoners, Edison, though once a vocal opponent of capital punishment, recommended using AC-powered electrocution. In 1890, murderer William Kemmler became the first person to be executed in a Westinghouse AC generator-powered electric chair that had been secretly designed by one of Edison’s salesmen.

Despite his best efforts, Edison failed to discredit alternating current. In 1892, Westinghouse and Edison’s new company General Electric, competed head-to-head for the contract to supply electricity to the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. When Westinghouse ultimately won the contract, the fair served as a dazzling public display of Tesla’s AC system.

On the tails of their success at the World’s Fair, Tesla and Westinghouse won a historic contract to build the generators for a new hydroelectric power plant at Niagara Falls. In 1896, the power plant began delivering AC electricity to Buffalo, New York, 26 miles away. In his speech at the opening ceremony of the power plant, Tesla said of the accomplishment, “It signifies the subjugation of natural forces to the service of man, the discontinuance of barbarous methods, the relieving of millions from want and suffering.”

The success of the Niagara Falls power plant firmly established Tesla’s AC as the standard for the electric power industry, effectively ending the War of the Currents.

The Tesla coil

In 1891, Tesla patented the Tesla coil, an electrical transformer circuit capable of producing high-voltage, low-current AC electricity. Though best-known today for its use in spectacular, lightening-spitting demonstrations of electricity, the Tesla coil was fundamental to the development of wireless communications. Still used in modern radio technology, the Tesla coil inductor was an essential part of many early radio transmission antennas.

Tesla would go on to use his Tesla coil in experiments with radio remote control, fluorescent lighting, x-rays, electromagnetism, and universal wireless power transmission.

On July 30, 1891, the same year he patented his coil, the 35-year-old Tesla was sworn in as a naturalized United States citizen.

Radio remote control

At the 1898 Electrical Exposition in Boston’s Madison Square Gardens, Tesla demonstrated an invention he called a “telautomaton,” a three-foot-long, radio-controlled boat propelled by a small battery-powered motor and rudder. Members of the amazed crowd accused Tesla of using telepathy, a trained monkey, or pure magic to steer the boat.

Finding little consumer interest in radio-controlled devices, Tesla tried unsuccessfully to sell his “Teleautomatics” idea to the US Navy as a type of radio-controlled torpedo. However, during and after World War I (1914-1918), the militarizes of many countries, including the United States incorporated it.

Wireless power transmission

From 1901 through 1906, Tesla spent most of his time and savings working on arguably his most ambitious, if a far-fetched, project—an electrical transmission system he believed could provide free energy and communications throughout the world without the need for wires.

In 1901, with the backing of investors headed by financial giant J. P. Morgan, Tesla began building a power plant and massive power transmission tower at his

Wardenclyffe laboratory on Long Island, New York. Seizing on the then commonly-held belief that the Earth’s atmosphere conducted electricity, Tesla envisioned a globe-spanning network of power transmitting and receiving antennas suspended by balloons 30,000 feet (9,100 m) in the air.

However, as Tesla’s project drug on, its sheer enormity caused his investors to doubt its plausibility and withdraw their support. With his rival, Guglielmo Marconi—enjoying the substantial financial support of steel magnate Andrew Carnegie and Thomas Edison—was making great advances in his own radio transmission developments, Tesla was forced to abandon his wireless power project in 1906.

Later life and death

In 1922, Tesla, deeply in debt from his failed wireless power project, was forced to leave the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City where he had been living since 1900, and move into the more-affordable St. Regis Hotel. While living at the St. Regis, Tesla took to feeding pigeons on the windowsill of his room, often bringing weak or injured birds into his room to nurse them back to health.

Of his love for one particular injured pigeon, Tesla would write, “I have been feeding pigeons, thousands of them for years. But there was one, a beautiful bird, pure white with light grey tips on its wings; that one was different. It was a female. I had only to wish and call her and she would come flying to me. I loved that pigeon as a man loves a woman, and she loved me. As long as I had her, there was a purpose to my life.”

By late 1923, the St. Regis evicted Tesla because of unpaid bills and complaints about the smell from keeping pigeons in his room. For the next decade, he would live in a series of hotels, leaving behind unpaid bills at each. Finally, in 1934, his former employer, Westinghouse Electric Company, began paying Tesla $125 per month as a “consulting fee,” as well as paying his rent at the Hotel New Yorker.

In 1931, on his seventy-fifth birthday, he appeared on the cover of Time magazine. He received the Order of the Yugoslav Crown.

In 1937, at age 81, Tesla was knocked to the ground by a taxicab while crossing a street a few blocks from the New Yorker. Though he suffered a severely wrenched back and broken ribs, Tesla characteristically refused extended medical attention. While he survived the incident, the full extent of his injuries, from which he never fully recovered, was never known.

On January 7, 1943, Tesla died alone in his room at the New Yorker Hotel at the age of 86. The medical examiner listed the cause of death as coronary thrombosis, a heart attack.

On January 10, 1943, New York City mayor Fiorello La Guardia delivered a eulogy to Tesla broadcast live over WNYC radio. On January 12, over 2,000 people attended Tesla’s funeral at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. Following the funeral, Tesla’s body was cremated at Ferncliff Cemetery in Ardsley, New York.

With the United States then fully engaged in World War II., fears that the Austrian-born inventor might have been in possession of devices or designs helpful to Nazi Germany, drove the Federal Bureau of Investigation to seize Tesla’s possessions after his death. However, the FBI reported finding nothing of interest, concluding that since about 1928, Tesla’s work had been “primarily of a speculative, philosophical, and somewhat promotional character often concerned with the production and wireless transmission of power; but did not include new, sound, workable principles or methods for realizing such results.”

In his 1944 book, Prodigal Genius: The Life of Nikola Tesla, journalist, and historian John Joseph O’Neill wrote that Tesla claimed to have never slept more than two hours per night, “dozing” during the day instead to “recharge his batteries.” He was reported to have once spent 84 straight hours without sleep working in his laboratory.

Legacy

It is believed that Tesla was granted around 300 patents worldwide for his inventions during his lifetime. While several of his patents remain unaccounted for or archived, he holds at least 278 known patents in 26 countries, mostly in the United States, Britain, and Canada. Tesla never attempted to patent many of his other inventions and ideas.

Today, Tesla’s legacy can be seen in multiple forms of popular culture, including movies, TV, video games and several genres of science fiction. For example, in the 2006 movie The Prestige, David Bowie portrays Tesla developing an amazing electro-replicating device for a magician. In Disney’s 2015 film Tomorrowland: A World Beyond, Tesla helps Thomas Edison, Gustave Eiffel, and Jules Verne discover a better future in an alternate dimension. And in the 2019 film The Current War, Tesla, played by Nicholas Hoult, squares off with Thomas Edison, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, in a history-based depiction of the war of the currents.

In 1917, Tesla was awarded the Edison Medal, the most coveted electrical prize in the United States, and in 1975, Tesla was inducted into the Inventor’s Hall of Fame. In 1983, the United States Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp honoring Tesla. Most recently, in 2003, a group of investors headed by engineer and futurist Elon Musk founded Tesla Motors, a company dedicated to producing the first car fittingly powered totally by Tesla’s obsession—electricity.

Thanks for helping the sites https://www.thoughtco.com/ and https://www.biografija.org/!

I hope you liked the biography of Nikola Tesla?

If you have questions or suggestions, leave them in the comments!

For more motivational stories you can visit https://motivationbimarco.com/