By Rosana Yacob
I sat in the Ritz Carlton in Malaysia waiting for Malini Saba to arrive. While I was waiting, I started talking to the concierge. He went on to tell me about how he met Saba two years ago when she first took the apartment at the Ritz. He said she was so motivated to get the best deal we had and she was relentless and we caved in.
Malini arrived and walked directly to me as if she had known me for years. She was so welcoming and warm and it put me at ease to start the conversation. I wanted to ask her what are your tips for people are out there to achieve their dreams in life.
She leaned back into the armchair and crossed her legs and replied “I have 10 things that I have lived by and I have applied my whole life.”
1. Focus on commitment, not motivation.
Just how committed are you to your goal? How important is it for you, and what are you willing to sacrifice in order to achieve it? If you find yourself fully committed, motivation will follow.
2. Seek knowledge, not results.
If you focus on the excitement of discovery, improving, exploring and experimenting, your motivation will always be fueled. If you focus only on results, your motivation will be like weather—it will die the minute you hit a storm. So the key is to focus on the journey, not the destination. Keep thinking about what you are learning along the way and what you can improve.
3. Make the journey fun.
It’s an awesome game! The minute you make it serious, there’s a big chance it will start carrying a heavy emotional weight and you will lose perspective and become stuck again.
4. Get rid of stagnating thoughts.
Thoughts influence feelings and feelings determine how you view your work. You have a lot of thoughts in your head, and you always have a choice of which ones to focus on: the ones that will make you emotionally stuck (fears, doubts) or the ones that will move you forward (excitement, experimenting, trying new things, stepping out of your comfort zone.)
5. Use your imagination.
Next step after getting rid of negative thoughts is to use your imagination. When things go well, you are full of positive energy, and when you are experiencing difficulties, you need to be even more energetic. So, rename your situation. If you keep repeating I hate my work, guess which feelings those words will evoke? It’s a matter of imagination! You can always find something to learn even from the worst boss in the world at the most boring job. I have a great exercise for you: Just for three days, think and say positive things only. See what happens.
6. Stop being nice to yourself.
Motivation means action and action brings results. Sometimes your actions fail to bring the results you want. So, you prefer to be nice to yourself and not put yourself in a difficult situation. You wait for the perfect timing, for an opportunity, while you drive yourself into stagnation and sometimes even into depression. Get out there, challenge yourself, do something that you want to do even if you are afraid.
7. Get rid of distractions.
Meaningless things and distractions will always be in your way, especially those easy, usual things you would rather do instead of focusing on new challenging and meaningful projects. Learn to focus on what is the most important. Write a list of time-wasters and hold yourself accountable to not do them.
8. Don’t rely on others.
You should never expect others to do it for you, not even your partner, friend or boss. They are all busy with their own needs. No one will make you happy or achieve your goals for you. It’s all on you. It’s all on you.
Know your three steps forward. You do not need more. Fill out your weekly calendar, noting when you will do what and how. When-what-how is important to schedule. Review how each day went by what you learned and revise what you could improve.
10. Protect yourself from burnout.
It’s easy to burn out when you are very motivated. Observe yourself to recognize any signs of tiredness and take time to rest. Your body and mind rest when you schedule relaxation and fun time into your weekly calendar. Do diverse tasks, keep switching between something creative and logical, something physical and still, working alone and with a team. Switch locations. Meditate, or just take deep breaths, close your eyes, or focus on one thing for five minutes.
“I use these as my mantra for everything I do”, explained Malini. I am never ever lazy to get up again and try it one more time. One should never be afraid of failure. I have failed many times, it’s not the amount of times you fail that matter, it’s how many times you are willing to get back up and fight for what you believe and want to achieve in your life.
It was so inspirational. As I left the interview I realized she had made me feel I can do anything I put my mind too.