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Ability, motivation and attitude

October 28, 2011

This entry was written on Deepavali day (26 October 2011). Please excuse the references to the public holiday.

Today’s a public holiday. Which is good. So tonight I’m staying up to watch the Aldershot v. Manchester United League Cup 4th Round match. After the drubbing by Manchester City the other day, I need them to bounce back tonight. To be beaten 1-6 by Manchester City of all teams is like sticking the knife deep and then twisting it for good measure. Excruciating, but luckily not fatal as no vital organs were hit, just pride. I came back from KL a little bit earlier just to catch the game in JB. After City scored another 2 goals to make it 3-1, I had enough and went out for some Tutti Frutti. Not a bad way to let out some steam.

Moving swiftly on. At times all the slogging at work just wears me out. Not to mention when things don’t go your way. Just when you thought everything is going well, somehow something just finds a way to turn turtle. As such I’ll always need something to provide me the inspiration; to give me that pick me up effect if you like. The other day, while traversing through the addictive drug that is Facebook, I saw a quote a friend posted which I found to be supremely inspirational. It’s by this guy by the name of Lou Holtz. He is a retired football coach and a motivational speaker in the United States. He said this:

ABILITY IS WHAT YOU’RE CAPABLE OF DOING

MOTIVATION DETERMINES WHAT YOU DO

ATTITUDE DETERMINES HOW WELL YOU DO IT

At times in your life you come across something which make total, unequivocal sense. This quote is one of those things. We all have our own abilities in our chosen professions. I am trained in the law. That’s my chosen profession. I have always wanted to be a lawyer and I am quite happy (notice the word “quite”) with what I do now. I get a high degree of satisfaction doing what I do. I know that I have the ability to perform well as do you, I believe. But what of the ability if we do not have motivation and right attitude? I think motivation and attitude may well be more important than ability. If you have both the former qualities, you strive to learn and acquire new abilities or simply enhance what you currently have. Without them, we’ll stagnate and inevitably reach a plateau at which point there may be no turning back.

However, the strive to maintain your level of motivation is an uphill task. Along the way there could be roadblocks which would demoralise you, simultaneously decreasing your level of motivation. You may also become contented with what you have and lose the desire/motivation to go for more. Being contented is something that we must all avoid. I remember the feeling of being in my comfort zone in my previous employment. I was then reminded by a person towards whom I have the highest level of respect that I cannot possibly be in my comfort zone at the age of 36. I felt like being hit with a jackhammer at the thought. Well, you could be in your comfort zone at say, 50 (or thereabouts) but certainly not at 36! That should be the time for you to strive and struggle to achieve more than what we have now. Not being overly materialistic, just having in mind the larger interests of people.

I believe that with motivation comes the correct attitude. When you are motivated, you form a state of mind or worldview where you begin to strive and look for ways to improve. That is what having the right attitude is about. You’ll even go the extra mile to achieve your goals. I have been in that situation before and hope to experience it again. With me, it’s always a continuous conscious process of reminding myself that I need to have the motivation and the right attitude. That’s exactly why I’ve chosen to print Mr. Holtz’s quote above and pasting it on the wall of my office.

When you are demoralised, your attitude takes a nosedive and you lose all desire to improve. When that happens, you just need to get your groove back and reignite the flame (which hopefully doesn’t take too long). When I read Mr. Holtz’s quote above, I realised that motivation and attitude count towards being successful, in my career and in life in general. I’ve always focused on my ability, at times admittedly losing sight of the other 2 indispensable qualities.

I hope you’ll find the above quote as beneficial and inspiring to you as it is to me.

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