100 Ways to Motivate Yourself : Change Your Life Forever by Steve Chandler, chapter name 15-16-17. Light your lazy dynamite , Choose the happy few, Learn to play a role

15-16-17. Light your lazy dynamite , Choose the happy few, Learn to play a role

15. Light your lazy dynamite

Henry Ford used to point out to his colleagues that there wasn't any job that couldn't be handled if they were willing to break it down into little pieces.

And when you've broken a job down, remember to allow yourself some slow motion in beginning the first piece. Just take it slow and easy. Because it isn't important how fast you are doing it. What's important is that you are doing it.

Most of our hardest jobs never seem to get done. The mere thought of doing the whole job, at a high energy level, is frequently too off-putting to allow motivation to occur.

But a good way to ease yourself into that motivation is to act as if you were the laziest person on the planet. (It wasn't much of an act for me!) By accepting that you're going to do your task in a slow and lazy way, there is no anxiety or dread about getting it started. In fact, you can even have fun by entering into it as if you were in a slow-motion comedy, flowing into the work like a person made of water.

But the paradox is that the slower you start something, the faster you will be finished.

When you first think about doing something hard or overwhelming, you are most aware of how you don't want to do it at all. In other words, the mental picture you have of the activity, of doing it fast and furiously, is not a happy picture. So you think of ways to avoid doing the job altogether.

The thought of starting slowly is an easy thought. And doing it slowly allows you to actually start doing it. Therefore it gets finished. Another thing that happens when you flow into a project slowly is that speed will often overtake you without your forcing it. Just as the natural rhythm inside you will get you in sync with what you are doing. You'll be surprised how soon your conscious mind stops forcing the action and your subconscious mind supplies you with easy energy.

So take your time. Start out lazy. Soon your tasks will be keeping the slow but persistent rhythm of that hypnotic song on Paul McCartney's

Red Rose Speedway album, "Oh Lazy Dynamite."

The dynamite is living inside you. You don't have to be frenzied about setting it off. It lights just as well to a match struck slowly.

16. Choose the happy few

Politely walk away from friends who don't support the changes in your life. There will be friends who don't. They will be jealous and afraid every time you make a change. They will see your new motivation as a condemnation of their own lack of it. In subtle ways, they will bring you back down to who you used to be. Beware of friends and family who do this. They know not what they do.

The people you spend time with will change your life in one way or another. If you associate with cynics, they'll pull you down with them. If you associate with people who support you in being happy and successful, you will have a head start on being happy and successful. Throughout the day we have many choices regarding who we are going to be with and talk to. Don't just gravitate to the coffee machine and participate in the negative gossip because it's the only game in town. It will drain your energy and stifle your own optimism. We all know who lifts us up, and we all know who brings us down. It's okay to start being more careful about to whom we give our time.

In his inspiring book Spontaneous Healing, Andrew Weil recommends: "Make a list of friends and acquaintances in whose company you feel more alive, happier, more optimistic. Pick one whom you will spend some time with this week."

When you're in a conversation with a cynic, possibilities seem to have a way of disappearing. A mildly depressing sense of fatalism seems to take over the conversation. No new ideas and no innovative humor. "Cynics," observed President Calvin Coolidge, "do not create." On the other hand, enthusiasm for life is contagious. And being in a conversation with an optimist always opens us up to see more and more of life's possibilities. Kierkegaard once said, "If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never."

17. Learn to play a role

Your future is not determined by your personality. In fact, your personality is not even determined by your personality. There is no genetic code in you that determines who you will be. You are the thinker who determines who you will be. How you act is who you become.

Another way of seeing that might be contained in these related thoughts from Star Trek's Leonard Nimoy: "Spock had a big, big effect on me. I am so much more Spock-like today than when I first played the part in 1965 that you wouldn't recognize me. I'm not talking about appearance, but thought processes. Doing that character, I learned so much about rational logical thought that it reshaped my life."

You'll gather energy and inspiration by being the character you want to play.

I took an acting class a few years ago because I thought it would help me deal with my overwhelming stage fright. But I learned something much more valuable than how to relax in front of a crowd. I learned that my emotions were tools for me to use, not demonic forces. I learned that my emotions were mine to work with and change at will. Although I had read countless times that our own deliberate thoughts control our emotions, and that the feelings we have are all caused by what we think, I never trusted that concept as real, because it didn't always feel real.

To me, it felt more like emotion was an all-powerful thing that could overcome my thinking and ruin a good day (or a good relationship). It took a great acting teacher, Judy Rollings, and my own long struggles with performing difficult scenes to show me that my emotions really could be under the complete control of my mind. I found out that I could motivate myself by thinking and acting like a motivated person, just as I could depress myself by thinking and acting like a depressed person. With practice, the fine line between acting and being disappeared.

We love great actors because it seems like they are the characters they play. Poor actors are those who can't "be" their part and therefore don't convince us of their character's reality. We hoot at those people. We call it bad acting.

Yet we don't realize that we ourselves miss the same opportunities in life when we can't "be" the person we want to be. It doesn't take authentic circumstances to be who you want to be. It just takes rehearsal.