Millennials: finding and maintaining motivation

Millennials: finding and maintaining motivation

From the smallest projects to the largest, without motivation every project is destined for failure, we have to find and maintain it.

Staying motivated is one of the key points in life, that can allow us to reach any goal and to overcome any obstacle.

—Start

And this is borne out in the world of work: managers, of any level and type, know very well that they should keep their own workers motivated, because a motivated person works in a completely different way: they produce more and they stimulate the productivity of others. Professionals know that they have to search for the best motivation to reach their own goals in the best way, with maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

In the world of Millenials this is even more true and important! They are the up and coming generation, they have to be able to understand to the best of their ability and to manage to construct themselves to receive the testimonies of the preceding generation. The quality of what they will be capable of doing tomorrow depends on how much motivation they manage to find today.

“Motivation is thus the motor behind our actions”

The science of Project Management is rich with methods and best practices that help in planning and approving performance. Throughout the years I discovered that applying Project Management to my work not only bettered my performance but kept motivation and the desire to work very high.

Let’s read these 5 best practices together as they seem to be the most effective.

Advice 01
Choose a goal and plan for it

The true first step is that of defining a goal and understanding exactly what one intends to achieve and by what means. Once the goal is chosen, the planning phase begins.

Just like athletes visualize their goal even before reaching it, those who follow a project also have to keep their gaze fixed on the path needed to get there.

Advice 02
Put the goal on a list

In everyday life it’s easy to forget the reason behind a project, forgetting WHY, as the Americans say, and then losing sight of the final goal.

Every “WHY” defines a potential reason that allows one to continue ahead

Everyone, then, has their own style. For example, many studies show that writing by hand involves more of our brain and makes it more active and concentrated during the writing process. Really for this reason many people have a “pen memory”: writing helps to establish what is being thought about.

A best practice is making a list of all the reasons why one wants to reach a determined goal, writing them right away just like they come into one’s head. There’s a high probability that the first to emerge will be the most important and motivating ones.

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Advice 03
Creating Some Milestones

It’s difficult to stay positive and motivated when a project is far from completion. Because of this, it can be useful to define some milestones, which allow for verification of the intermediate targets that have already been achieved. Milestones are some mini-goals that make the planned path more concrete.

Often we feel overwhelmed by the sensation of having a number of impossible things to do, in a limited amount of time.

For this reason, breaking the project into very small pieces that are realistic to obtain, and ending them one at a time, can be the key.

“Eat the elephant in small pieces” 😉

Advice 04
Establishing a Strategy

Choosing a strategy is the next step, it involves the ability to adapt and be flexible (we’ll talk about these).

In the course of developing and achieving a determined project, it surely happens that one runs into an unforeseeable and unplanned occurrence: be resilient (I spoke about that here) and flexible, this is the solution.

Advice 05
Imagining “How it would be if…”

Imagining the day that one’s goal is reached happens to everyone: being seated at graduation, signing a highly desired contract, the completion of a project that we worked hard on.

Imagining that happiness, that sense of satisfaction, can increase motivation and make it easier to find it again in a moment of loss.

Motivation can be easy or difficult to trigger, it all depends on how strong and rooted the underlying motivation is, as it stands at the base of it all.

It all depends on how true, strong, and powerful our WHY is

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5 advice to get up and go after failure

5 advice to get up and go after failure

How do we make ourselves learn from our errors? Here are my 5 simple pieces of advice to get up and go after failure. 

Enjoy and share if you like!

—Start

A couple days ago I was reading an article on the life of Elon Musk, the millionaire inventor of Tesla, SpaceX, and the more recent Neuralink, and I marveled at how “human” he is, next to all of us, there’s nothing fantastical, he’s a person that made mistakes, lost battles, endured defeat.

The important detail, that differentiates him from the many and places him in Olympus of those who “change the world because they believe,” is the number of times that he reacted to adversity, he was not discouraged by negative situations, he bet on himself, he believed in his ideas and, above all, in himself.

He is one like few in the world, but those few are truly many, by now, if we consider Jobs, Gates, and many others.

As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live

[A. Einstein]

One learns from making mistakes …. Says the proverb. After failure its’ important to not give up and to try again, to keep a positive attitude and to tap into our will power and our ability for resilience. Even this is not enough if, when he try again, we continue to make the same mistakes. 

How do we make ourselves learn from our errors? Here are 5 simple pieces of advicefrom my child: 

Advice 01
Take a second to pause

Let’s take some time to distract ourselves from the problem and calm down our emotions.

Rage, delusion, frustration, and other negative feelings need to run their course, otherwise we’ll never be able to confront things with objectivity.

Advice 02
Analyze the problem

Let’s begin to analyze the reasons behind our failure from every aspect.

Let’s start from the goal that we’ve set. Is it really a total disaster? Or in trying to get 100 have we know achieved 50? 

Let’s focus on the positive facts and on the successes that we’ve obtained anyway. Otherwise, try to understand the defects in our project and in our conduct, the reasons that have brought about a negative event. 

What depends on us and what depends on things outside of us?

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Advice 03
Accept criticism

It’s hard to hear the truth.

Other people could have seen and noticed gaps or defects that we can’t manage to see, for our inexperience or because we’re too taken by enthusiasm and we have undervalued certain aspects.

Listening to constructive criticism without prejudices can give us a new point of view to resolve our problem.

Advice 04
Fill in the gaps

Having identified the negative points in our project or path, we have to resolve them.

Does it depend on our training or inexperience?

Does it depend on a superficial colleague or on an unreliable friend?

Did we act in too much hurry or overlook something?

Having filled the gaps in our project we can begin again with renewed vigor.

Advice 05
Retry

Starting again after a failure also means modifying one’s choices and changing course when needed.

It could be necessary to redefine the goal, at times scaling it down and taking a couple steps back.

In the subsequent attempts we will be stronger because we have more instruments, more knowledge, more skills, and we’ll have an even greater probability of success!

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Learning, resilience, and the “Benjamin Button” effect

Learning, resilience, and the “Benjamin Button” effect

Benjamin Button is no longer a “strange case” if you think about learning and growing as individuals and professionals.

Remember that film where the protagonist was born old and then got younger throughout the course of his life?

—Start

Today they work, at the university or at home, with the knowledge that they will have to confront the world of work without any guarantees.

They study for jobs that still don’t exist and they try to obtain skills that we still don’t know about.

Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen.

[Mark Twain]

When I say that it’s no longer a strange case, I think about my students, those of the past, present, and future.

Today they work, at the university or at home, with the knowledge that they will have to confront the world of work without any guarantees.

They study for jobs that still don’t exist and they try to obtain skills that we still don’t know about.

They study to approach the world of work of obsolete professionals.

Fig. 1 Change in the cycle of work life, premature obsolescence of skills.

Just 5 years ago, the majority of skills requested by businesses today were not necessary, workers that today are part of an integral business ecosystem didn’t exist. Students that graduated 5 years ago had to confront novelty and turmoil in the approach to a profession, whatever it may be.

Those who graduate today have to confront much more engaging challenges, they have to understand how to become “resilient,” because university training, albeit essential and irreplaceable, is no longer sufficient. Our students are already old in the world of work… young professionals pay for the untimely obsolescence of this level of competitiveness.

One no longer studies to become a mechanical engineer at Fiat Avio (as I used to dream of being) or to be an accountant. Today, at university, one studies to create solid fundamentals of a structure that will be constantly renovated, brick by brick, for the entirety of one’s professional life. Not a defined future, it’s true, but an integral, interesting, unique future, if they manage to become “resilient,” as I was saying.

Fig. 2 new cycle of work life, updating skills often.

The concept of resilience is particularly apt for today’s students, it’s made up of the “ability of an individual to confront and overcome a traumatic event or a period of difficulty”, both constant difficulties and those of various intensities, but a true professional, either young or old, can overcome and win if he just manages to be resilient.

How does one become resilient? I often tell my students, it requires, among other things (studying, for example), applying six simple “mental resistance techniques”.

Advice 01
Eat the elephant

Most importantly, One bite at a time, without haste and with abundance, without improvising but by studying the world, the method.

Confront the problem, analyze it, study it, plan a strategy and put it into action.

Divide the goal into sub-goals and then into activities, homework, and singular actions. It will seem more simple, ordered, and doable.

Advice 02
Visualize your success

Vivid and detailed. Use all of your senses, imagine the particulars, making it as real as possible.

Repeat it. Mentally train, without training, one never wins! Make everything automatic.

Think positive. There’s no room for negative thoughts. Thinking positive reinforces the conviction in your actions.

Imagine the consequences. Imagine what would happen, if you win or lose. What would happen to you internally?

Advice 03
Control emotions

Use the Marines’ example, they use the 4 by 4 for 4 technique (Charles Chu – Better Humans):

  • Breath in for 4 seconds
  • Breath out for 4 seconds
  • Repeat for 4 minutes

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Advice 04
Decrease control over external events

Think about the way in which you interpret external events.

Therefore, having visualized your way of interpreting them, change the interpretation. Try to change your point of view on the negative aspects.

Look at negative events like a challenge to overcome, when you’ve overcome it, you’ll be better for it!

Advice 05
Small victories

Celebrate victories, even small ones!

Taste them, feel them, express your joy, seize the energy. Flash a big smile and stay ready for the next challenge!

Advice 06
Find your tribe

Surround yourself with positive people, people that look at the world in a different way than you do. People to talk with, debate with, analyze different points of view with.

Choose people that make you better, that are proactive, that have some virtues. Often these people are really the kind of people that do not love frequently but that can open your mind!

In conclusion, there are those who say that the University isn’t worth it, that one needs to study on the Internet, that the classic methods of training are obsolete, that, if anything, University is a second thought.

I agree, university has to be reviewed, rethought, re-planned (if they will let us do it), but I suggest to those gentlemen to be careful about the difference between culture and concept, between knowledge and skill.

Continuous learning? Certainly, absolutely yes! On the internet? Sure, if it’s structured with the right methodology. But let’s not forget the case of Button, they are born old for the world of work, they get younger only by capitalizing on years of university and forging their own character by obligation, always keeping their goals present.

There will be no good professionals without a well-formed university education and a large dose of resilience (that has to also include the predisposition to continuous training).

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Resilience, 5 tips to survive in a liquid society

Resilience, 5 tips to survive in a liquid society

Resilience can mean the difference between losing your cool and managing your pressure. It refers to how well we can manage the difficulties of life and job.

Resilient people seem to be born with the ability to overcome setbacks with relative ease and survive in this “liquidsociety, as Bauman was telling us in his books.

—Start

A couple days ago I was at lunch, on a beautiful Sunday in March, passing time with my siblings, nieces, and nephews.

Watching the children play, I was shocked by how different we are as children in confronting problems and in being amazed by simple things. They are amazed by everything and they have fun with everything, with a game using only their hands or with the color of a marker, they confront difficulties with joy, they find fun in debates, they want to win at any cost, but they laugh and they smile, no stress, no phony strategy, no jealousy, if they win or lose, it doesn’t matter, they begin again!

And then? What happens to us when we stop playing and we compare ourselves with society, “liquid society” as Bauman described it?

Social stratification reflects a market that’s always in motion, that changes quickly, and matures the level of our competencies at a much slower rate than what we need to construct them at, it’s absurd!

According to a study by the European Center for Professional Training, obsolescence of competencies is emphasized in western societies that are maturing. It affects 31% of workers between the age of 50 and 55, with percentages that go from 23% in Finland to 32% in Hungary, while it decreases to 21% for people between the age of 30 and 39. Such a phenomenon could be a natural consequence of aging. However, older workers or those in their “silver years” are also at risk of economic obsolescence of competencies. The survey observed that around 19% of workers between 50 and 55 years old believe their own competency to be exceeded by the technological developments of the last two years.

Without speaking about industrial, economic, and social consequences due to new “waves” like Industry 4.0 it’s necessary to keep up with the times, constantly staying up-to-date and competent to be able to be desirable to the world of work.

“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient”
[Steve Maraboli]

But how? I believe that the concept of Resilience is useful in this context. I am convinced that, today more than ever, one needs to be resilient, that is knowing how to confront and overcome a traumatic event or a period of difficulty drawing on our capacity to adapt to situations, novelty, and change.

There are a couple techniques that we can talk about: some are evergreen, while others are more avant-garde. Let’s go through them together:

Advice 01
Reading

Reading is traveling and traveling means having experiences and experiences are resilience!

This shouldn’t be misunderstood. Reading for the sake of reading is a wonderful pastime, but the competencies acquired by reading the Harry Potter series, or by tens upon tens of romance novels will not be so great.

The genre one should dedicate themselves to is “non-fiction,” or really to any books that don’t recount a story, but that teach one how to solve problems. Some authors? Kiyosaki, Lok, Robbins, and Rohn, to cite a few.

The idea is to immerse oneself inside positive worlds that bring with them some practical advice to confront economic, relational, and work life.

Literature is an indispensable instrument, if one wants to grow their own competencies.

Advice 02
Training ourself in a ubiquitous way

Training is resilience.

How many of us would like to learn without the limits of space or time, without needing to go to a classroom from 3pm to 5pm on Wednesdays and Fridays? How much would we like to choose what is best for us, trying things, changing ideas and changing course? How much would we like to have a debate with qualified people, professionals other than teachers, someone that has really put their hands in the pasta and has experience in the field? 

Well, why not think about online learning portals that proliferate on the web (and APP), like UdemyQuoraCreativeLive, EdX, etc. There are even some in Italy and in Italian and they are spreading quickly.

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Advice 03
Actively attend seminars

Knowing is one thing, touching it with your hand is another.

Seminars are an important path towards the acquisition of new abilities, because they help tie the theory studied through books, long distance training and other materials, to practice. Not only this but participating in live events will contribute to the creation of one’s own relational network and will allow for human interaction that’s impossible to get over the internet.

Knowledge means resilience.

This will open up professional opportunities both for the present and for the future and is a guaranteed ticket to never be alone in the market.

In fact, professional isolationism is not a good strategy and, even if it allows one to focus for a brief time on one’s goals, avoiding distractions that human relationships can bring, in the long term one will feel the absence of connections, because of the way the contemporary market works.

Advice 04
Put yourself in the game

Having learned the theory that’s behind a competency, it’s fundamental to put yourself in the game and touch the field with your hand.

When you have competence in something, you have resilience in life.

This doesn’t mean only participating in masterminds or seminars, but is concerned with, in a more general sense, researching opportunities in which to put this new competency into practice.

For example, after learning a language, one can attend linguistic cafes or bars where foreign languages are spoken, in order to keep up training and confirm if one is able to keep up a conversation.

Advice 05
Focus

Focus on your personal development means focus on your entire life. This focus gives you resilience.

What is really important in your personal development? Personal development is a lifelong process—which is why it is sometimes described as ‘lifelong learning’. In practice, although it can be hard to remember this, this means you do not have to do everything at once.

Use your personal vision to identify what really matters now — what you have to do first to achieve your vision — and concentrate on that.

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