The ABCs of Self Motivation

Literary Genius Mark Twain asserted, “20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do, than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore! Dream! And Discover”.

Staying motivated is not always easy. I know for me at times it can be a bit challenging. The hardest periods in my life to stay motivated are during some of life’s most difficult times or when I’m facing a pressing issue and it’s weighing on me mentally. These are times that I really have to zero in, stay focus, and remain motivated. To help with my motivation I read books, blogs, magazines, and just about anything that could feed my soul. However, I understand, not everyone can make it to a book, podcast, or magazine. For that reason, I offer you 26 quick gems to help keep you self-motivated. I offer you the ABC’s of self-motivation. Let’s begin our journey. Today declare playing average is a thing of the past. Affirm to yourself: "This year and beyond I will become and remain iconic!"

A: Avoid Negative People! 

I've said it before and I'll say again and keep saying it! A sure way to never, ever achieve your goals, dreams, and desires is to keep and remain in the company of negative people! There is nothing more emotionally and life draining than entertaining negative people. There's a guy that I'd been friends with for 20+ years. Recently I realized that it seemed as if 80 to 90 percent of our conversations were complaining conversations. After listening to him for so long, I started complaining about things I had no reason to complain about. I was on my way down negative highway, doing above the speed limit. I quickly slammed on the brakes to that friendship to keep my sanity. So I say to you, leave the negative behind because your dreams and goals can only be achieved in a positive environment.

B:  Believe in Yourself and What You Can Accomplish.

The greatest, I repeat the greatest self-crime one can commit is self depreciation. A few years ago I was told that I had a gift to speak; an ability to inspire and motivate those that would take the time and listen. For months I kept denying and brushing it away saying things like, I'm not smart enough. Asking questions such as, "Who's gonna listen to me?"  "Why would they listen to me?" Finally, after having several conversations with myself I gave it a try and took a risk on me. Since taking the risk on me and believing in myself, I have had so many amazing opportunities to speak all over the country, sharing my wisdom with non-profit organizations, corporations, mentoring groups, schools and universities. I even had an opportunity to host a daily radio motivational segment for the radio station’s morning show. Today I truly want you to take the risk and believe in yourself and always remember that you were born to succeed! 

C: Consider Things From Every Angle.

A few years ago flying back from Miami I had a layover in Charlotte. The flight from Miami to Charlotte was wonderful except, the landing! As the aircraft was preparing to land, a few feet away from the tires touching the ground, immediately we began to ascend. The entire cabin was in an uproar and so was I! Minutes later the captain says with nervousness in his voice over the PA system, “as we were preparing to land another aircraft was taking off. Therefore we have to circle around and land from a different angle”. I find life to be quite similar. There are going to be many times that your goal will need to be adjusted and a new method need to be explored. Keep in mind the old adage when frustrations try to overcome you; there is and will always be more than one way to skin a cat.

D: Don't Give Up and Don't Give In.

Years ago while living in Maryland, Kashaun Jr. enjoyed spending a lot of time with me at speaking engagements, meetings, library trips, walks around the block; just about everywhere I'd go, he wanted to be right there. There was a time he traveled with me to the radio station, he wanted to ride the bus there and back, and that's exactly what we did. The trip to and from the radio station required us taking two buses. Traveling to the station was simple. However, on the trip back home, that’s when things got a little interesting. Our first bus was seriously delayed, so we decided to walk 40 minutes to wait for the second bus. Finally making it back home, I'm exhausted and my feet are throbbing, but Kashaun Jr. is running around telling his siblings how he’d walked 40 minutes and never gave up! Even though I was extremely tired I never gave up, though the feeling was strong. I kept pushing forward. You may be tired right now. You have been journeying for quite a while now. But if you keep pushing you will to reach your destination. And when you do feel like throwing in the towel, remember these words spoken by Kashaun Cooper Jr, "I made it home because I did not give up!"

E: Enjoy Your Life

In the January 2007 issue of O magazine there was a quote stating, "I know that life is a journey I must accept and that pain and confusion are temporary. I know that if I follow my heart it will lead me where I belong."

A few years ago I was informed that a friend of mine was diagnosed with a terminal illness. I said to myself, "wow, so young. There's so much more life to be lived." Then I thought to myself, "isn't it amazing that many times we wait until we receive bad news before we decide to enjoy our life?" Truth is we only have one life to live. Not two and definitely not three. Only one so make it count. Enjoy the trees, the sun, the birds, and the breeze. Yes life can be stressful. But life was also meant to be beautiful. Moving forward whatever obstacles you go through, don't forget, as difficult as it may be to enjoy your life!

F: Family and Friends Who Support and Encourage You

Family isn't always blood. It's the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what!

Great organizations throughout history were built on the shoulders of families. Johnson & Johnson and The Mars Family. How about McDonald's, Walmart, Disney Corporation and Ford Motors. In spite of our personal opinions and feelings about these corporations, they were built on the shoulders of family and friends' support and encouragement. So remember, when the world turns its back on you leaving you feeling a little blue holding bags of disappointments and frustrations, know that it is the love and support of family and friends that continues to give you the courage to do all over again.

G: Give More Than Enough

Motivational speaker and Author Zig Ziglar asserted, "when you do more than you get paid for, eventually you'll be paid for more than you do."

Here's a little secret about me that I would like to share. I used to be the kind of person that only did enough. A 65 in school, just cleaning the common areas in the house; my life was comprised of a loaded bag of mediocre decisions that landed me in the just enough category. My model was, no more; no less just enough will suffice. Then I started to notice how I would only receive just enough out of life. Frankly, just enough didn't quite cut it anymore. Therefore to change what I was receiving I had to first change what I was sowing. Now I go over and beyond even if it takes me a little longer.

H: Hang On To Your Dreams

Franklin D Roosevelt stated, "when you get to the end of your rope tie a knot and hang on."

There's a familiar story about a man who stopped just 3 feet short of his desire. His income was earned by mining gold. As the story goes he dug and dug only to come up short. Annoyed, full of disappointment and despair he let go of his dream only 3 feet away. I’m telling you, do not give up! Don't be like the man that couldn't hang on to his dream. Make room for the champion inside of you to stand up outside of you. Keep holding on to that dream or goal. I can definitely promise you one thing that if you stay the course and fight the good fight of faith. You will indeed achieve your goal but most importantly you will come out much stronger

I: Ignore Those Who Try and Pull You Down

I'm going to use a word that's new to some, but familiar too many. Are you ready? The word is haters! These people come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. According to my best friend Google, "hater is a person who greatly dislikes a person or thing". However there is a better definition, “a hater is a person that simply cannot be happy for another person's success. So rather than be happy they make a point of exposing a flaw in that person". Does that sound familiar? I see you shaking your head. The thing is when haters start to rear their ugly head, quote my dear friend saying, "please take several seats!" Moving forward the greatest weapon against haters is simply ignoring them.

J: Just Be Yourself

During my morning reading I read a quote which stated, "be yourself, everyone else is taken." For years I struggled with and was fearful of being myself. It was so much easier to be like, look like, and act like someone other than myself. Interestingly, my self-worth was diminishing and I was extremely unhappy with myself living life as a copy. Finally after taking several smart pills it dawned on me to be myself. Here’s a quote to remember, "be yourself no matter what. Some will adore you. Some will hate everything about you. But who cares? It's your life, make the most of it."

K: Keep Trying No Matter How Difficult Things May Seem

Right now, with your permission, I would like to gently place a life altering word into the subconscious of your being. Once I do it, I'm asking that you hold on to the very essence of this word with all of your might. Here we go... the word is Faith! There's a familiar passage that sums it up stating, "we walk by faith and not by sight." In other words, everything that you truly desire to have, be, and do is going to take faith to achieve. Don't let your eye sight keep you from following your insight. And always remember that it is the man or woman with unwavering faith that accomplishes what others deem impossible! 

L: Love Yourself

In my opinion this has to be one of the most, if not the most important key to self-motivation. Listen to what Alan Cohen asserted, "to love yourself right now, just as you are is to give yourself heaven. Don't wait until you die. If you wait you die now. If you love, you live now." We as human beings can be so abusive toward ourselves. Every flaw or mistake we immediately pull out the emotional boxing gloves and begin pounding away. Stop it right now! And begin loving yourself, I mean all of yourself with all of your flaws and imperfections. Lastly, make a daily habit of looking in the mirror and saying to yourself, I love you!

M: Make Things Happen 

As I was partaking in my daily Social media newsfeed scroll, I came across a wonderful quote by my mentor Robin Sharma. He stated, "Dreams don't come true. Dreams get made true!" He went on to say, "you, I, we all have the power to get up and execute and make beautiful results happen day by valuable day." The infamous cliché that says to let things happen is delusional. To ask what happened is unfortunate. To watch things happen is costly. But to make things happen is monumental. Today declare, no matter if I feel like it or not I am going to make today count! 

N: Never Lie, Cheat, or Steal

My grandfather used to say if you lie, you cheat, if you cheat, you steal. There are people that are 100 percent turned off by liars, cheaters and thieves. I mean there is a no tolerance rule, one strike and you're out. However, for a moment I would like to submit to you another perspective. Self-lies, how many times have you told yourself that weren't good enough, or smart enough? Or simply declare to yourself that I can't do it. In doing so you've cheated yourself out of a happy life which in-turn stole your joy and peace of mind.  Lying, cheating, stealing from your fellow neighbor is one thing. But lying, cheating, and stealing from yourself is a tormented and regretful life. So today turn your back on the negative 3 amigos and embrace the truth, that you were born to succeed! 

O: Open Your Eyes

Right now, in this very moment you and I are living in the great sea of endless opportunities. But many times we fail to see them because we only use 1/4 of our vision. However, we must use all four parts of our vision collectively if we want to accomplish our goals, dreams, and live an extraordinary life. Starting with hindsight: this helps us properly access and process the past. Foresight: this helps us properly gage the future. Eyesight: this helps to keep our present footing and not lose balance. Lastly, insight: the mother of them all: Insight helps to lead and guide us through life intuitively. When all sights are combined, soon you'll be able to hold in your hands what you have seen in your heart. 

P: Practice, Practice, Practice

A few years ago my good friend Anthony McCarthy, the host of The Anthony McCarthy show on WEEA 88.9fm (Baltimore, MD radio station) asked me to be one of the honoree presenters for The NAACP Annual Freedom Fund Banquet. My job was simple, but nerve shattering. I had to read out loud in the microphone (with thousands of people staring me in my face) each honoree's biography. Do you get where I'm going with this? I was nervous as heck! The reason being, this was the very first time I've ever read out loud since learning how to read on grade level a few years prior. Thank God, the sun, moon, and stars that prior to ever knowing that I would be a presenter for such an event I was practicing reading out loud. They say practice makes perfect, but I truly think it just makes you better... 

Q: Quitters Never Win

Business Insider Website ran an article on 12 successful Entrepreneurs and the best advice they had to share. Scott Adams creator of the cartoon “Gilbert”, simply shared, "don't give up!" As non-profound as that sounds, he talked about how he submitted his work to several magazines and they all rejected his work. Disappointed with the results he packed away his drawing supplies and called it a day. One day cleaning off his desk he read a letter he received from his mentor about "not giving up", so he submitted his work again and the rest is history. To keep this simple, do as Scott Adams advice, “always remember that you will win if you do not quit”! 

R: Get Ready! Be Ready! Stay Ready! 

For the last two years I have taken the month of December to reflect on the past 11 months as well as, meditate and plan for the upcoming year. I always ask myself, Kashaun how do you want the new year to look? What does it look like by the end of the year?  Once I gather all my answers, I go to work at making it happen. For instance, I desire to have a certain amount of money saved in my savings account, but I didn't have a savings account. I know, don't judge me I should've had one already, but I do now! So now I am ready to achieve my goal. It was British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli that stated, "the secret of success in life is for a man/woman to be ready for his/her opportunity when it comes”.

S: Stop Procrastinating

Napoleon Hill said, "Life is a game board. Time is your opponent. If you procrastinate, you will lose. You must make a move to be victorious”.  Here is a question that my mentor asked me that I'm going to ask you. How are you going to play the game of life when do not know the rules? I pondered and said great question. Then I asked what are the rules? With great certainty and enthusiasm he stated, don’t procrastinate! It is amongst the top five rules of living an extraordinary life. He went on to say that the longer you wait the worse things get. So for all of us that have a tendency to procrastinate and you know who you are, remember that time can either be your greatest friend or your greatest enemy! 

T: Take Charge of Your Life

There’s an article that Success Magazine shared online titled, “30 tips to take control of your life, now!” The first tip given is, “Identify where you are stuck in your life and take the necessary steps towards getting unstuck, even if it means to push well beyond your comfort zone.” Here’s a question to ask yourself: "Who and what has prevented me from taking charge of my life? And why haven't I done so yet? Am I unsure about how and which direction to proceed forward? Or is it, I just don't know what to do and I am nervous, downright scared!" I want you know that I’ve been there before, countless times. But here’s a simple saying I want you to always remember, “in order for life to change, I must first change!”

U: Understand Others

If you listen to me long enough either in conversation, radio, my motivation cd or even have had the opportunity to read my books--you would know that success, achieving your dreams, goals, and living your purpose are topics that I absolutely love speaking about. Yes, achieving your goals and creating a purposeful life are both extraordinary feats. But truthfully, a life without true friends is an uninspired life. To experience true friends, we must first become a true friend. And we do so not by judging, but by understanding!

V: Visualize It

“See things as you want to have them, instead of as they are”. Robert Collier  

The greatest movie that you could ever see is not located in your local movie theater. Actually, it's much closer. It’s located in the state of the art, production studio of your mind. Unlike any other species on earth we have the ability to write, produce, and director of life's most spectacular mental movies. However, we can also create B rated mental movies. We can choose either a Hollywood blockbuster or the other no-name movie that no one remembers. You and I have the power through visualization to create remarkable mental movies that would get the endorsement of even the great Steven Spielberg. Our imagination is our greatest weapon. So moving forward hold on to your goal in your mind and anticipate its arrival.

W: Want Your Dreams and Goals More Than Anything

There is a famous passage that simply states, “choose ye this day whom ye will serve.”  In the great phenomenon of life in regards to achieving your audacious goals and dreams we all have two options, results or excuses. Whom will you serve? Who will have your undivided attention? Which one will have you captivated, resting in the palm of its hand? Will it be your excuses or the will to get results and make things happen? How bad do you desire to have, be, and do more? Honestly, there are some days that I desire a certain food so strongly that I can virtually taste it.  That's how bad you have to want it, that you can smell, feel, and taste it. Trust me when I say, you can have it, but you gotta want it bad enough.

X: Going The eXtra Mile

In today's society if you look around, you will see that we are surrounded by heighten levels of sameness. Though we marvel and applaud differentness. In all actuality, we tend to hibernate in our warm and cozy den of sameness. Stepping up and standing out is not always easy. In addition, many times you may get ridiculed by those around you. Nevertheless, something inside pushes and motivates you to go the extra mile. While others are asking why should we go the extra mile? You’ve taking a stand and became like the good Samaritan who asked with concern in its heart saying, if I don't go the extra mile and help my fellow neighbor what will happen to them? Always remember it is in the extra mile where champions are created and reside.

Y: You are Unique

Why fit in, when you were born to stand out!” - ~Dr. Seuss

Here’s a poem that I would like to share with you, by Walterrean Salley titled, “You are Unique”

He could've made two—

Another just like you.

But, then, He took

A second thought,

And said, 'Just one would do.'

And so, for your loveliness—

Your uniqueness too—

There is no other

Quite like you.

There's just no other quite like you.

Z: Zero in your Dreams and Goals

Often times I find myself immersed in conversations with highly ambitious individuals. They are full of excitement and enthusiasm. Many times, it seems as if an angelic glow has overtaken their body. Their posture exemplifies that of a Champion. Their speech overflows with optimism. Their vision has been set firmly upon the mountaintops. A possible observer may even suggest that this individual appears to be possessed. If true, the question is by what? The answer is focus! This person has zeroed in with pristine focus on their goal and dream. This person only uses tunnel vision, not looking to the left nor the right. Straight ahead is their only target. So, as you create your unforgettable astonishing year, remember to set goals, have faith, stay focus, and take action!   

What if I told you that you could do anything you put your mind to?  What if I told you that you are a limitless being? What if I told you that your dreams, goals, and desires to be, have and do more were given to you because you have already been equipped with the tools to make your make it a reality. Lastly, what if you all you had to do was to believe in yourself and take action!

Moving forward, utilize the ABC’s a self-motivation as your mental, emotional, and spiritual daily vitamins. And when days arise when you don’t believe in yourself know that I, Kashaun Cooper Sr. believe in YOU!