Rewarding Yourself For Good Behavior.
Do you know anyone that just has no attention span or patience with much of anything? Someone that even reading beyond one sentence in a newsletter seems like a challenge?
I’m going to share with you a little mind hack that I use to keep me attentive while painting. This is one of the ways I can stare at the same painting for weeks or months at a time. It’s something you can implement into your life today.
I was recently at dinner with a close friend and he was telling me how he doesn’t read.
“Why?”, I asked.
“Because my mind wanders too much.“…”So I do audiobooks instead“, he says.
But he admitted, even those are hard to pay attention to.
Can I be honest with you? This used to be me too. My ability to keep my mind on one thing used to suck and I didn’t read much until my twenties.
I was that fidgety kid in class who’d get lost as the teacher spoke. If I was born a decade or so later, I’m sure I would have been given some prescription meds with some three or four letter condition. Was something wrong with me though? No. I was a kid. Those conditions, I think are oftenB.S. but that’s for another debate.
I still find my mind wandering. I still feel that urge for distraction when I’m in the middle of something, but I’ve found some ways to combat this.
In the last newsletter, I spoke about the importance of meditation. Meditating helps me become aware of when the mind-chatter starts. Meditating daily helps brings me back to the present moment more easily.
Today, I’d like to tell you about another trick up my sleeve that I wrote extensively about this in my upcoming book. The idea of incentivizing your work.
When I’m painting, I incentivize my activities.
There have been some large and detailed paintings that seemed overwhelming to begin or stick with. Yet in my head, I convinced myself that I would make some outlandish amount of money upon successfully finishing the piece. Or I focus o the positive emotions that I’ll feel when I do well.
This is like an adult version of getting a lollypop after going to the doctor. Do what’cha gotta do and get rewarded.
I use my imagination to play games to make the work seem worth it. By focusing on the positive emotions of how it will feel to complete a painting or a book, I become more motivated to stick with it.
By playing pretend and creating a carrot at the end of the stick, I find that I’m always moving forward. This coupled with increasing my awareness through meditation or yoga, for instance, is a powerful combination.
If we’re being honest with ourselves, the reason we usually don’t stick with things isn’t that you’re just the type of person that doesn’t do ______. It’s because things don’t seem important enough to you.
Have a reward waiting for you (real or imagined) and see what happens. You deserve that lollypop but not until you’ve been a good boy or girl.