Pep talk

As somebody who is self employed and works alone in his office all day, I don’t have the benefit of having somebody giving me inspiring pep talks like Chuck does in this strip. Like everything in life, it’s a two-sided coin: I have only myself to rely on for motivation. Many people who are or were self employed too, mention this as one of the biggest challenges. And it definitely is! Especially in times of the internet, where endless entertainment is only a mouse click away. On the other hand, I don’t have a boss bossing me around or coworkers who distract me. There’s no office politics either. I can be as productive as I want to be and all potential benefits of hard work accrue to me.

As for motivation: It started slowly over the years, but I have grown more and more fond of motivational books. When I was young, I was scoffing and secretly smiling at people who read self help books. Imagine that. I was a teenager and young adult who thought he knew it all already. I’m sure I must have been the only one! Anyway, now I like to read the occasional book about how to be successful or on investment etc. and even though I don’t put 95% of what I read in practice, I always feel motivated and energized after reading something like that. That feeling alone, plus the one or two lessons I do take out of a book are more than worth the money.

Some examples of simple lessons would be: “Try to remember more people’s names and faces” (Dale Carnegie – How to Win Friends and Influence People). “Don’t try to beat the market, buy an index fund.” (Burton Malkiel – A Random Walk Down Wall Street). “Eat less sugar.” (Mark Sisson – Primal Blueprint). Etc. etc. Other books I enjoyed were the “Rich Dad – Poor Dad” series or “4 hour work week”.

The latest thing I read and now try to implement is parts of, dare I say my “colleague” Scott Adams (Dilbert), new book called “How to fail at almost everything and still win big.” The big point I took out of that book was to not focus on goals (e.g. I want to lose 10 pounds (which I don’t, my weight is fine, but just as an example)), but to create systems that take willpower out of the equation (e.g. remove all sugar crap from the house and replace it with healthy snacks like nuts, so, when you do get weak, you snack healthy stuff). That way, you don’t feel like “not reaching the goal yet” with one brief moment of satisfaction when you do, but more like successfully using a system every time you apply it.

Does anybody have suggestions for other self help / motivational books? Or do you think that is all bull crap anyway?

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5 comments on “Pep talk
  1. Yuhas13 says:

    My personal favorite was from a leadership training I took while working in the Michigan Department of Corrections. Rule #5, Don’t take yourself too damn seriously. I have lived by this for the last 20 or so years, and believe it is the best “rule” I have ever heard. It fits in almost any situation, even the last prison riot I was “invited” to attend.

  2. Denton says:

    My typical pep talk to students just before a checkride is pretty simple, and it’s kind of become a good luck charm, consists of three simple words: “Don’t f*ck up.”

    I’m not one to use profanity during flight training and try my best to be as professional and objective as possible, so 99.9 times out of 10 the student doesn’t expect it, it makes them laugh, and eases their tension a little bit. Then they go on to have a successful checkride.

  3. Quill says:

    This comic reminds me of my glider checkride. My instructor had very high standards, was extremely hard to impress, and made it sound like he was recommending me with a slight chance I might pass. I didn’t feel my knowledge was as good as it should have been, especially as I didn’t have much time to study being a full time university student. I went in pretty much assuming I would fail, probably would fail the oral before even getting in the plane. Turns out it was all a lot easier than I thought it would be. I didn’t know everything, every term for every cloud type, and so on, but this exam was different from a university exam where the goal is to test if someone can 100% accurately regurgitate useless information in a vacuum, it was to see if I knew enough to be safe to fly. For example, he didn’t care I didn’t know what cloud types were called, as long as I knew what a cloud of a given appearance meant in terms of hazards or uses. It wasn’t closed book, I could use any “resources” I wanted, including books, flight manuals, internet, or even asking other pilots bumming around the shack. The flight went very well as well, passed it with ease, he seemed quite impressed.

  4. Maggie says:

    I’m a Librarian. There are some good self-help books and some not-so-good self-help books and, of course, some really bad self-help books “cough, Trudeau, Lesko, cough, cough”

  5. Johsua says:

    I usually play both parts in the checkride. My private was with a really tough examiner and I didn’t pass first time. My instrument and commercial where easy, but I got myself all worked up. The best piece of advice I ever got for taking a checkride is “don’t dig yourself a hole. And if you find yourself in a hole put the shovel down!”

    I’ll have to wait and see if I can keep it up. If I pass this next one I’ll have to start motivating other people. And survive their repeated attempts to crash the airplane.

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