Ability + Motivation + Attitude

I saw this poster and immediately threw it into a blog draft document.  It was just too good to not write more on. It is so in line with what I learned about the creation of habits in the last few months.

For years I struggled trying to deal with things I wanted to change.  Set a timer, make a list, try these exercises - just nothing was working for me.  Then I discovered two books on habits that were the one-two punch I needed.  Suddenly I understood what was happening behind the scenes - cue, habit, reward, belief - and it began to make sense. I picked just one single habit I wanted to address the most and have been making incredible progress.

When I saw this poster I felt the underlying truth it shared was very similar. While it wasn't really offering what the books on habit did, I felt it offered the same rhythm, ideas you could pair together in a way that might lead to amazing results. I wanted to dive into the ideas that stirred as I read this quote over and over. 

Let's start with ability
. We all have our own unique natural abilities and talents.  Not sure what yours are?  Look at your passions.  Mine started young. I was crazy interested in other people and how they lived their lives. That got me the label of nosy. I also found I had incredible radar to feel the suffering of others around me.  I wanted to help.  Both of those came together with first interviewing and then writing.  Up to the moment I found these outlets, my talents felt like burdens. I hid them. 

Today is the day. Let go of outside voices and expectations. Get quiet. Who are you really? What interests you? What makes you sit up and take notice? If you could make a dream become reality, what would it look like? Let as many thoughts and emotions rise as you can, then start looking through them. There is a germ of an idea hidden within just waiting to see the light of day. There seed that needs planting so they can grow into their full potential.  I never thought interviewing and writing would be my future when I was young.  It was as much a surprise to me as to my family. Be widely open to any idea that arises. Who knows where it will lead.

Next comes motivation.  Being passionate about something. Feeling called is great.  BUT, yes there is a but and it's a big one!  You must be motivated enough to face the challenges.  Becoming an interviewer, a freelance writer, a co-owner of a magazine and published author after my kids were grown and gone was not easy. I had no credentials, no experience, and no time to move slowly. I had to leap into the unknown and learn in the all critical public eye. I had to create my own opportunities. It was a roller coaster - huge highs and dark lows.  What kept me going was I loved interviewing and didn't ever want it to stop. Ability without motivation will leave you stalled. You need a fire in your belly to keep on track.

The last on this poster is attitude.  I think we need to look at attitude as having two parts, a one-two punch that is the icing on the cake.  Probably the first would be your state of mind.  If you are in a negative state of mind, embracing failure as a strong possibility and constantly questioning if you are good enough or even meant to take this leap, you are destined to be paralyzed.  I have written on this often as I have found myself in that place many times.  Every one of us need to find their own best way out of this mental prison, a way that works for our own unique self. For me it was a combination of a great mentor, changing the community around me, reading positive books, meditating, writing my thoughts down and immersing myself in writing challenges.  

The second part of attitude for me is similar, but I think needs a mention on its own. This is belief.  Do you believe that change is possible. Do you believe you can embrace yourself as you are and the future you dream of? If the answer is no, then this is where you need to start.  I was there. It's a hard place. I kept slogging through it as my passion would not be denied. I am grateful for that. However, in looking back I wish I had paused to deal at least partially with my self-doubt first.  It would have been such an easier journey.

Instead of embracing this poster as ability followed by motivation followed by attitude, perhaps we can look at it as a circular occurrence.  You pick the word you most need to start on and move forward from there.  As you move around the circle from one word to the next, you start over and spiral up and up and up, like moving up a spiral staircase to the next level and then the next.  

Learning is a life long process. You never arrive. You are always becoming. Wherever you are today, in this exact moment, is where you need to begin. Bring these three words to mind and then close your eyes. Breathe. Let whatever thoughts arise come. Then settle on the word you are most drawn to and start your journey there. You can do this. 


  1. Thanks Marilyn for a great read . I am confronted in a good and exciting way.

    J. Andrew Jackson

  2. Thanks for the great read. I am confronted, in a good way .
    J.Andrew Jackson


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