Here’s Why We Show Up for Work, But not Ourself.

The thing is, all of us go to and show up for work, even when we don't want to. But we don't show up for ourselves. The reason is consequences.

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It doesn’t make sense or add up.

Most of us have jobs. Or, at the very least, responsibilities. We don’t want to go or do them, yet we do. Why?

Most importantly, why do we not do the things that we know we should do?

You go to work because there are stakes. You go to work because there are consequences. Lack enough, and you’ll get fired. Then you’re without income and money. Your bills can’t get paid, and now you’re struggling.

It can all be traced back to deciding not to go to work. It’s a very real reality and, most importantly, a consequence.

But our job is not the only case where consequences dictate our decisions:

  • You don’t park on the double red line because you’ll get fined.
  • You don’t drive recklessly (at least I hope not) because you can lose your life or take someone else’s
  • You brush your teeth daily because otherwise, your breath will stink, and your teeth will rot.

Our issue is that we haven’t got the same consequences for ourselves. The issue is that there’s nothing at stake for a lot of what we are supposed to do.

And so, we have little to no drive to achieve what it is we want to achieve.

Nothing happens if we don’t go to the gym today. Nothing happens if we don’t take the walk you need. What’s at stake if I do or don’t read a book or reflect on myself? Are there any consequences if I just continue to do what I’ve always done and become stagnant? No.

When we don't enforce consequences, we give ourselves another option. That other option is an excuse.

We make decisions to protect ourselves from certain consequences. But if we have no consequences, there’s nothing to protect ourselves from, so we don’t make those decisions.

Fear of Loss > Need for Gain.

Here’s a tip and something that you should never forget: we’re driven by a fear of loss more than a need for gain.

Simply put, fearing something bad is a bigger motivator than anticipating something good.

When I used to do direct sales, Fridays were known as “Competition Fridays”. You’d pick your opponent for the day and agree on a forfeit on whoever made the least sales that day. Everything from money to pie to the face, from taking their tie to running around the office with no top on (the guys only).

What do you think happened to the sales on Friday?

Why would they often double? Well, because there were stakes on the line. Leaders had to maintain respect among their team. People didn’t want the embarrassment of having everyone record them while they got slapped in the face with whipped cream.

The people who go forward the furthest are those who can't go back the least.

Stakes. Consequences. Ultimatums. They sound harsh, but they’re necessary. Give yourself a price to pay.

The thing is, they don’t actually have to feel so heavy or sound boring. You can make it fun; be creative with it.

Here are some examples and ideas:

  • Announce something online and set a standard for yourself. If you say you will do something publicly, you have to follow through. Otherwise, people will see you don’t have much integrity.
  • Struggling to do your driving lessons or theory? Book your practical or theory exam. Whether you prepare or not, that test is set. Do you waste £65 and have to wait again or prepare and pass your exam?
  • Want to save? Take out how much money you want to save, go to the bank and exchange for all £50 notes. Are you really gonna break £50 unless you really have to? Or even open a limited-access savings account. So, if you take out the money, you lose the paid interest rate.

You can make them as small or big as you like. As long as it causes enough fear and discomfort to be desperate to avoid “failing”, you’re good.

Do you know what the best part is? Even if you fail and still have to face the forfeit, you would have still failed higher than you would have succeeded otherwise.

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