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  • Writer's pictureMarilyn & Al Sargent

Who is Driving Your Bus?

"I'm bored…” “I am so frustrated…!” “I don’t know what to do…” “Is this ever going to end?”

Do any of these statements sound familiar, either from yourself or from those in your inner circle of friends and family? Here is one way you can more successfully motivate yourself and influence others, even in difficult times.

The number one goal is to be sure you are in charge of you! It’s not possible to control what goes on in the world, our community, or even our loved ones. The only person we can control is ourselves! So, if you are bored - it’s within your power to turn things around!

The following are some helpful communication strategies to get you back into the driver’s seat of your life. In your brain, there is a continuum of perspective that influences your ability to be proactive or motivated:

Motivation Strategy

⬅︎ Moving Away from Danger…… ⚖ …… Going Toward Pleasure

We need both perspectives to be safe and to accomplish our goals - note the balance scales in the middle.

When you state/acknowledge/decide about something, you do not want - that’s what the brain will focus on; it’s the only visual image created. Once the danger has been identified, to have more chance of getting what you do want, you must state/declare/imagine/decide what you want in as much detail as possible. Your brain now has a visual representation of the goal or results you want. Now there is a direction to move forward.

The brain cannot hold two visual concepts at the same time:


“Think of a pink elephant with green tennis shoes.”

“Now, don’t think of a pink elephant with green tennis shoes.”

The brain only has one image to focus on - a pink elephant with green tennis shoes - and that may not be what you want to manifest!

Whether your first thought is moving away from danger or moving toward what you want - both need to be acknowledged in order to be clear on the goal and aware of the possible dangers or downsides.

Thankfully, our amazing brain is set up with a practical division of labor:

  • The right hemisphere takes care of your creativity, imagination, your sense of your self-image, ideas, or desires for now and in your future.

  • The left hemisphere is tasked with keeping you safe from past, present, or future danger. It’s alert to what is wrong, what was wrong that you do not want to happen again, and what might possibly go wrong in the future.

The strongest temporary motivator is a threat or danger. If you don’t know what you do want, the trap is that once you are away from the danger, the doldrums of inaction can let you fall into a bad habit, procrastination, or depression. On the other hand, if a goal is not juicy enough, or is not clearly defined enough, you may still not be excited about taking action.

Suggestion for a new practice or discipline to motivate self or others:

1. Whenever you hear yourself say something that you don’t want, or want to stop doing, or focusing on the negative or danger - fully acknowledge that perspective and find out what is essential. Get the details from your left hemisphere.

2. Then shift to the right hemisphere of the brain to create a visual image and internal voice identifying what you do want and the benefits of having your goal.

3. The next step is to make a step-by-step action plan of how to successfully manifest your goal and a target timeline for accomplishing the plan.

4. Begin with the first step. Be ready to adjust your plan as new information is presented. Keep on keeping on. Seek reliable help and or guidance as needed. Pause along the way to give yourself a pat on the back for progress made, encourage yourself to continue, and evaluate if there are any changes necessary in the plan.

Here are some typical examples of the language of each perspective:

Away from: ⚖ Toward a goal:

I don’t want to be poor I want to be financially stable

I want to stop procrastinating I want to take action

I don’t want to smoke anymore I want to be healthy

I want to lose weight I want to be slimmer

I’m so bored! What would be fun to do?

The next challenge is to be more specific. The brain is not able to take action if we are too “fluffy” or general. It is important to be clear, detailed, and factual.

Using the above examples - here are more balanced and specific directions for the brain that will have a much better chance of leading you to safer and more positive results.

Away from thought, then creating a Toward results goal

Away from:

“I don’t want to struggle every month to pay the bills.”

Toward results:

“I want to increase my salary by getting a better job within six months.”

Away from:

“I don’t want to get left behind because I didn’t buy my ticket on time.”

Toward results:

“I will put a reminder in my phone in plenty of time to call for my ticket.”

Away from and Towards in one sentence:

“I want to stop smoking and coughing because I want to be healthy and be able to go hiking more easily.’

“I want to release 20 pounds so I can fit into my clothes better and have more energy for my sports.”

“I am really so tired of not having any direction or something to do! Let me check out some ideas for something that would feel great to learn, build, play, or accomplish!”

Have fun with this, and give yourself encouragement along the way toward having a more proactive life and achieving your goals!

For more information about learning how to use your brain to get the results you want,

please contact Marilyn and Al Sargent at 310-729-5664 or check out our web site at

Success Design International

Life Strategy Coaching and Business Consulting

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