Duke professor and bestselling author Dan Ariely explains what scientific research says will get you motivated and help you get more done.
My daughter was trying out for all state band over the weekend. We got there about an hour early for her to warm up her instrument and her fingers. About fifteen minutes into practicing, the fire alarm went off. I escorted her out and found a stump her a stump a bit away from the crowd. I propped up her music sheets so she could keep practicing while everyone else stood, watching the doors. “Keep practicing,” I said. After a few minutes, the fire trucks came. “Keep practicing,” I said. A few more minutes and a few more fire trucks came. My daughter looked at me and said, “I now have a reason to be nervous,” indicating the fire trucks.
“Why?” I asked. “What is the worst that could happen?”
“I don’t know. There are so many fire trucks.”
“You are not on fire. The worst that would happen is that the private school hosting the auditions would burn down. There has been plenty of warnings, so no one will get hurt. The auditions will get rescheduled, which will give you more time to practice. The only one hurt here will be the insurance companies that will have to buy the kids a new school. There is nothing to get nervous about.” I paused a moment. “Keep practicing.”
It is so normal for people to get nervous about things that won’t really affect them and are out of their control. Ask yourself what the worst thing that could happen. Prepare for that and keep practicing.
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