How to stay motivated?
After seeing Ravana and Mandodari asleep, Hanuman realised that he had searched the entire palace, most of Lanka and yet had not found Sita. His spirits were dampened like a campfire drenched by an evening drizzle. A depressed mind is an easy target for unwanted thoughts. He wondered if Ravana had killed Sita as she was not yielding. That meant that he failed in his mission and then he would not be able to face his friends waiting across the ocean. Hanuman also knew that if he failed to find Sita he would face the wrath of his King Sugreeva, in fact, he may punish Hanuman and his team for the failure. His team may also lose heart if he returned without any information about Sita.
Understanding the consequences of not finding Sita could be grave for many people, including Rama, Hanuman let go of his despair. He said to himself that no matter what, he will not go back as a loser. He motivated himself by telling that “only those who avoid grief are capable of actions that change the world”. Having come out of the vicious circle of negativity, he started considering alternatives. He thought he would kill Ravana and avenge Rama. He fanaticized about kidnapping Ravana and throwing him at Rama’s feet. He knew that it would not be so easy and that would not please Rama, as his aim was to find Sita and not to kill or defeat Ravana. The only way forward for him was to continue his search.
Just as he was wondering if he should search the palace again, he saw a small grove of Ashoka Trees in a corner. He entered the grove and jumped from tree to tree. The grove was filled with melodious bird calls. There were beautiful ponds and golden throne inside. This was a place that would attract the nature loving Sita he thought to himself and starting combing the grove for her presence.
Even a person who is as capable as Hanuman can lose heart at times. Losing heart is normal but not coming out of it is not. It is the ability to motivate oneself during challenging times that differentiates achievers from the rest. What Hanuman did to overcome his feeling of failure gives us a beautiful framework to motivate ourselves:
- Remove unwanted thoughts/fear: We should remember not to create imaginary ‘what-if’ scenarios and worry about them. This includes fears, lamentations, blaming our luck etc.
- Consider the consequences of failure: We should consider the most likely consequences of failures. This will draw our attention to the reasons why we cannot give our quest up.
- Think of alternatives: Once we understand how costly giving up is, we should think of various others things we can do, if we fail in this task. This is to ensure that we mitigate the negative consequences as far as possible.
- Identify the best alternative: This step determines out future course of action. We have to make sure that the alternative we choose has maximum alignment with our objective.
- Move ahead: Though this step may seem like a no-brainer, it is important that we maintain our resolve to implement the chosen alternative. Once things start rolling again we can feel our lack of motivation melting away.
This simple 5 step framework from this episode can be applied to all scenarios, but this assumes greater relevance for teams that are working in challenging projects with multiple escalations. Leaders should take care to communicate these thoughts to their teams to make sure that the motivation levels don’t dip.
Did Hanuman find Sita, what was he planning to tell her when he meets her? Wait till we find out in the next episode. Till then don’t hesitate to mail your views and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org