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Widow Speak

Five women talking about what grief is really like as a young widow. Thanks to Nicole at the Sydney Morning Herald for including me in this story."...

TedX - It's Time To Be Right Here

Check out my TedX talk "It's Time to be Right Here".  It starts with a story about when I was volunteer teaching in Cambodia and the school got its...

Beauty and Lace

Check out my interview with Beauty and Lace here.  We talked about putting plans in place to protect your kids, should anything happen to you.  It'...

Are You Your Biggest Cheerleader?

I was at a forum in my capital city, 1000 kilometres from my home, with property developers, mayors and other politicians.  I didn't know anyone el...

Postscript - Dying to Know Day

Thanks to Postscript for helping to start conversations about what we want to happen when we die. Check out my article they published for Dying to ...

Flamingos and Hard Work

23 Nov 2015 1:13 PM - Did you know that for a flamingo to eat, it needs to turn its head completely upside down?

When you see flamingos eating, it just looks wrong.  It can even make you feel uncomfortable. It's nothing like any other animal's idea of an enjoyable lunch.

But just because it looks or feels different, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily wrong.  I learned this myself when I realised I have my own flamingo-like reactions to exercising.

I understand the importance of exercising regularly but it’s difficult to convince myself of that every morning when the alarms goes off.  I could easily go for a quick jog in the park close to my house, but I don’t.  I wake up with good intentions, then switch off the alarm and get back to my dream. 

So I tried something different.   Now, I get up a bit earlier, start up my car and drive to a park further away.  This park is nicer, but it takes extra effort, and sacrificing of some sleep, to get there. 

I now go there nearly every day.

It’s because of the extra effort needed that I feel more satisfied from doing the exercise.  And because it’s more satisfying, I’m more likely to do it again.  That creates more motivation every morning and gets me out of bed.

There’s a study about rats who have learned the same trick about getting more satisfaction from working for their rewards.  One group of rats were given cocaine without having to do anything to earn it.  Another group had to press a lever to get the cocaine.  When they were tested later, the brain activity for the rats who had to work for their drugs showed the highest levels of dopamine.  (Check out Alex Korb’s book The Upward Spiral for more.)

I don’t think that means you need to seek out extra work for yourself.  There’s plenty of that already.  But you can look at what you’re doing now that’s not satisfying and decide how a bit of extra effort could create much more satisfying results.

And unlike the flamingo, you can keep eating your lunch the right way up.