Step #6 What Is A Forcing Function?
We all need a forcing function to spur us forward. Forcing functions are expected outcomes that we demand of ourselves. They can take various forms, from timelines to “no turning back” options. They include the rewards of pleasure and the pain of not getting it done.
Forcing functions require a delicate balance between too much and too little. They must be at a level we can tolerate, and that moves us forward yet enough to put a little stress on us to spur us to act. Too much of a forcing function, and we might become frustrated and overwhelmed—allowing us to fall into procrastination. Too little of a forcing function, and it won’t be significant enough to move us to action.
I’ve found there is a fine line between the forcing function to move you forward, and the overwhelm of feeling like you aren’t going to make it. The key is to keep pushing through to the final result. The grit of moving forward in the face of significant obstacles is a trained habit.
Here are a few forcing functions you might try to spur you to act.
Setting a deadline can be the catalyst to getting that forward momentum going. Creating a sense of urgency with a timeline can help you move forward rapidly.
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Make your goal a requirement in your mind—something that has to get done?
We have all heard the story of Cortez, the Spanish conquistador who ordered his men to “burn the boats” as a way of making sure his men were committed to their goal. This was a primary forcing function.
Focus on the thrill of ultimate victory, and recent science suggests introducing a bit of “what if I don’t get it done” thinking too. The pull of success contrasted with the agony of defeat provides a more profound forcing function in our mind. Providing a hint of the suffering of failure can spur you forward.
It is well known that we humans respond quicker and more dramatically to avoiding pain rather than seeking pleasure. Think of the consequences if it is not completed. What will you miss? How will you feel?
Emotions spark motion!
Feel the pain of not getting it done and the pleasure of completing your ultimate destiny. We are all driven to seek pleasure and avoid pain. You can use these emotions to become a goal-seeking missile, speeding relentlessly toward your target.
To help you along, you will want to set achievable daily deadlines. Doable because you will want to celebrate your progress each day. This daily celebration encourages you to achieve your clearly spelled-out daily milestone. Make it a habit to celebrate the GAIN. An excellent book called The Gap and The Gain, by Dan Sullivan with Dr. Benjamin Hardy, explains how and why this is a powerful technique.
The Pareto Principle states that roughly 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes. So, focus on the 20 percent that will get you most of the results you’re looking for.
An excellent reference on this topic is Eat That Frog, by Brian Tracy, or a short article titled What Is The Super-Cycle to Success, The Four Keys To Finding the Frick’n Fruit.
The Frog, your Focus, getting into Flow, and the Finish are vital elements to propel you toward the finish line.
Avoid Parkinson, the adage that work expands to fill the time available for its completion in going after your goal. Stay focused on the immediate things that count. Don’t seek perfection unless it is indispensable. Often, the 80% solution will provide all the rewards, so allow yourself a little leeway when it comes time to call it complete. Perfection can be the enemy of good enough.
Don’t let the world get in your way. We live in a world full of distractions; phone calls, text messages, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and hundreds of other things that can and will distract you from your goal—if you let it!. Stay focused and committed to your destination and the timeline you have set. Set up your environment to succeed. Make it happen!
Be a bit like Cortez and his men—single focused on the goal. Making your dream a must, being committed, and having a sense of urgency will move you toward your destination faster. Setting a timeline and sticking to it–these are all forcing functions that will help move you forward.
Author – Speaker – Leader - Investor
Dave spent a long and distinguished career as a pilot and leader in the United States Air Force. Along the way, he managed to obtain three graduate degrees. As an investor in the stock market for more than 37 years, Dave has seen his share of ups and downs. When Dave retired as a Colonel in 2006, he founded Razor Sharp Investments. Subsequently, he worked with an investment education company, teaching new investors how to handle their money, and then two brokerage firms doing the same thing. In 2012, Dave founded his own investment firm. Dave has always been fascinated by the question, Why do people do the things that they do? On his discovery journey, he encountered Tony Robbins. He worked with his event staff to eventually progresss through the Institute for Strategic Intervention as a coach, making him ideally suited to tackle the most formidable challenges in a relationship. Dave continues to be committed to a life of service, mainly serving those struggling in their relationships over money.
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