Making decisions that ‘push’ or ‘pull’ you

When you feel ‘pulled’ by something you want, you are naturally motivated and it’s a different feeling in the body to being ‘pushed’ or forced to do something.

I was watching a YouTube video of motivational speaker, Anthony Robbins describing how there’s a difference between making a decision or change in your life that feels like a “push” rather than a “pull”.

He said when we push ourselves to do something, it feels like “hard work” and it probably requires willpower, which is a finite source that can be depleted.

Hence, our chances of success might lose momentum over time in comparison to making decisions that “pull” you toward your goals.

When we feel “pulled” by something we really want, we are naturally motivated and it’s a different feeling in the body.

We are innately and inwardly excited about reaching our goals, despite the obstacles we might face. We may even become unstoppable in finding creative ways to make them materialise.

I’m sure you’ve been there before. Didn’t you ever have a crush on someone in school where you felt “pulled” or compelled to find a way to make contact or spend more time in their presence?

Yet, spending time doing something or being around someone you didn’t really want to spend time with can feel like hard work or a real drag.

It’s the same for people in a job they don’t love, or remaining in a relationship you no longer want to be in. It would feel like you’re just existing or waiting for time to pass, rather than being engaged and fully present.

Find your purpose in life

I once met an angel investor who said after numerous successful investments, that he felt “empty” despite making so much money from them. It took a couple of years and loads of trial and error to find out why he did not feel fulfilled.

He had always thought that his dream was to retire by the age of 50. When he managed to achieve this, he was content for the first five or six months and he was already starting to invest in various businesses.

Despite healthy returns from the companies he was investing in, he started to feel he lacked a greater purpose in life.

He was not waking up with a drive to achieve anything because he had no involvement in the day-to-day operations of the companies he invested in.

He started to miss the excitement of the chase of really loving his mornings and feeling motivated to succeed at something so he began to invest in his own ideas.

Once you realise your purpose in life, you can let your goals ‘pull’ you towards achieving them.

Many of them were social enterprises and he wanted to be in the middle of all the action and creative brainstorms because the problems they were trying to solve were real-life issues and he enjoyed being around a team of people who really wanted to make a difference.

The moment we follow what makes us feel alive, we start to make decisions that naturally “pull” us rather than “push” us to achieve our goals.

It’s worth spending some deep quality time alone and digging a bit deeper to find out what really rocks your world.

But what happens when you feel you have no choice but to do things that are beneficial for you or linked to survival but they feel like a “push”? This could be anything from holding on to your job, to cutting down on your sugar intake?

Find your greater mission in life

As it so happens, I met an inspirational Canadian woman on my travels who used to be in the corporate line.

She said her ultimate goal was to travel the world and to not be confined to just 14 days of leave every year because she wanted to experience different cultures, different countries, study various courses or skill sets and she even dreamed of being a volunteer in Africa to help children in poverty.

However, in order to live this sort of life, she knew she needed to be financially free.

So she started to develop a meticulous plan of action that took her eight years to execute. She wanted to pay off her house to cut through her housing debt, which meant she had to save as much money as she possibly could every month.

When all her friends were out partying, she was at home conserving cash, studying courses online and not buying any branded clothes because every penny she managed to save was serving a greater goal and bringing her one step closer to financial freedom.

By the time I met her in a yoga class in India, she was still so young but already semi-retired, and she had developed a system where she only needed to work for six months in a year, and she was free to travel for the rest of the year.

She had already paid off her house in full so she had no mortgage or bills to worry about, and she finally quit her corporate job but amassed enough skill sets along the way to teach or do part time jobs in Canada to keep her afloat for the rest of her life.

I was so impressed at how she had designed her exit from the corporate world because she was not after more promotions or more money. She needed more time and more freedom in her life.

So, we first need to identify what really “pulls” us, and it’s different for everyone but once you know what your greater mission is, it will give you a sense of purpose and drive, even if you need to take challenging measures to “push” yourself to get there.

Jojo Struys is a regional TV host, speaker and wellness personality. She is also the founder of OhanaJo Studio, Malaysia’s largest yoga and sound healing space.