Life has certain “buttons” that boost your power and the quality of your journey, they are called incentives. These come in two forms, positive and negative, the carrot and the stick.

Their roots are inherent in our basic instinct to survive where the subconscious part of the mind when faced with life threatening situations decides instantly and with total commitment whether to Fight or Flee. That instinct is still strong within us but has been made less prevalent by the reduction in the risk factor in our lives and has to a certain extent been replaced with the two persuasive voices of like and dislike.

Incentives are important because they fuel our motivation, the driving force that moves us towards the fulfilment of our goals. Without motivation we have no desire to act and a goal remains a dream only. We all have goals in life, even if that is a passive one, for instance wanting a quieter life, or simple happiness. Sometimes life will allow you such things but more often than not a rudderless ship will take you wherever the wind and currents dictate – better to be at the helm of your ship with a firm hand on the wheel and an eye on the compass.

It is remarkable how many people do not take charge of their lives, allowing others to dictate what they should do. There is a “herd” instinct inherent in man –probably a leftover from our early evolutionary status when we were still close to the animal kingdom, of which we are a part. We feel safety in numbers and group together to follow the strongest leader in the herd, motivated by food and shelter, for protection and direction. In modern times, the leaders of humanity tend to seek power and glory, closely followed by riches of a material kind. It is rare that such individuals, or governments, have the interests of others at heart. Actually, it would be far better for individuals to ‘take responsibility’ for everything in their lives and to be their own ‘leaders’. By allowing others to dictate what you should do is an ‘opt out’ of taking responsibility for your own life, this approach rarely works.

The answer is simple, take control and reinforce your life goals with incentives that feed our motivation. By doing so we put the energy we need into achieving our aim. When choosing a goal, make it a good one that is in harmony with life’s all pervasive flow towards Oneness. That imperative is a voyage of discovery we must all make in our own ways.

But to make a start on that journey and keep putting one foot in front of the other we need to be disciplined, at first on a mental level and then on a physical one. Like a horse that has a human rider needs a harness and prompting from the rider to get it going in the right direction. If more speed is needed, the spurs are used to ‘gee up’ the pace. If the horse likes the look of the green grass off the chosen route, the rider needs to pull it back on track.

Incentives help us to do this. A combination of the two forms is best; something to encourage us and something to discipline us – to ensure that we remember the consequences of straying from the path. The positive methods are the most vital as this is where our main focus should be. Do not dwell on negatives, it gives them power. Give that power to the solutions not the problem. Keep your life happy, not sad. Be active, not passive. Mankind is naturally lazy so we have to work to earn things of value, you will not be given anything for free. If you wish to succeed, make a plan and stick to it.

As you move out of your comfort zone, you may experience the emotion of fear. Fear is actually your friend not your enemy. It is a signal to your conscious mind to take care, to focus, it heightens your senses, makes you function at your optimum levels giving you the strength and energy to meet your challenges.

Take confidence in the fact that you are not given any test in life that you cannot pass, that would be pointless. You can succeed if you believe and have hope that Yes I can do itI This is called self-belief and it does work – as you think, so you become. One of the most profound and shortest of aphorisms was made by the great Spiritual Master Lao Tse as follows “To Be – Do.”  Turn theory to action and it will happen, it has to, maybe not immediately but time is irrelevant to success, getting there is the crucial part.

The road travelled is the means by which you experience the journey and it may not be as straight and smooth as you would like. There may be obstacles and you might get lost, but you cannot become a Saint without first being a sinner, there is no such thing as a bad experience, it is all essential. There is no such thing as bad karma,  only lessons, and teaching not punishment. Rise above ignorance and the light of Wisdom will guide you. Keep your incentives positive, believe they will work and take one step at a time. Then your plan will work.

If you want a ‘short cut’ on your life journey, a ‘super-highway to the stars’ use a guide to show you the way. This guide may be a book of Truth written by someone who knows and has been down the road you are travelling. Better still find the person who wrote the book and follow them in person. Let`s watch for the simple signs along the road that will tell you that you are on the right route.

They act as confirmation that you are on track and in turn you can use this as further incentive to make your journey through life a good one. We are all travellers along the Way, but we are not alone, someone or something built the road and placed the sign-posts along the route and gave you the vehicle in which you travel. Now there`s an incentive for you!

Tony Perrott

Spiritual Life Coach

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