Category

Motivation

Extrinsic Motivation: What Is It and What Are the Benefits?

By | Food for thought, mindset, Motivation, self, self-development, success

Motivation is the “why” behind human behavior. It is the energy to act, the driving force behind the things we do. 

Without this energy and desire comes a lack of inspiration, or the feeling of being unmotivated. This can lead to procrastination, a general lack of vitality, as well as less willingness to grow or seek out new and challenging opportunities. 

Human motivation is intertwined with self-development and psychology. Within the field of psychology, motivation is separated into two categories: extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation

Intrinsic motivation can be described as doing an activity for its inherent satisfactions rather than for some separable consequence or from fear of negative outcomes. 

Extrinsic motivation refers to an engagement in activities due to the influence of outside factors, or “extrinsic motivators,” rather than doing them for the simple feeling of satisfaction they bring. 

Examples of extrinsic motivation might include studying for a test because a fail would force you to repeat a grade, or working out early in the morning before work in order to fit into a wedding dress. Unlike intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivators are not done for their own sake.

Although studies have found intrinsic motivation to be a more effective form of motivation, extrinsic motivation has a wealth of benefits as well. In recent years, more and more studies have found its value… when used skillfully.

In this article, we’ll explore the subtleties of extrinsic motivation before providing tips on how to integrate these insights into your life. Not only will this give you a clear overview of the “why” of your behavior, it will offer steps to boost your motivation in all areas of life. What more motivation do you need to read on?

What is the definition of extrinsic motivation?

The APA Dictionary of Psychology defines extrinsic motivation as “an external incentive to engage in a specific activity, especially motivation arising from the expectation of punishment or reward (e.g., completing a disliked chore in exchange for payment).”

Extrinsic motivation is tied to the outcome. The activity isn’t performed from enjoyment itself, but because of the result the action will bring. Studies in behavioral psychology have long associated motivation with the dynamic of reward and punishment — where it was assumed people are incentivized to avoid pain or pursue some form of pleasure. 

However, recent research has shown the truth is more complex. Self-determination theory, created by Edward Deci and Richard Ryan (who created the categories of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation) explains motivation as existing on a spectrum. Extrinsic motivation is separated into four groups:

  • External regulation (external): Activities are carried out purely to satisfy external demands, such as requests from a boss or instructions from a teacher, or for external rewards. It lacks freedom or willingness.
  • Introjected regulation (somewhat external): Activities carried out due to external pressure, such as avoiding feelings of guilt or shame, or looking to attain ego-enhancements or pride. Although internally driven (and psychological in nature), it still feels restrictive or lacking willingness. 
  • Identified regulation (somewhat internal): This action is more autonomous, due to finding personal importance in an activity. For example, a child studying for a spelling test because they see the overall value of writing. Although requests or demands to act are external, identified regulation has an element of willingness due to an interest in personal growth.
  • Integrated regulation (internal): This is the overlap between extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation. Integration occurs when someone has fully internalised extrinsic factors, and now takes on the activity fully as their own. This is the most desirable form of extrinsic motivation.

These behaviors move up the scale in terms of how much the person experiences a sense of freedom or autonomy in their behaviour. The first feels completely outside of control, the last feels harmonious, and borderline intrinsic. In experimenting with these above types of extrinsic motivation, Ryan and Connell (1989) referred to this scale as the “continuum of relative autonomy.” 

The value of extrinsic motivation, then, is related to this degree of autonomy.

The difference between internal and external motivation

extrinsic motivation
(Seiya Kawamoto/Getty)

To be clear, extrinsic isn’t the same as external

Not all rewards are located in the outside world, but rather, exist as inner experiences or feelings. Internal rewards are psychological, while external rewards are tangible, such as money or a certificate of study. Intrinsic motivation is driven by internal reward, including the joy of the task alone. Extrinsic motivation can be driven by internal rewards, external rewards, or a mix of both.

If you’re on the path of self-development and are interested in exploring the reasons behind your behavior, noticing this difference requires reflection and self-awareness. That’s because it might appear you’re intrinsically motivated, when in reality, there is confusion between the internal reward you’re expecting to receive once the task is complete.

Using some personal data as an example, I’ve noticed there have been times where I’ve written articles that, unconsciously, I was looking for some form of validation or praise. It wasn’t my only motivation to write (it’s a practice I find highly rewarding). But at times, when I write a piece that I’m proud of, and the response is less than expected, I become aware of my inner desire for external rewards.

The creative process can be a liberating and joyful experience. But once that creative work is released into the world, the ego can hijack the process, and seek acclaim.

Extrinsic motivators: a closer look

The most common example of extrinsic motivation with a tangible reward is working for money. Many people work in jobs they don’t love due to the guarantee of a paycheck at the end of the month, with the salary, and the security it provides, being enough incentive to turn up each day and work. In terms of internal rewards, or psychological rewards, someone might work in a role due to its acclaim, status, or respect.

A modern form of extrinsic motivation is FOMO — or fear of missing out. During the worldwide lockdowns and restrictions during 2020, FOMO wasn’t much of an issue. Yet now things are opening up, it becomes easier to feel a subtle pull to keep up to speed with what others are doing. Social media shows a constant reel of people’s lives and everything they’re up to. FOMO is the motivation to take part, even if it’s an activity or experience you’re not internally motivated or enthusiastic about.

Although it’s a slang term, FOMO has genuine consequences on wellbeing and behavior. Due to its rise in recent years, FOMO has been scientifically researched, with one study finding it to be “identified as a meaningful extrinsic motive.” Although FOMO is a relatively new phenomenon, acting to maintain self-image, or fit in socially, is part of the human DNA. Ryan and Deci refer to this as ego involvement, “in which a person performs an act in order to enhance or maintain self-esteem and the feeling of worth.”

Extrinsic motivation is also linked to social media and modern smartphones. Our devices and apps are filled with external rewards that provide dopamine hits — think of “likes” on social media, or design techniques, such as the infinite scroll, that keep your attention. Chamath Palihapitiya, the former VC of growth at Facebook, went as far as to express guilt because “the short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works.”

When it comes to people behaving the way they do, with mental clarity and a strong sense of connection, it’s unlikely most people would choose to spend hours upon hours browsing Facebook or Instagram. Yet once in those feedback loops, the extrinsic rewards affect motivation by getting you hooked to a burst of feel-good chemicals or social validation.

More on extrinsic rewards

Extrinsic rewards aren’t always negative, and their role in motivation is often complex. Think of a student studying to get good grades. If it’s a subject they don’t like, there’s a chance they won’t find much joy in studying itself. Yet the outcome of getting good grades, and progressing in the academic ladder, is enough to make the extrinsic reward a solid motivation.

Like all aspects of human behavior, there are many layers involved. It’s not as straightforward as motivation being intrinsic or extrinsic or motivated internally or externally. There is overlap. For example, in a work setting, someone may be motivated to work extra hard to receive a financial bonus (external reward). They may also have the desire to receive praise from their boss (internal reward). The work they’re doing could be aligned to their values, too, making it intrinsically rewarding.

Another daily example is completing a chore — such as taking out the rubbish or cleaning the flat — which is motivated by the sense of satisfaction that will result once the job’s done. It’s rare these activities are enjoyable. But it’s part of life that there are many occasions in which we have to work through unpleasant, boring, or mundane tasks.

Extrinsic and intrinsic motivation: the benefits

In our article on intrinsic motivation, we explored why having intrinsic interest in taking an action is more effective for success over the long run, rather than relying on external factors. Research and peer reviewed studies into motivation has found this to be the case, and much more effective than the approach of avoiding punishment and chasing rewards. Studies find that extrinsic motivation is effective short-term, but loses its impact over longer periods of time.

However, extrinsic motivation isn’t useless. The relationship between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is known as “synergistic combination.” There is a sweet spot, where the internal and external elements of motivation combine and enhance each other — think of the example above, of someone working for the satisfaction of the job, plus the desire to receive a financial bonus.

It’s unrealistic to expect to enter a flow state all day, every day, and to feel intrinsically motivated to carry out every activity. If we waited to feel an inner desire, it’s likely we’d end up procrastinating on many tasks. So while extrinsic motivation isn’t as effective long-term, the short-term effects can be harnessed, under the right circumstances.

There’s a significant difference between relying purely on extrinsic motivation for a full-time job or study, compared to being extrinsically motivated to carry out certain undesirable tasks. A good example of this is treating yourself when you’ve completed a certain task. For example, “once I’ve written 1,000 words, I’ll have a cookie.” Or “if I do my tax returns, I’ll book myself a massage.” And so on.

As long as you’re not using these techniques all the time, their short-term effects can be used skilfully. And keep in mind the four types of extrinsic motivation and the scale of autonomy. You want to avoid external regulation as much as you can and aim for identified regulation and integrated regulation. It’s not quite intrinsic mutation, but the more autonomy in a task, the more fulfilment.

How to make the most of extrinsic motivation in 5 steps

So, how can you implement this knowledge? How can you find the sweet spot of synergy, and move towards implementing the best kind of extrinsic motivation? What is the best way to stay motivated? Below are 5 takeaways from the above research, distilled into practical tools:

1. Examine your motivation inventory

Earlier, I mentioned that extrinsic motivations can be confused with intrinsic motivations. The first step is to examine your motivation inventory, which means looking at all the areas of life in which you take action, and building clarity around the “why” of your behavior.

When looking across the different areas of your life, consider what motivates you. Are there activities that are clearly intrinsically motivated, those you’d do for free in your spare time? Are there obligations or areas in which you’re extrinsically motivated, but lack inner enthusiasm?

This examination also boosts your self-awareness. It allows you to take more conscious control of the way you’re acting. You begin to notice the whys behind your behavior, which gives you the chance to change.

2. Explore what needs to be changed

Once you have examined your motivations, and where they reside on the spectrum, the next step is to see what needs to be changed. What enhancements can you make? Are there adjustments in your approach? Do you need to swap some external motivators  for more intrinsically motivated ones? For example, quitting a class you don’t find interesting, and replacing that with an activity you find internally rewarding. 

Are there areas of life where you’re constantly taking action due to introjected regulation, to avoid guilt or to find praise? Are there certain areas of life where you feel you’re only acting because of external pressure? People-pleasing is a common cause of acting outside of what feels fully aligned for the sake of ego involvement. 

When reflecting on your motivation inventory, consider what actions you’re doing because of others, and consider letting them go.

3. Adjust your mindset

Integrated regulation demonstrates that it’s possible to internalize a cause, even if the motivation starts externally. For example, internalizing the goals and ethos of a company. This is a shift in mindset, rather than a change in environment. To adjust your mindset to maximize integrated regulation, consider how the activity aligns with your core values.

For example, you might work in a job where the work itself isn’t exciting. You could consider a job with different challenges, of course. But are there other options? Could it be that you’re part of a great team, and your values of connection and supporting others adds a level of intrinsic motivation to do your job well?

This step is designed to look below the surface to discover causes you can connect to, to make what you do more fulfilling and enjoyable. A student might connect with the values of learning, a churchgoer might connect to values of community, even when these acts in themselves aren’t particularly enjoyable.

4. Use extrinsic rewards skillfully

I used the example of writing 1,000 words and earning a cookie earlier. This is a practice that can be used to boost motivation (and… eat cookies). You’re bargaining with yourself, but it does work. If there are areas in life where you’re struggling or procrastinating, consider setting up extrinsic rewards to give you a boost.

Word of caution: this isn’t to be overused. I had a friend who once used the extrinsic reward of a pint of beer and a takeaway after successfully going to gym class! You can see the issue there. So consider, how can I maximize rewards and use them intelligently? 

Using extrinsic rewards for motivation doesn’t have to be a daily occurrence. It could be that you work hard for a few weeks and get ahead with your projects, feel satisfied with the levels of productivity and self-discipline, and take a weekend vacation, or completely “switch off.”

5. Know what you want from life

This last step is really the foundation for all of the above. I’ve mentioned core values and self-awareness. It goes without saying, inner clarity around what is meaningful, what motivates you, and what your values are is crucial in order to orientate yourself and know when you’re on the right track.

In today’s society, it’s easy to be motivated extrinsically. Without awareness, the default setting is to act in accordance with social or cultural demands, or peer pressure. You might feel motivated to get ahead, be a success, even if it doesn’t feel quite right. This can keep you in a rut, chasing money or praise without examining the underlying why.

With added clarity, you’ll know what you want. Then you can understand your deepest motivation, or what your Big Why, and gradually align your life with that.

In conclusion

The beauty is, once aligned, motivation takes care of itself, and it builds momentum. When momentum builds and motivation flows, that’s when you start to believe in chasing your dreams. You’re almost exactly where you need be. Take the first step.

https://www.goalcast.com/2021/08/03/extrinsic-motivation/

Liam Payne Reveals The Reason Why One Direction Was More Toxic Than It Seemed

By | Food for thought, Inspiring Celebrities, Liam Payne, Motivation, One Direction, stories, toxic

Was being part of One Direction as phenomenal and glorious as it seemed?

Even the most skeptical of audiences can confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt that the group is one of the most influential musical acts of all time. Not only did they singlehandedly revive the boyband model that had gone stagnant since the nineties, but they essentially laid the groundwork for how modern fandom operates. 

The admiration among the public was unparalleled. 1D commanded colossal, crazed audiences everywhere they went, complete with hordes of preteen girls screaming, crying, and fawning over their every move. Its members — Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, and Zayn Malik — and their seamless dynamic inspired so many inappropriate fantasies, ‘shipping’ wars, and neurotic discourse that it transformed the nature of celebrity for good. 

Though the group is technically on hiatus, it’s universally accepted that they’re not likely to get back together anytime soon. The silver lining is that this does grant each member ample time and space to reflect on their experience with a fresh perspective. As it turns out, being in One Direction wasn’t a walk in the park. 

Liam Payne said the group’s success was “dumb luck” and that he was “pissed” most of the time

Liam Payne discussed One Direction’s near-cosmic success in a revealing interview with Men’s Health Australia. He’d only been sixteen when he, along with the four others, were handpicked to form a band in the music competition series The X Factor. Though they finished third in the competition, they managed to impress judge Simon Cowell enough to land a deal with his record label Syco Records. The rest, as they say, is history. 

The 27-year-old firmly rejects the notion that it was ‘meant to be’ for the boyband, that they possessed an extraordinary natural ability that would have found a way to break through no matter what.  It’s tempting to attribute their stardom to some God-given talent that allowed them to flourish in such a striking way, but Liam claims that it was all “just dumb luck.” Like many other triumphs, you need a little bit of skill, a little bit of hard work, but an enormous amount of fortune in your favor. “There were so many scenarios that had to fall into line for that to happen,” said Liam, adding that it was a “perfect storm” that led to the group’s swift ascendency — something that will never be quite so similarly be replicated. 

It’s almost like putting the Disney costume on before you step up on stage and underneath the Disney costume I was pissed quite a lot of the time because there was no other way to get your head around what was going on. 

Liam Payne to Men’s Health Australia

It must feel wonderful to accumulate so much wealth, acclaim, and adoration in just your teenage years, but if you’re not careful, it can quickly veer off into a curse. Liam turned to alcohol to keep up with the pressures of growing up in the public eye and having the innermost particulars of his life turn into fodder for the press. As 1D became more and more well-known, Liam started discerning the darker, more malicious side of celebrity and how it shatters the individual’s well-being, end to end. 

It was a “toxic” experience that left him feeling “numb” for a long time

There’s a price to pay when you’ve signed over your innocence to the predatory claws of fame. Granted, they’d been too young to comprehensively contemplate the toll it would take on their health, both physical and mental. You miss out on the mundane, yet immensely valuable, routines of an ordinary school kid; instead, you have to push yourself to unimaginable lengths to produce more output, to provide more entertainment, to please everyone in the crowd. 

Liam stated that the problem is as intensive in the music industry as anywhere else; if you’re forced to exert yourself day in, day out without addressing underlying issues, you’re going to run out of fuel in no time. “When you’re doing hundreds and hundreds of [concerts] and it’s the same 22 songs at the same time every single day,” it doesn’t matter whether you’re happy or not. “You’ve got to go out there,” said Liam. 

In addition, your entire life is mapped out by forces outside your purview. From the group’s genesis to its evolution, every aspect of the One Direction project was precisely orchestrated and micromanaged by corporate entities seeking to reap profits. Liam acknowledged that he’d had absolutely no control over his day-to-day. “No, never,” he said. He just followed instructions, nodded his head, and danced. He added that he still struggles with being more decisive. “I really struggle to say no because I don’t like to let people down. It’s in my nature.” 

We had an absolute blast, but there were certain parts of it where it just got a little bit toxic.

Liam Payne to Men’s Health Australia

The struggles of holding onto your identity amidst the chaos and the public fixation “nearly killed him,” and there were times when he wanted to act on his urges, he told The Guardian

When the group decided to go on an indefinite hiatus in the mid-2010s, Liam could finally take a breath and envision life on his own terms. It was like the “the pressure cooker had been let off” and that the group could firmly focus on their art and friendship in the final months. 

Only, post-separation, he realized he didn’t really know anything about himself or the kind of direction he wanted to take in his career or otherwise. He found himself dawdling through old patterns and resistant to change. “It was a bit of a numb feeling,” he said. Thankfully, fatherhood knocked on the door at just the right time, and Liam was able to promptly reframe his priorities and zero in on the big picture. 

Despite the aches associated with One Direction, Liam maintains that it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and was generally fun. It’s nearly impossible to keep everything in check when you’re a worldwide spectacle like One Direction, but, for the most part, he doesn’t regret it too much. 

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Maintain realistic expectations

The contrast between One Direction’s outward brilliance and the internal tumult is a lesson in setting healthy expectations for yourself and those closest to you. You can’t accurately predict every development that’s to occur in your life, but you can tell yourself that it’s never as simple as it seems and that obstacles of all types could present themselves before you. 

You have to venture into every undertaking, knowing that you’ll be pushed to the limit. As long as you understand your limit and what you’re willing to do to achieve ‘success,’ you’ll save yourself a good deal of trauma and pain. Appearances don’t matter; what matters is you and your ability to tend to your wellbeing in the face of adversity. 

More inspiring stories:

https://www.goalcast.com/2021/07/14/liam-payne-one-direction-toxic/

The Truth Behind Lil Kim’s “New Face” Will Change The Way You Think About Her

By | dating, emotional health, family, Food for thought, Inspiring Celebrities, lil kim, mental health, Motivation, stories

Lil’ Kim is undoubtedly one of the brightest, most influential women in hip-hop, yet her legacy remains controversial for one reason or the other.

For the past twenty-five years, she’s been pushing the boundaries as a female rapper and breaking records in the process. She’s considered to have pioneered mainstream sex-positive feminism in hip-hop and has carved a path for many contemporary artists, including Cardi B, Nicki Minaj, and Kash Doll. In addition to her unique sound and lyrical matter, she’s known for her breathtaking, flamboyant fashion style and advocacy work for various causes. 

While she’s been an inspiring figure in more than many ways, she’s also let her fans down in others. The rapper, also known as Kimberly Jones, was convicted of three counts of conspiracy and one count of perjury on Marcy 17, 2005. She’d been caught lying to a federal grand jury about not having seen her friends at a scene of a 2001 gun shooting — a testimony that was subsequently proven wrong via video surveillance footage. Kim served twelve months in prison as a result. 

But lately, the criticism leveled at her isn’t about her past as a convict — it’s about her face. Here’s what we can learn from Lil’ Kim’s struggles with beauty and expectations:

Kim wanted to cover the injuries from an “abusive relationship”

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Lil’ Kim has been fielding criticisms and judgment about her face since the beginning of her career. In 2005, she went on a radio show and explained that she had had her nose broken during a physically abusive confrontation with an ex-boyfriend. Kim told the listeners that she, like many other women, had been part of a violent relationship that left her with a “broken nose, black eyes, all that stuff.”

The New York native revealed that she had to “fix her nose” not once but multiple times — every time she’d go through a procedure and come back to her boyfriend, he’d hit her again and send her reeling into a tangle of insecurities and self-loathing. It’s not just her face that was damaged as a result of these brutal attacks. Kim had to undergo multiple MRIs because “he beat me up so bad I couldn’t even move.” She also suffered from blood clots in her back. 

Kim was so tired of lying about her injuries, pretending they were “an allergic reaction,” and burying her bruises in makeup that she thought it would be better to get professional work done and wipe out those physical markings for once and for all. 

I kinda prayed the whole time. I didn’t know what to do. And it has a lot to do with my maturity too. It’s been times I was in the car with my ex-boyfriend and he punched me in my face and [I was] bleeding all over the car […] The doctor had to fix my nose [because] it was almost shattered. 

Lil’ Kim to The Source

The trauma led her to start her charitable organization, Lil’ Kim Cares, which does extraordinary work in raising awareness and funds for issues such as homelessness, child neglect, and violence against women. She’s also keen on showing that just because she’s a celebrity doesn’t mean that she doesn’t go through the same trials and tribulations as anyone else suffering from abuse. Like any other survivor, she has to muster up tons of courage to leave a toxic environment and learn to love herself again. 

Kim admitted she “cheated” with plastic surgery and didn’t think she was “good enough”

(Photo by Thaddaeus McAdams /FilmMagic)

It’s truly been an uphill battle for Kim to love herself, but she’s finally at a stage where she can do so to her heart’s content. It’s also crucial to note that Kim hasn’t always set a good example for her fans — she’s said and done things that have caused a tremendous amount of distrust and pain among her friends, family, and fans. 

Whereas the initial plastic surgery resulted from a violent altercation, Kim has admitted that she’s gotten more surgeries over the years by her own choice. She said she “cheated” and got several facial features “fixed up” as she pleased. In a 2000 interview, Lil’ Kim shared that she’s faced insecurities for as long as she could remember; her boyfriends kept cheating on her with “European-looking” women, the “long-hair type.” 

The mother-of-one said she felt like she couldn’t compete as a “regular black girl” and thought she wouldn’t ever be “good enough.” It’s not just former lovers that triggered feelings of doubt and shame in her; she also endured verbal humiliation at the hands of her father. She claimed, “It’s always been men putting me down, just like my dad.” 

To this day, when someone says I’m cute, I can’t see it. I don’t see it no matter what anybody says.

Lil’ Kim to Newsweek 

The continuous barrage of disapproval made its way to her head, and she felt like she had no choice but to turn to cosmetic surgery. Kim said, “It was like I could do nothing right, everything about me was wrong — my hair, my clothes, just me.” The fact that she’s getting condemned for conforming to the same expectations that were imposed on her in the first place is hypocrisy at its cruelest. Lil’ Kim likely didn’t ask to be saddled with the weight of these debilitating insecurities — they were drilled into her from a young age and were continually reinforced by the men in her life. 

Plastic surgery is a contentious issue that has neither wrong nor a right side. We have to trust women that they’re aware of the health implications and that they understand the full extent of what they’re choosing to undergo. It’s a massive, irreversible decision, and so it should be treated as such. As long as the person comes out on the other side feeling confident and beautiful, we don’t have the right to chide the person. 

At the same time, no one should feel so pressured to look a certain way that they perceive plastic surgery as a necessity, not a choice. Lil’ Kim couldn’t overcome her anxieties and had been fixated on her so-called imperfections for so long that the only way to get peace of mind was to go under the knife. It’s perhaps even more frustrating to see that her career is dominated by rumors of skin bleaching, lip injections, boob jobs, so on and forth when there are far more substantive points to discuss — including her run-is with law enforcement and her illustrious body of work. 

I’m a person who may get bored with my look sometimes. I love what God gave me, but sometimes I want to dress it up.

Lil’ Kim on One World Music Beat

Don’t let assumptions guide your judgment 

Sometimes it’s just best to see something and move on without asserting your opinion about it. People have been berating Kim for a long time — both before and after her plastic surgeries. If they had kept their assumptions at bay from the get-go, Kim wouldn’t have felt forced to go under the knife. 

Conventional beauty doesn’t determine the value of a person; what matters is the person behind the face and the work they’re doing to improve their lives and their collective society around them. Lil Kim has all but transformed the world of her hip-hop through her intuitive, thoughtful, and powerful music. Why must we let our presumptions drive our opinion of the artist? Especially since the artist herself had deeply personal and medical reasons to get many of these surgeries in the first place. Lil’ Kim has her own flaws, but choosing to love herself despite the criticisms shows endurance. And that’s something we can take away from her journey. 

More inspiring stories:

https://www.goalcast.com/2021/05/11/lil-kim-plastic-surgery-truth/

Single Dad Abruptly Abandoned By Mother Of Baby Discovers Power Of Vulnerability

By | children, dad, fathers, Food for thought, heartwarming, Motivation, single, stories, support, uplifting news, vulnerability

Just a month after baby Persephone was born, her mother left her with the baby’s dad. But through hard work and willingness to ask for help, the single dad managed to take care of his daughter just fine.

Thrust into being a single dad

Back in 2015, Richard Johnson was blessed with a baby daughter, Persephone. But just a month after she was born, the baby’s mother abandoned her family.

Unprepared and unsure of what to do, Johnson gobbled up every book and YouTube video he could find. He also turned to a Facebook group called Life of Dad that was a “major confidence booster” and helped him get through this challenging period.

One day, Johnson wrote a Facebook post about his situation and to thank the group for helping him get through. Then, the post went viral.

In the caption, Johnson explained that he doesn’t know why Persephone’s mother left — he expects postpartum depression played a role. But either way, he needed help, and the support from the Facebook group helped him get through.

It takes a village

Johnson received so much support (the post has 95,000 reactions) that he decided to start his own page chronicling life as a single dad.

Johnson documented how Persephone had holes in her heart and needed surgery. Again, he turned to his community on Facebook for support.

Incredibly, Persephone’s surgery was successful, even baffling the surgeon. “The doctor was amazed and had said, ‘I’m amazed but I don’t understand how this is quite possible. I had a few colleagues take a look and they agree had they not known the previous issue, you’d never be able to tell there was anything wrong from the start,’” Johnson wrote on the post.

Johnson’s love life worked itself out too, as he revealed on the page that he was seeing a woman named Jennifer who cared for Persephone like a mother.

In a touching birthday post a month after her surgery, Johnson told Persephone how much his life changed now that she’s in it.

“They say the child learns for the parent, however I feel I am learning more from you than you ever could from me. I look at you and can’t just help feel like everything will work out the way it should,” he wrote. “I’m going to give you the world one day Miss Lilith. I’ll work myself to death to do it. Everything you can ever want will be yours or I’m going to die trying.”

A happy ending

Thrust into the unknown of parenthood all on his own, Johnson did the right thing — he looked for help wherever he could get it. He did his own research and was vulnerable enough to tell those that helped him how much he appreciated them. In return, the community continued to support him and undoubtedly played a role in raising Persephone — they say it takes a village to raise a child.

More uplifting stories:

https://www.goalcast.com/2021/05/04/richard-johnson-single-dad-baby-persephone-abandoned/

Keith Urban’s Dark Secret Forced Nicole Kidman To Make A Difficult Choice

By | Food for thought, Life Stories, Motivation, Motivational Videos

When Nicole Kidman got her heart broken by the biggest movie star in the world, her whole life collapsed. Until charming romantic Keith Urban stepped in. Nicole finally thought she found true love… But Keith was hiding a dark secret. Why did Nicole try to save Keith? And did she fail?

https://www.goalcast.com/2021/04/20/keith-urban-nicole-kidman-dark-secret/

Woman Abruptly Dumped By Fiancé For Being Overweight Gets Ultimate Revenge

By | exercise, Food for thought, inspiring, Inspiring Stories, Motivation, stories, success stories, uplifting news, weight loss

One woman went from being obese to pursuing her dreams of becoming a beauty queen — and she has a shallow ex to thank for it all.

Couch sulking

Several years ago, life was a drag for Jen Atkin of Grimbsy, North East Lincolnshire. 

A self-confessed “couch potato,” Atkin tells The Sun that she would spend most of the time with her fiancé, sluggish and overeating.

“At weekends, we’d turn into virtual recluses sitting on the sofa in our pajamas eating takeaways.”

However, as her weight ballooned to 240 pounds, her fiancé shocked her by ending the relationship.

To cope with the pain, Atkin increasingly turned to her fridge.

“The day he left I thought my world had ended – I cried for weeks and used food as my comfort”

– Jen Atkin

From couch to crown

Then, one day, Atkin decided to end her pity-party and get to work.

She started walking regularly, going to the gym and being vigilant about what she ate. 

As the pounds dropped, her confidence soared. Atkin quickly gained momentum and over two years, she shed 112 pounds – half of her body weight!

Eventually, she built up the courage and charisma to enter the Miss Great Britain competition, the UK’s longest-running pageant. 

The event consists of several rounds including fashion wear, evening wear, and swimsuit and culminates in a panel interview. 

After finishing the contest as a runner-up, Atkin put her pageant pursuits aside to focus on herself until her name was put forward again.

She ended up winning Britain’s biggest beauty crown over 59 other contestants in the national final in Leicester.

For Atkin, the victory meant far more than a crown.

“Winning Miss Great Britain marks the end of a long and difficult, but also amazing, journey”

– Jen Atkin

There’s beauty in the struggle

Since winning the pageant, Atkin has only picked up the pace.

She launched a country singing career, with her debut single hitting No. 2 in the ReverbNation charts.

She’s also using her status to push for “clearer and easier” labeling on food to warn people if an item is unhealthy, which she says will “make it easier for everyone.”

Atkins now reflects on her difficult journey with gratitude.

“I was devastated but it ended up being the best thing that’s happened to me”

– Jen Atkin

While Atkin had painful experiences, they ultimately revealed what she’s truly capable of and her true worth. She used them to take her life in an amazing direction that even she didn’t know was possible.

Today, you can bet her shallow ex is probably sore from kicking himself.

The next time you feel like giving up, remember that your best is yet to come.

More uplifting news:

https://www.goalcast.com/2021/04/06/jen-atkin-dumped-overweight-winner-miss-great-britain/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=jen-atkin-dumped-overweight-winner-miss-great-britain

Chiefs Player Who Abandoned His Team Is The Real Winner Of Super Bowl LV

By | Food for thought, football, inspiring, Inspiring Celebrities, inspiring celebs, Motivation, sacrifice, stories, uplifting, uplifting news

Offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif missed the season that took his team to their second Super Bowl in two years to work as a doctor in a Montreal hospital.

And despite his team’s chance to win it all again on February 7, he’s at peace with his decision to help others.

He opted out due to COVID-19

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif blocked for Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes when their team won the Super Bowl in 2020, but when it came time to go for a repeat, he became the first NFL player to opt out of the season due to COVID-19.

“This is one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make in my life but I must follow my convictions and do what I believe is right for me personally,” Duvernay-Tardif said on Twitter.

“That is why I have decided to take the opt-out option.”

“If I am to take risks, I will do it caring for patients.”

He was on the frontlines

Before Duvernay-Tardif was drafted by the Chiefs in the sixth round, he studied medicine at McGill University in his hometown of Montreal.

When the pandemic hit, Duvernay-Tardif rushed home from a sailing trip in the Caribbean and volunteered to pitch in however he could. He was placed in a long-term care facility where he tended to patients who didn’t have coronavirus.

Since he hadn’t studied enough to be a full-on doctor, he did work that nurses do, like drawing blood, administering medications, and even feeding and bathing patients. He only worked a few days a week, but that’s all he could manage emotionally.

“I was working there two to three days a week, and I don’t see how I could have done more,” he told The Washington Post.

“Not necessarily from a scheduling standpoint but from an emotional standpoint. Those people that are there for the past 20 years, it’s crazy. I have so much respect for them. … The amount of sacrifice is unbelievable. I feel like I’m going to be a better physician down the road because of that experience. I understood what it was all about.”

Duvernay-Tardif recalled one young patient who had been in a terrible accident and due to COVID-19 protocols hadn’t been able to see family in months. Duvernay-Tardif noticed how not seeing his loved ones was hard on the patient, so he told him: “Come on, let’s find your wife’s number.”

He used his phone to call the man’s wife on FaceTime and when the couple saw each other’s faces for the first time in two months, they cried.

“You cry, too,” Duvernay-Tardif said. “What else is there to do?”

“The definition of what it means to be a hero changed because of those people.”

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

At peace with his decision

Despite the inherent risks of a football season — and the infections some teams, including his own, faced — Duvernay-Tardif always agreed that a season should take place, if only to simmer down the fierce political divisions in the United States. And it’s been hard to watch as his teammates reached the pinnacle of their sport yet again.

“It was never black or white,” he said of his decision to opt-out. “As the season progressed and the stakes are higher, I do miss football even more, especially now with the playoffs. There’s more than one way to look at it, and it’s not always simple.”

Duvernay-Tardif, who lost millions in contract money during the skipped season, wouldn’t say he has no regrets, but he is at peace with his decision.

“I felt it made sense to make that decision, in order to look back at 2020—five, 10 years from now—and be proud of myself,” he told TIME. “I’ve said no to money and the NFL season in order to care for patients.”

While Duvernay-Tardif is planning a long career in the medical field, he does hope to return to his team next season.

“I feel like something was taken a little bit away from me,” he said. “I still have some football left in me. I can be a doctor for the next 40 years. I still have the passion, and that’s why I’m working out on my patio at –15°[C].”

An honourable sacrifice

You can’t help but be in awe of Duvernay-Tardif, who is not only risking his career in the NFL, but also his own health being around a hospital taking in COVID-19 patients.

His sacrifice is yet another reminder to follow health guidelines and get vaccinated so we can bring an and to this pandemic and everybody can return to doing what they love.

It’s also a poignant testament to living with integrity, according to your own values and definition of success and excellence.

More inspiring celebrities:

https://www.goalcast.com/2021/02/05/kansas-chief-player-laurent-duvernay-tardiff-superbowl-lv/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=kansas-chief-player-laurent-duvernay-tardiff-superbowl-lv

7-Year-Old Boy Gets Bullied And Channels Pain Into Starting A Non-Profit

By | bullying, everyday heroes, Food for thought, inspiring, Motivation, stories, success, uplifting news

A boy who was bullied at school crushed it with kindness. Now he’s on a mission to help those in need and spread the power of positivity.

Seven-year-old Cavanaugh Bell of Gaithersburg, Maryland, still remembers the pain of being picked on.

“I was bullied for working faster than others,” he told People. “At one point I asked my mom if she would be sad if I died.”

I had the darkness inside me and I didn’t want kids to feel the same way I felt

Cavanaugh Bell

Channeling pain into purpose

However, instead of bottling up the hurt, he channeled his pain into purpose and positive impact. Using his own savings, Bell started putting together and distributing care packages containing food and other essentials to his elderly neighbors in need during COVID.

It turns out that making smiles can be pretty addictive.

The more I gave back to my community, the more I wanted to keep doing it

Cavanaugh Bell

Recruiting his mom, Llacey Simmons, to help “spread love and positivity”, Bell created a GoFundMe page to promote his cause.  Donations poured in.

Thanks to a space offered by a local gym, Bell kicked off the “LOVE is greater than COVID-19” Community Pantry. With the extra space, he was able to not only keep more seniors safe, but also spread the good vibes beyond his community.

Helping a nation

Bell remembered a road trip to Mt. Rushmore with his mom, when they passed through the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, considered one of the poorest areas in America.

She had told him that some were without electricity or running water. Worse, the population is stricken with high rates of alcoholism and suicide. For Bell — also part Native American — that was unacceptable. 

it’s not fair that we’re having great and happy life when they’re suffering in the middle of nowhere

Cavanaugh Bell

With the help of his mom and scores of generous donors, he hired a driver and loaded up a 53-foot truck chalk full of clothing and essentials for the people of Pine Ridge.

For seven-year-old Bell, the mission is simple. “I’m just trying to make them have a big fat smile on their face.”

A mission to end bullying

And it’s just the beginning.

Bell also founded his own non-profit called Cool and Dope, where he sits as its Chief Positivity Creator.

Bell has set the ambitious goal to end all bullying worldwide by 2030. At this point, is there any reason to doubt him?

Cavanaugh believes he can save the world, and I believe him! He doesn’t see anything as a challenge and that’s what I love about his innocence

Alice Phelps, director of ‘First Families Now’ and member of  Pine Ridge Community

Positivity can move mountains

Bell’s organization has raised over $30,000, and has helped over 10,000 people with food and essential COVID supplies.

And to think it all started with a moment of empathy during his darkest time. Who else might be feeling this way, and how can I help?

Bell’s response to injustice proves that acts of kindness, once set in motion, can be an unstoppable force.

I just wanna teach people they can have an impact no matter their age — no matter if you’re 8, 10, or even my grandma’s age, 74 — you can do anything!

Cavanaugh Bell

More uplifting news:

https://www.goalcast.com/2020/12/29/7-year-old-cavanaugh-bell-bullied-starts-non-profit/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=7-year-old-cavanaugh-bell-bullied-starts-non-profit

After Nearly Dying, This Man Lost Over 250 Pounds And Went After His Dream

By | emotional health, Food for thought, inspiring, mindset, Motivation, physical health, stories, success stories

When John Arpino woke up in the hospital in 2015, following a major asthma attack that nearly killed him, he vowed to lose weight and transform his life. 

At the time, he weighed 500 pounds.

I remember being petrified. I was going to die in my house at 22-years-old.

John Arpino in Daily Mail

As a child, John couldn’t train because of his asthma

Soon after he was born, John developed severe asthma and allergies for which he started being treated for at the age of two.

As a kid, he spent several Halloween nights at the hospital and his condition prevented him from participating in physical activity.

“I was constantly bullied from a young age until I graduated high school. I couldn’t walk around school because of my weight,” John remembered. 

I had to be given a key to the elevator in school because I couldn’t walk up and down the stairs, and I had to write book reports instead of participating in gym class.

John Arpino

John struggled with low self-esteem and hated the way he looked and felt. His weight stopped him from going to college after his high school graduation, because he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to get around campus or fit behind the desks.

But then, he had a major wake-up call

After his grandmother passed away in early 2015, John fell into a deep depression and coped with food and drinking, but that all changed when he had a massive asthma attack he almost didn’t survive.

“I couldn’t take a breath, it was like every bit of air was trapped inside my lungs while the weight of the whole world rested upon my chest,” remembered John. 

I couldn’t speak, sweat started to pour from every part of my body. Somehow I was able to scream for my parents to call an ambulance.

John Arpino

Paramedics apologized to John while they put him on a stretcher, just as slipped in and out of consciousness.

“I remember looking at the clock above the door of the ambulance and praying to God and to my grandmother who had recently passed that February for another chance. I knew I had messed up,” he said.

He took his second chance seriously

Once he regained consciousness, he knew he was running out of options and committed to changing his ways.

My life was spared so it was time to make those changes I promised.

John Arpino

As soon as he could, John started going to the gym regularly and was able to lose 80 pounds, but his asthma kept getting in the way of his progress and he went back on steroids after another attack.

When he realized he wouldn’t be able to lose all the weight he wanted to on his own, John made the life-changing decision to undergo gastric sleeve surgery, in November 2016.

The surgery helped him drop down to 252 pounds from his initial 500 and John’s learned not to take life for granted.

The best part? How he feels about himself

“I am a totally different person now, I love life, I love challenges and I love proving myself and other people wrong and rewriting my life story,” he said. 

“My health has improved dramatically, I no longer have high blood pressure or sleep apnoea, and my asthma is pretty much non-existent.”

His transformation journey has allowed him to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a professional wrestler and has since performed in several shows, calling the experience “the thrill of his life.”

He’s documented his journey on instagram to keep himself accountable along the way, but also uses his platform to inspire others who are struggling to lose weight.

“Honestly it’s the greatest feeling in the world being able to inspire others because I know when I was at my lowest, I needed someone like my current self to guide me, to show me things were possible when I didn’t think they were,” said John.

“’My major goal in life is to help show everyone that the ‘impossible’ doesn’t exist, and you can truly have anything you want in life and pursue every single dream and break every goal, that’s the only thing that matters to me.”

More inspiring transformations:

https://www.goalcast.com/2020/12/22/transformation-story-john-arpino/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=transformation-story-john-arpino

Dad Suffers Through 30-Hour Tattoo To Help Son Feel More Comfortable In His Skin

By | fathers, Food for thought, Motivation, parenting, self-confidence, stories, uplifting, uplifting news

Eight-year-old Derek Prue was self-conscious about the birthmark on his stomach and chest. So much so that he wouldn’t go swimming without a shirt on.

So Derek’s dad, Derek Sr., did something drastic — and the story will put a smile on your face.

A big surprise from dad

Derek was swimming in a hotel swimming pool with his sisters when his dad called out. Derek looked over at his father and dipped back into the pool with a smile on his face when he saw what happened. Derek Sr. had gotten a huge tattoo to replicate the birthmark on his son’s torso.

“I was happy and I was a little confused,” the young Derek told CBC Edmonton. “I didn’t know he was going to do that.”

Derek’s dad saw how uncomfortable his birthmark made him and didn’t like that his son wore a shirt in the pool to cover it up — so he got the tattoo.

“I knew he was self-conscious about it… I saw how he was reacting, and it made me want to do it so that he wouldn’t be the only one.”

Derek Prue Sr. told CBC.

A good deed, punished

The tattoo was a complete surprise for the eight-year-old — and the procedure was a surprise for Prue too.

When he first came into the studio for the tattoo, he thought the artist would be done after three or four hours, but by that point only the outline was finished.

“He’s been through the wringer sitting for that,” said tattoo artist Tony Gibbert, owner of the studio where Prue had the work done. “It’s pretty painful.”

In all, the tattoo took 30 hours of work over six to eight weeks.

“I’m kind of glad I didn’t know how long it was going to take,” Prue said.

The artist was happy to contribute

“I think it’s amazing to be able to comfort your son like that,” Gibbert said.

“It’s more than just your kid seeing your name, or something, you get to actually, like, really change the way he feels about himself.

Tattoo artist Tony Gibbert told CBC.

“Just being able to go swimming with his dad and take off his shirt and be happy and comfortable. I’m happy I get to be part of it, in a small way I get to help with what he’s trying to do.”

No regrets

Did the tattoo work? It seems so.

When asked by his mother if he’ll now swim without a shirt, little Derek said: “Whenever Daddy’s there I can take the shirt off.”

As for Prue, despite the painful tattoo he has no regrets.

“Now we have the same marks for life.”

It’s hard being a kid. It’s also hard being a parent when you know your child is lacking confidence.

If you’re a parent, you can’t always shield your children from the unexpected things in life, but you can make them feel special.

More uplifting news:

https://www.goalcast.com/2020/12/16/dad-matching-birthmark-tattoo-son-comfortable-skin/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dad-matching-birthmark-tattoo-son-comfortable-skin