ONE METHOD OF lowering your anxiety level
is to listen to informative or motivational audio programs in
your car. Not only can it lower anxiety, but a study by the University
of Southern California found that if you live in a city and drive
12,000 miles a year, you can get the equivalent of a two-year
college education every three years by listening to cassette
tapes while you drive.
One thing they didn't study is that the
listeners are likely to experience less stress or frustration
than nonlisteners. Why? Because the listeners are doing something
they want to do rather than feeling helpless and frustrated about
being stuck in traffic and unable to do what they want to be
It's easier to learn something really well
when you listen to audio programs in your car because you're
more likely to listen to them several times than you are to read
a book several times, and repetition is the key to retaining
information. In a study on memory, researchers found that when
people listened to information they'd never heard before, two
weeks later they could only remember two percent of it. But if
they listened to it on six consecutive days, they remembered
sixty-two percent of it two weeks later. Repeated listening is
an effective way to learn.
You have an enormous variety of material
to choose from. You can increase your vocabulary, learn a new
language, or learn more about your field. Books you've been wanting
to read but can't seem to find the time are probably available
on audio. They even have college courses on audio. The Teaching
Company® in Virginia records the best professors around the
country and sells you their lectures on CDs. So you could literally
get a college education in your car. Many libraries have these
courses available to check out.
You can also use audio programs for motivation,
and that may be the most valuable use.
Mary Kay Ash of the Mary Kay cosmetics
empire told Zig Ziglar she would never get into her car without
an audio program she could listen to while she was driving. H.L.
Hunt, who was worth three billion dollars by the end of his life,
was a big fan of motivational audio programs. Wallace Johnson,
one of the co-founders of Holiday Inns International, even at
eighty years old, still listened to motivational programs every
day. He was one of the first to do so. Back before they had books
recorded by professional readers, he had one of his employees
read nonfiction books onto tapes for him. "The reason many
people don't succeed or are unhappy," wrote Johnson, "is
that they have sour, negative, resentful attitudes." In
his speeches, he always tried to emphasize what he believed was
the most important thing in life: "the development of the
proper attitude." One good way to develop a better attitude
is to listen to motivational programs in your car.
Alan Bean, one of the twelve astronauts
who walked on the moon, said he listened to motivational tapes
in his car on his way to his NASA training while he was preparing
for his space flight. Does that surprise you? The Apollo astronauts
were the most confident, competent, healthy people on the planet.
They had passed severe physical and psychological tests, and
then were trained intensely. It might seem surprising that Bean
would listen to tapes to increase his motivation, but one of
the reasons he made it into the space program is that he knew
how to keep himself motivated and focused. Listening to audio
programs in the car is one very effective way to do that.
Most of us are aware that working toward
a big goal is where the fun is, but motivation doesn't seem to
last. People go to seminars and hear motivational speakers and
get excited about their goals and their life, but the motivation
and excitement fades. What we need is the ability to stay
motivated not faking it, not forcing ourselves, but really
feeling motivated. Audio programs do the trick.
Motivation fades only if you stop motivating
yourself. You can't get motivated once and expect it to last
a lifetime. That would be like being nice to your spouse once
and expecting your marriage to be blissful for the rest of your
life. It doesn't work that way. It would be like trying to exercise
once and being disappointed you don't stay in shape. It would
be like watering a plant once and wondering why it eventually
wilted. You get the idea.
Whether or not you stay motivated is up
to you, and it requires as much "work" as any other
worthwhile state you're trying to maintain a state of
harmony between you and your mate, a state of health for your
body, a state of ease in your life. They all require sustained
action to maintain. The good news is that it isn't really "work"
because the benefits so far outweigh the cost in terms of effort.
You get immediate rewards for your effort to stay motivated:
You get to feel motivated, and that's a wonderful way to go through
The content of your mind determines whether
you feel motivated or not, and listening to audio programs is
an excellent form of training for what to say to yourself. Recordings
of good motivational speakers can help you learn how to stay
motivated and focused on your purposes. For example, when I was
going from bookstore to bookstore to convince them to carry my
book, I listened to an audio program on selling that said, "it
doesn't matter whether this customer buys anything. It is the
process of going out and calling on people that does the trick.
Any particular call is unimportant." I used that motivational
material in my self-coaching when I was visiting bookstores.
Instead of getting anxious about this bookstore and whether or
not they'd say yes, instead of feeling depressed if they did
say no, I relaxed and reminded myself it is the process of going
to bookstores that works, regardless of what this bookstore did.
Listen to audio programs for an infusion
of motivation, focus, and a reminder of principles. It is an
aid to autosuggestion, boosting and magnifying your efforts.
Listen to them enough and certain phrases will become memorized,
coming back to you when you need to hear them. It is a useful
form of (semi)autosuggestion. If you don't like some of it, edit
down your own version. Make your own from good books. Motivation
is nothing to take lightly. Here are some motivational programs
The Science of Personal Achievement by Napoleon Hill
The Psychology of Achievement:
Develop the Top Achiever's Mindset
by Brian Tracy
Lead The Field by Earl Nightingale
How to Stay Motivated by Zig Ziglar
The Psychology of Winning by Denis Waitley
They all basically say the same thing:
Choose good goals, stay focused on them, imagine the way you
want things to go, take plenty of action, and talk to yourself
in a way that maintains strong motivation and confidence. Some
give bonus tips. But more important than the information
they give you is that while you're listening, you're thinking
about your goal. That is the most motivating thing you can do.
And they tell you stories about people who overcame setbacks.
It doesn't matter that they all say basically the same thing.
After you listen to something ten times, you might not want to
hear it again. But if you want to keep motivating yourself, you
can put in an audio program by a different author and even though
he may be saying the same thing, it's a different voice and he's
saying it in a different way using different illustrations, so
you really listen, and become re-motivated because it makes you
think about your goal.
The fact that many of us spend a considerable
amount of our time driving alone can be a wonderful opportunity
to increase your knowledge and keep yourself motivated. Don't
waste this valuable opportunity.
Listening to audio programs lowers anxiety
Taking your mind off thoughts that produce
anxiety and other negative emotions, preventing extra stress
hormones, even while stuck in traffic.
Altering the content of your mind. The
content of your mind in the present is all-important. Listening
to a tape is a very easy and direct way to control the contents
of your mind in the present.
Having more to talk about when interacting
Increasing your competence and knowledge
at your job, making you feel more confident and secure (the opposite
Increasing motivation. Desire displaces
fear. Motivation displaces anxiety.