You Can Have Results or Excuses. You Cannot Have Both
Updated: Nov 23, 2019
Let’s be honest, as adults we are at least in some way familiar of the concept of motivation. It’s powerful. Through motivation, you can realize your goals, stay focused, embrace and overcome adversity. Ultimately, you can succeed at life! The metrics of success are unique on an individual basis, but that concept of motivation is homogenous. Now that I’m arguing motivation is your secret sauce to becoming a self-actualized human, why is it so hard to cultivate?
Perhaps we can frame that question into the context of another. This time, let’s make it an analogy! If success (however YOU define it) was a pill you could take, how many people do you think would start wolfing it down? If you really want to get to the heart of the matter and my mediocre analogy, sharpen the focus of that lens squarely on yourself. Would you take such a pill? If the answer is yes, success is precisely the thing that will elude you. I dare say that your problem is intrinsic motivation. This motivation isn't on all the time, it is a conscious choice to repeatedly make. And if you were a firm "no" to the magic pill, would you answer the same way tomorrow?
Now that we have our baseline and are a couple paragraphs deep into this blog, I think the overarching theme here is that we are all unique snowflakes. Some of us are naturally more or less motivated, have different life circumstances, and have achieved different things. That’s OK! Cultivating motivation for you to achieve what is important in your life is a skill that will come easier to some and easier with practice. Now let’s get some reps and start practicing.
**Full disclaimer. I'm no guru or self-help wizard who has accomplished anything special. My struggles are my own just like yours belong to you. I'm not telling you how to live your life. I only hope to share principles with you I've learned from other people that have helped me on my journey. I truly hope they are helpful to you, for what it is worth."**
RULE 1: EGO IS YOUR ENEMY
This is not my concept. In fact, I learned it from an excellent book called Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win (definitely worth the read). A take away here is our ego is great at making excuses for us which will stifle your own personal development. You cannot simply say “I’m fine, I don’t have an ego”. That is in-fact a lie you tell yourself. You have to actively assess your ego in all relative matters, be they success or failure. Try to look for what shortcomings exist in order to improve upon you. If you truly want to succeed and not be a miserable in the process, be open to fact that somebody, somewhere, is actually better than you an already walked the path you desire to ford. Embrace that as this is the mindset of a motivated individual. And relax, humble pie tastes better the more often you eat it.
RULE 2: BE THE STRONGEST VERSION OF YOURSELF
In regards to that person who is better than you…find them! If they aren’t in close proximity, some quick social media stalking will suffice. And since I love analogies and borrowing other people’s ideas, I believe I first heard Joe Rogan use that analogy about “crabs in a bucket”. You see, there’s no need to put a lid on the bucket as other egomaniac crabs will pull them down before they escape. Assuming some rockstar crab is “better” you, don’t pull them down. Instead, use their escape as a blueprint or motivation for yourself. Learn from them and accept that it is OK to fail, but never OK to not try. You see, another person’s success doesn’t mean you can’t be successful too. It should illustrate the obvious which is what one person can do, another can do too! I personally find incredible motivation in this practice. In doing so, your daily regimen will hone your body and psyche into a stronger version of the former you.
RULE 3: A MUSCLE CALLED DISCIPLINE
Want to train something to better the rest of your life and all future performance? Perfect. Discipline applies to everything and must be trained, like a muscle. Yes, it takes discipline to go to work, get up early, slog out extra miles when you are tired and it’s raining sheets outside. It also takes discipline to actively practice the concepts outlined in Rule 1 and Rule 2. The goals you seek will not come to fruition through relentless fixation on “THE GOAL”.
Instead, practice discipline and the behaviors that surround the process to get use to uncomfortable feelings, whether they are physical (this running hurts! its cold out there!), or an internal dialogue (it's hard and I'm just not good enough). Comfort is honestly a killer and will take you further away from making your goal reality. And it takes discipline willingly make choices for personal growth because these choices will make you uncomfortable. The more we embrace this, the easier it gets.