The last few years I have begun to have a problem with the word ‘motivation.’ Not so much with the concept of motivation itself and what it stands for, but more so with what it has become. Society today has diligently (and successfully) pursued a life of comfort and convenience. Every new breakthrough, invention or system is aimed at making our daily lives easier.
Afterall, it's human nature to want things to be easier, right?
But the problem lies in the fact that no matter what we do or create as a society, we can’t make LIFE easier.
Living a life is not easy. It is filled with ups and downs. Good times and bad. It is hard and it can and will be painful at times, and this is where we have gone wrong as a society. Merely existing as time passes does not constitute living your life.
The life of convenience that we have so diligently sought out has lulled us into a coma of comfort – and comfort is a serial killer of dreams.
Food used to be the biggest motivator for humans. Man had to hunt for food in order to feed his family and survive. It was the single biggest driving force behind survival. In today’s world, man doesn’t even have to go to the grocery store to attain this food anymore. They can grab their phone and use Door Dash or have the grocery store deliver everything right to their doorstep! What’s next – you need them to put everything in your refrigerator too?!?
And we wonder why people need a motivation cure???
I’ll give you a hint – it’s because we’ve gotten LAZY. The life of comfort and convenience has extinguished the fire within that drives us to aspire for more. The fire that would drive us to pop the bubble that is our comfort zone and reach beyond into the painful and scary unknown for the chance to accomplish and fulfill our goals and aspirations.
The reason ‘motivation’ has begun to bother me is because motivation has taken on a new identity in today’s world. I call it ‘Motivation Culture.” You can’t go online anymore without seeing some kind of motivational quote or soundbite that is overdramatized with the aim of preying off these people who are just dying for any kind of motivation to snap them out of their funk. The unfortunate truth is that for these people, their fires have been completely blown out and extinguished and these little snippets online are nothing more than a single spark falling on cold ash. It might invoke feeling or emotion in them at first, but there is nothing substantial enough there to restart their fire. This is what motivation in today's world has come - more of a packaged product to try and sell. This is why I have a problem with it.
You cannot buy motivation - it must be discovered, cultivated and EARNED.
But once you have it - the real thing - watch out.
motivation cure STEP 1
'Motivation Culture' is all about feelings. Its sole purpose to get you feeling warm and hopeful inside to try and get you to hit a like button or follow an account. But unfortunately, that’s where the action stops. And that is precisely what is missing from the entire equation when it comes to 'Motivation Culture' – ACTION.
Real motivation is PAIN. It was the pain of hunger and starvation that drove man to hunt for food. It is the pain of being homeless that drives you to work every day. It is the pain of becoming diabetic that forces a person to turn their lifestyle around. All these things contain ACTION.
People may not like this point of view. It may look like a negative and pessimistic way to look at life.
“Motivation is supposed to be positive and hopeful and optimistic.”
WRONG. That’s the neatly packaged Motivation Product that is being pedaled to people who need the sugar coating.
If you don't like this framing of what I am talking about, it is merely because you have not developed the proper relationship with Pain. I am not talking about the break you arm kind of pain - I am talking about the pain of regret, the pain of missed opportunity, unfulfilled potential - the pain of letting down the people you care about.
We don’t want pain and stress to be a mainstay in our lives, but we must not avoid it either. Pain (in this instance) is our friend. Pain tells us where we need to focus our time. Pain reveals the path which we must walk to better our lives. Pain gives us the motivation to do something about it. Because pain is UNCOMFORTABLE.
In a world and society that chases comfort, you will instantly set yourself apart by seeking out the discomfort.
If you want to be motivated, get uncomfortable. There is no doubt that most people know exactly what they need to do to better their lives in some capacity because they do feel some level of pain. Whether it’s losing weight, finding a different job, finding a better partner, etc. But the pain isn’t strong enough to override the level of comfort they find themselves in.
They know they should probably go to the gym after work, but the new season of XYZ just came out on Netflix and grabbing a pizza on their way home to binge it on the sofa sounds way better. Way more comfortable.
You want to be more productive and lose some weight? Unplug your TV for 30 days and see what happens. When you start to strip away the things that distract you from the pains in your life, you would be shocked at just how motivated you can become. What are you going to do? Go home and stare at the wall for 5 hours? Suddenly going to the gym doesn’t sound as bad.
Step 1 is simple – GET UNCOMFORTABLE. Strip away the things in your life that kill time. That distract you. That take your mind off everything. Sit with yourself and your thoughts. Let the pain of what you’re missing in your life make itself known so you know where to focus your efforts.
Step 1 shows us the path. It gives us the pain and the reason behind what we need to do. The second half of the equation is ACTION. You know the path, you see the path, but now you must sack up and walk the path. Motivation without action is WORTHLESS. Because without action, nothing changes.
Unfortunately, this is where 99.99% of the 'Motivation Culture' ends up. There is such an abundance of it at our disposal that we merely ingest it without ever acting on what its message was intended for. People just chase the quick hit of hope and optimism they get from it because it makes them feel less hopeless about their current situation (temporarily). Then they just continue scrolling - yet another one of the mindless time killing distractions.
No action. No change.
It’s time to set some goals, but it is the type of goals we set that will make it or break it for us.
Most of the time when someone sets a goal for themselves, it is always based on an outcome. Keeping with our weight loss example, a person would set a goal to lose 20 pounds.
This is a mistake.
We can have a desired outcome, but this is not where our daily focus should be. The goals we set should be processed based goals - what does the path look like on the way to the desired outcome?
Let’s use a relatable example. Let’s say I was going to drive from Detroit to Los Angeles. Yes, LA is my desired outcome – however, on Day 1 my goal is not to make it to Los Angeles. Maybe my first goal is to get a car. My second goal would be to fill up the gas tank. Then get 4 hours of driving in and try to get to Chicago. The next day, maybe the goal is to get to Denver. Correctly following a process ensures the end-state is within reach.
People focusing on their desired end-state is one of the biggest mistakes I continually see. It is so easy to get discouraged when you see how far you still have to go, and it becomes easy to lose motivation.
Think about it, which is a better frame of mind:
"I have 31 hours and 2257 miles left until I get to LA." Or, "I have just under 4 hours and 260 miles until I get to Chicago."
In application, with our weight loss example, the goal of losing 20 pounds is the end-state. The goals we should have in place would be getting to the gym 5 hours per week. Going on daily walks. Hitting daily hydration goals. Eating at or below maintenance calories with high quality foods. These are things that can be accomplished every single day. This reinforces positive momentum and breeds success. And because these things are processed based (things proven to help lose weight), then the desired end-state is reached when the path is adhered to.
Step 2 – set processed based goals and GET TO WORK! TAKE ACTION!
Even though this is technically Step 3, that does not mean it comes last. In fact, it must come first. But I put it here so it’s the last thing you take away from this article. It is the single most important ingredient in achieving anything during your life. It is more powerful than motivation. It is more powerful than discipline.
It is Self-Belief.
You MUST BELIEVE that you are capable of accomplishing whatever it is that you are setting out to do. Because if you don’t, the first sign of struggle or set back will justify the lack of belief you have and give you the go ahead to throw in the towel.
If a person doesn’t think they can lose those 20 pounds, then as soon as they get hit with some adversity they will think, “oh well who cares. I wasn’t going to be able to do it anyways.” And then they quit.
Belief in oneself is the Lifeblood of a Champion.
This is why our training are so important. Because there is not a place on this earth where belief can be better cultivated than within the training of our body. Through overcoming physical hardship and making friends with PAIN, we begin to build that belief in ourselves. We come back stronger physically and mentally with every workout.
We no longer see pain as an enemy to avoid but rather a shepherd to seek out because we know that it will lead us to growth.
If you are lacking motivation, then you are probably out of shape. Be honest with yourself.
I have been there myself. I know. It sucks and it is painful. Painful because you know you could be more.
That is the backbone of what this site is all about.
Showing people that they are capable of more than they ever thought possible when given the right plan and tools at their disposal.
Need help with a plan?
That starts with taking action and building the belief.
You must find the motivation within to want to take that action. That is the only place real motivation can come from - within.
Not the internet, not in a speech, not in this article. The only thing any of those things can help with is revealing some pain that you have ignored for far too long.
Follow the pain. It will be your greatest compass and lead you to tremendous growth.
Cancel the 'Motivation Culture' and begin doing the work that moves the needle.