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  • Writer's pictureRowin


Updated: May 31, 2021

That's a good simplified analogy to everything you have to do in your life. Every action you take comes from motivation; and by this term, I don't mean "enthusiasm." Often, people get the two words confused, and in my view, these are two separate entities. I define motivation as the mental power to overcome your body's natural tendency to be lazy and idle. Of course your body "thinks" it doesn't want to move. It wants to conserve energy and eat and get fat and do nothing. We're essentially cats, in a way. The only thing keeping yourself from such a sedentary lifestyle is your mind and willpower.

If you've managed to get out of bed today, you've shown some motivation. You may not have been too keen on waking up, but you did it, so well done you. This concept of overcoming your own body is exactly what motivation is. Every action you perform.

With practice, we can get ourselves to do incredible things, and the more you get used to bending your own flesh to your will, the easier it becomes. Waking up is hard to do if we've always been keen to indulge ourselves in an extra snooze in the morning, but if you have the willpower and stubbornness to resist your own impulse to do nothing, then you can do it. Set an alarm early and use it as a test of your own volition. If you're stubborn, you should find it easy to resist oversleeping if you frame it the right way. It's like a protest, only you're protesting against yourself.

Of course, it doesn't just stop at waking up. Every action throughout the day comes from this same, nearly unlimited fuel source. Getting yourself to do something can be easier if you know there are consequences, such as getting round to finishing a work-project because the deadline is tomorrow at noon. Somehow, you might find yourself working ten times as fast as you've ever worked, becoming a tornado of efficiency, a Tazmanian devil of work. Once you miraculously finish, you wonder why you couldn't have done that three weeks ago when your assignment was given to you.

It's quite simple, I suppose; you just didn't have this motivation. There's nothing wrong with also being motivated by external factors, but the sense of accomplishment you get from doing it without anyone else's gun to your head makes it a lot more satisfying. You can feel prouder of yourself, and more importantly, you develop a skillset and ability to help you further on when you need to know how to self-motivate.

Self-motivation is such an important and useful tool to have equipped. With enough of it, your potential really is just about as great as your imagination. When you think about it, what separates someone who has seemingly accomplished everything and someone who has seemingly done little to nothing of what they have always wanted to do, but has always had dreams of doing it? That's right; it's motivation. The accomplisher has had the motivation at some point to go and do things. So what's stopping you?

There's only one obstacle in your way, and it's always been there. It's yourself. You prevent yourself from doing anything you want. Whether it's out of fear, laziness, worry, attachment or even compassion, you stand in your own way. It's a concept I've been trying to establish throughout H²ELP and just about everything else, but it all comes down to what action you're willing to take.

Do you want to follow your dreams and ambitions? Then stop blaming other people and your circumstances. The problem is you, as difficult as that is to accept. Other people may have had an effect on you, and so has your situation, no doubt, however, once you realise that your main obstacle is your own aversion to progress, you face a choice: you can force yourself to do the things you've wanted to do your whole life and try and actually accomplish something, or you can stay at home, live a stationary and unfulfilling life and at the end of it all, you'll wonder how time had flown by you so quickly.

As with nearly every good thing you can do for yourself, you will have to put yourself in uncomfortable situations. Discomfort is a good thing. If you feel nervous about talking to someone about a business idea or pitch, and that stops you from going through with it and becoming a director of your own fishing equipment company, then you've already lost out on your dream. Tackle your aversion. Be aware that you can get rejected, make yourself vulnerable, take a risk. People fear being uncomfortable, but the only thing making it difficult is that anxiety. Most of the time there is no real danger. When it comes to business pitches, it's rarely ever like Dragons' den, and if it is, they really have no idea what they're doing. It makes for almost interesting television, but it makes for a terrible misrepresentation of actual sales pitches and hence everyone assumes it's scary. It's as scary as you make it. The worst that can happen is that you'll try to sell an idea and you'll get told politely that it' not something the person listening really wants right now and you'll have to try somewhere else. What's the problem? Y0ur own fear is far more uncomfortable than the rejection itself. And living knowing that you could have at least tried something but never got around to it is uncomfortable as Hell.

So why is it so hard when you know that inaction is worse than any possible reaction to your action? This is where the concept of speed bumps comes in.

Imagine you're on a bicycle, whatever's easier to visualise for you, and you come to a stop. Your front wheel is touching a big speed bump. These bumps are very steep, but they are small, so you know that you can get over them. You can see from where you sit how big it is and what's on the other side. In this metaphor, the speed bump is the uncomfortable situation, and this road is simply your road, the journey is your life's journey. It all sounds very flowery, doesn't it, but bear with:

You know it's going to take a bit more effort than usual to get up and over this hump, but you know it's not impossible. Staying still will just mean you're not going to go anywhere, but you can stay there as long as you want. It might get a bit boring after a while though. On the other hand, you could try and get over it. Use your motivation and force yourself to expend a bit more energy to surmount the slightly raised road. All of a sudden, you're doing it, after bit of deliberation and yelling at yourself to garner enough willpower to do it.

Once you're over it, you start realising that it actually wasn't that hard of a problem. You might wonder why it took you so long to get over it in the first place. You just needed that initial burst of energy, and now you're here. In fact, the road is a lot smoother now, and you barely have to turn the pedals to keep going. Isn't your life so much better off now?

Of course, there are many speed bumps on the road to progress. It's not just a one-off usually, but now you're cycling, you've got some momentum. You know how to handle speed bumps when they arise, so they don't affect you as much. Keep going forward, and you're actually getting somewhere. You can go at your own pace, you can take it easy, or you can pedal as fast as you like. That depends on how much effort you're willing to put into your own development.

You may experience doubt in the future. Maybe you're going the wrong way, maybe the destnation is too far and you're not sure you'll make it, maybe you slow down to a stop. Then you have yourself another speed bump. With the practice of self-motivation and the more you do it, the easier it is to handle all the new ones that pop up. You've done this countless times before now, so whatever this problem is, you can be confident that you can face it.

That's essentially my view on motivation. It's a huge topic, and I may have to expand some more, but its essence is here. You can use this as a tool to help you elsewhere in your life too, like when you have to tell someone something and be honest about it, suffer awkward and uncomfortable discussions, situations, social circumstances, etc. If you can master the art of getting yourself to do it regardless, of motivting yourself, then you'll have no trouble.

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