Motivation is Bullshit

mountainsummit

I’ve had a bit of feedback on my first blog post in the past week. All of the views so far have come from me sending the link to friends and begging politely asking them to read it. Honestly, it’s been a draining week of pressing F5 on the stats page to see if the views will jump from 7 to 8. So my blog post on SEO could be quite a few years away.

The most common question I have received (twice) is “why are you writing a motivation blog?”

I took some time to think about it. Is that really what I am doing? That feels a bit hollow and vapid. Besides, I’m not qualified to motivate people – I have no opinion on carb-cycling or the merits of gluten. I don’t even have an Instagram account to publish my post-workout selfies to with trendy hashtags like #gains and #lift4life! I feel like I am aiming for more than that, but what?

Don’t get me wrong, if I can motivate you, despite my lack of credentials and protein powder, then I am happy with that. But there are already hundreds of people doing that. Preaching their opinions on how to always seem motivated like they pretend to be.

I want to go beyond that. I want us to help each other to know how to “be”, because once you have mastered that, how to “do” naturally follows. It is a matter of order.

Publishing “Don’t Ignore the Wolf’s Breath” marked the start of my journey towards blogging full-time and sharing my ideas and perspectives with an audience.

I have to admit, it was tempting to not write any new posts for a while.

“I’ve taken the first step, that’s the most important thing.” “I should probably focus on SEO now to maximise traffic to my blog.” “I will write new material when I am on leave later this month.”

Bullshit. Those are all band-aids.

They aren’t valid reasons to stop writing and publishing content. They sound reasonable, and in that sense, they are good reasons, but they are not real reasons.

“A man always has two reasons for doing anything: a good reason and the real reason.” – J. P. Morgan

The real reason is that the initial rush of writing has worn off.

It’s like a relationship. At first, you can’t keep your feet on the ground. You feel light, floaty. You’re “in the clouds” thinking about how amazing the other person is.

But that can only last for so long. It is called falling in love because you are falling. You can’t be falling forever. Eventually, you will hit the ground.

BAM!

That thing that they did that you thought was so cute becomes irritating to you.
The idea of writing every day begins to sound like a bit of a chore.

Motivation and lust share a key parallel, so I will use that as an analogy. I say lust, because that floaty, falling feeling isn’t love. Most people think it is, but it isn’t. That’s why so many people can’t have a relationship that lasts more than 3 months – they are so addicted to the falling, thinking it is love.

The primary similarity that they share is that motivation and lust are fleeting. No one, and I mean no one, feels motivated to do what they have chosen to do 100% of the time. I know of top-level Strong Man athletes who do have protein powder and opinions on carb-cycling who don’t always feel like slogging it out in the gym when their alarm goes off at 04:30. They’d rather hit that snooze button and go back to sleep.

But somehow, they overcome it and train anyway. So if they aren’t always motivated, yet they are competing in Strong Man, what separates them from the “ordinary people”? How do they push past mediocrity to get themselves to where they want to be?

Discipline.

If you can master self-discipline, you have mastered life.

The key to discipline is doing things for the greater cause, even if you don’t feel like doing them in the moment.

That’s really hard, I know. It sounds so cliche, but that’s really the fundamental tool to achieving whatever it is that you want to achieve, whether it is in relationships, business or personal life, you need discipline to keep the promise that you have made to others, but more importantly, to yourself.

I promised myself that I would write a blog. It was something that I wanted to do, so I am committed to it and developing the discipline to see it through.

People find it easy to be disciplined when it is for someone else. For example, I’ve been working a 9-5 job for 4 years since graduating. Most mornings, I don’t want to get up and go to work, but I know that if I miss work, something bad will happen. I’ll get in trouble with my boss and eventually lose my job if I don’t show up.

But doing something for yourself? That’s secondary for most people.

To be self-disciplined, you must have self-respect first. You are unlikely to follow through on a commitment to someone if you have no respect for that person, including yourself. And who is more worthy of your respect than you?

Once you have chosen to respect yourself and honour the commitments that you have made, you are ready to start using self-discipline.

“Do the thing and you will have the power.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is no magic formula to make it work (not that I am aware of anyway). You just have to do the thing. Then the more you do the thing, the more you will be inclined to do the thing. You now have one of the most powerful forces in the universe on your side – habit.

I still dislike going to work every day, but when my alarm goes off, I get up and go to work. Not because I am always feeling motivated. It’s just what I do. I get up in the morning and go to work. Transfer that automatic response into other areas of your life. Reach a point where you just get up and train on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, or that you just respond in kindness to people, or that you write and publish blog posts on Tuesdays.

Not because you have a false concept of motivation.

Do it because it is what you do.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s