What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Keeps you moving, pushing, striving, and chasing your work objectives, life goals, or sales quotas?
Tells you to stay in the fight when you feel like giving up?
Provides the fuel to keep pushing when that inner voice starts whispering that you've done enough and it's time to put your feet up and scroll Instagram? Motivation is a fascinating thing. If you google "motivation", you get 1.57 billion results. Enough content out there that 1 in 5 people on this planet felt it was appropriate to post on the internet about motivation.
Oh wait! Only 4.48 billion people have internet access. And most of them are just here for the cat videos.
So, clearly there are autobot content pushers out there trying to capitalize on your insecurities by pushing products, services, blogs, videos, and memes that have tried to convince you that you need to try harder and do more to be better. Don't let someone else capitalize on your insecurities for their own profit. The answers are out there if you seek them by being kind to yourself, and having the humility to figure out the "why".
I've been reading and studying a lot about motivation recently, to try to make better sense of myself, how I got to where I am, and how to get to where I want to be.
What I've come to realize is that there's three types of people. The talkers, the doers, and the don't care-ers.
For the longest time, I've been a talker. Someone who wants to do better, but had no idea where to begin. I wanted to eat better, like myself more, be more active, be more fun, engaged and energetic for my wife and kids, fix everyone and everything, be more educated, maximize my abilities, and overall be a better version of me.
Due to my inability to strategize, focus, plan, and execute, I managed to convince myself that I was so far off of where I should be that my entire self-worth was affected. I took a lot of things I heard and was told as slights, and became incredibly sensitive because I was so unclear of my own self-image and value, and had no idea where to begin to sort it all out and fix it. My motivation to be different and better was overwhelmed by my sense of being lost.
Everyone has to start somewhere, and I started off by deciding what made sense to me, and who was living how I wanted to live.
A few names came to the surface. Tim Ferriss, Jocko Willink, David Goggins, and Gretchen Rubin are four names from the recent past that stand out to me as people that have provided guidance, clarity, and confirmation in my life.
Tim Ferriss is someone that could have his own series of blog posts to explain how fascinating and interesting I find him to be. Long story short, he's one of those guys who is good at everything, and fixated on the "why". He describes himself as the human guinea pig, and wrote a number of successful books (the four hour workweek, the four hour body, the four hour chef) based on his own research using himself to decide what works and what doesn't work in the worlds of personal success, personal health and fitness, and food and nutrition. He also wrote two killer books in which he dissected some of the most successful people in the world to figure out how they tick - "Tribe of Mentors" and "Tools for Titans." On top of these five enormous and life changing tomes, he has one of the most downloaded podcasts on the internet. Tim is one of those guys who possesses an insatiable curiosity as to why, and uses that to create a world of more informed, curious, insightful, and self-aware followers.
If you like to read, check out his books. If you like to listen, check out his podcast.
Jocko Willink and David Goggins are part and parcel in some ways. Both are ex Navy SEALS. Navy SEALS are some of the most elite special operators in global military existence. They achieve the impossible time and time again. Jocko is a foremost expert in the fields of discipline and leadership. David Goggins is an expert in the field of rising above adversity and conquering your own demons to push past your own self-determined limits and defy expectations. These two gentlemen scribed two life changing books that I could read time and time again. Jocko Willink - "Discipline Equals Freedom", and David Goggins - "Can't Hurt Me" are two of the biggest selling books out there, because they use Navy SEAL principles as part of their overall message of having purpose, having focus, and refusing to quit when it comes to achieving the most out of your life and finding your own greatness.
Jocko is the terrifying 230 pound 65 pull ups in a row ex Navy SEAL dad that we all wish we had
For an average Jocko 1 minute twitter pep talk, click here
David Goggins overcame extreme childhood trauma, racism, and a severe learning disability to become one of the most decorated military members and endurance athletes ever.
Your average David Goggins instagram pep talk on imposing your own limits here
Gretchen Rubin is a tremendously underrated author. She was a former lawyer who took her insatiable curiosity and turned it into a new career as a best-selling author who specialized in the world of human nature. She wrote a book called "The Happiness Project" where she spent a year of her life dissecting happiness on an academic level, and spending each month making a different field of thought or success in happiness research a part of her everyday life. Her lessons were equal parts fascinating and insightful. The notes I took from this book are valuable to review on a regular basis. The books, podcasts, and social media content created by these four individuals check all the boxes for me in terms of being well-researched or fully-lived insights and teachings in the most important parts of human nature. How to be healthy, wealthy, wise, happy, disciplined, and determined to succeed at all costs. Rather than looking at dick and fart joke memes or videos, I dive into their content on a daily basis to soak up knowledge from people who have it better figured out than I do.
What motivates me is a question that on the surface seems like a no-brainer. I'm motivated to be better than my past, and to be a new future that provides happiness and a place of love, safety, and home for my wife and kids. I'm motivated to take the gifts I did receive despite the obstacles I faced, and to make them into real and tangible long lasting impacts in the world around me.
I'm motivated to not be another statistic. Another east end kid who was raised by parents that didn't have a lot of money, didn't have a good handle on themselves, and a good handle on what it took to create a happy, loved, well-rounded, and stable child. Someone who never amounts to much and blames it on external factors. Instead I am gonna be someone who leads by example, treats others how he wishes to be treated, and is there no matter the stakes for those who matter the most. Someone who did things the right way, and inspired others to be the best them. Someone who left the world a bit better than he entered it, and bestowed similar values upon his kids.
I didn't figure this out until I figured myself out.
First I wanted to be the best player on the field or court. I usually was or pretty close, but off the court or field I was still lost and scared and not someone that people really wanted to have around. Then I wanted to be the life of the party. The guy who drank the most beers the fastest, cracked the funniest jokes, danced like no one was watching, and went above and beyond to protect the honour of women and the weak from predators and bullies. Then I realized what really mattered and just wanted to be the best version of me, not who I thought others wanted me to be to maximize "being liked", and instead to be happy and secure with myself and who I am. I'm not 100% there yet, but I'm getting pretty close. Reading and listening to those who have figured out and thrived in their own lives in ways that I admire have been an enormous asset. As has being surrounded by love for the first time on my life, and being so on a daily basis from my wife and kids.
What motivates you? If you're not sure, figure out where you want to get to. Look who is already there and how they did it. Life is in the lessons, and success is in never accepting failure as an acceptable outcome. Every day is a new day to make the best decisions and to maximize. I used to waste so much time following dumb twitter accounts and Facebook pages, trying to lose myself in mediocrity and social media validation.
Now? I put myself, my mood, my fitness, my brain, my future, and my family first. Everyone around me benefits as a result. I support you, and you've got this. Just find your why and go get you some. Stay hard.