The Real Danger of Motivation (Pt 3.)

What are the thoughts you are having that are holding you back?

We thought it was motivation that was holding us back.  It isn’t.   The thing that is holding us back are the thoughts we practice about ourselves and our own low-estimations about our ability to have the life we want.

When we say we don’t have the motivation to do something, I invite you to consider that maybe we are actually saying that we do not find our own cause compelling enough.  In short, we have decided at a fundamental level that we are not good enough, that we are not worth it, that everyone knows we’re a fake and nothing is ever going to change that!

Bullshit.   But I’ll get into that later..

For now, you need to understand the Real Danger of Motivation – this is so important. When we hold these negative thoughts about ourselves, and we are full of self-weilding and self-inflicting negativity, we are ripe for finding that one thing that will carry us through, that motivational lattice and structure that will bring us to the dream!   When we are so obviously floundering, we are easily led to believe that we are failures, and when we beleive we that, it becomes much easier to believe someone who agrees with us and offers us another way.

Relying on motivation can sometimes turn our brains off when we need them most. Instead of seeing bullshit for what it is, we buy into this idea that we are ‘supposed to be uncomfortable’ and that we are to have a kind of ‘reckless abandon’ when we jump into a thing or practice – whole-hog!   It is a virtue to say “YES” without waiting for the question, to agree when our own internal warning systems are telling us to get the hell out, and to give total trust that is simply asked for but not earned.

When we believe that we are missing something or failing somehow to ‘pull the trigger’, focused soley on our short-comings and failures, and we buy into this motivational philosphy that says we are ‘meant to be uncomfortable in order to grow’.. really uncomforatble.. we might fail to discern the difference between being uncomfortable and being manipulated.

And that’s a pretty dangerous place to be.

 

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The Real Danger of Motivation (Pt 2.)

What we lack is not motivation, it is honesty.

What we really want more than anything is to say we are willing to do the hard work, make the hard choices, buckle down, sweat, hurt and yes, even bleed for what we want.. without actually doing ANY of those things in any way, shape or form.

We don’t get to define our desires with words, we define our desires with action and action alone.

When we don’t take the action that aligns with our stated desires, we make facile excuses like; ‘I just don’t have enough motivation’.   We seem to think that our actions are the result of external forces and circumstances, but really our actions are the result of our own desires at any given moment as they relate to the weight of our judgements and our thoughts to external forces and our circumstances.    

This subtle distinction makes all the difference.

Because what we are thinking about a given circumstance or situation will drive our feelings, and our feelings will then drive our action – regardless of motivation.   In other words, if you have strong thoughts about something, you will not require ‘motivation’ as you will naturally generate the feelings needed to perform the task and, while that itself may seem like motivation, that word is kind of shoddy – “Of course you were going to do the thing!”, you might think, “No motivation necessary!”.

So what are the thoughts that are failing you?

The Real Danger of Motivation (Pt 1.)

One can hear it all the time in my line of work – “I just can’t find the motivation to _____”.

It’s as though we are saying, if I don’t have the motivation, then what I say needs to be done cannot be done.   The minute changes, or grand changes, in my life cannot be executed if I cannot convince myself of their importance or relevance.   What sounded good to me yesterday, is no longer sufficient for today.

Motivation stops being that catalyst to the next best level of ourselves and instead becomes the ubiquitous and incoherent placeholder for any excuse we wish to make for ourselves.   We think that if we aren’t ‘motivated’ to do something, we can give ourselves a pass for not doing something.

That is a lie, and we should quit lying.   What we lack is not motivation, it is honesty.

 

The fruits of daily yoga.

Maybe when you read that title, you think, automatically, that I’m going to go on about how much more flexible I am or toned?  Both?   But it’s not true.   Maybe.  Maybe.. maybe I’m a little more flexible.. maybe.

But what’s really standing out to me is this.

About three weeks ago, I decided to start doing yoga every single day. Recently, I even began posting it online so others could see, but I already had a few-weeks head-start. My goal was to loosen my hips and lower back….aaaand hamstrings.   That’s what I focused on exclusively for the first week, but then I began to just look for any thirty-minute videos of yoga, exploring what was available online.

There were some videos where I wasn’t into the instructor or the video and, a few times, I even stopped the video to find another that I liked better.   I quickly came back to the original video and decided I needed to finish that one.  That I needed to accept what it was offering and just stick with it.   Funny thing was, I usually ended up having a good time with those videos I didn’t even like, initially.

That was interesting to me, so I began to practice leaving my judgements aside and staying with the practice.

So the fruits.. the unexpected fruits of my daily yoga?

Acceptance.

Accepting that not all videos are going to scream ‘awesome’ at me.   Accepting that when I go into a pose, and when the instructor tells me I should feel it in my glutes or hamstrings, that maybe I’m not there yet.   Maybe I have to feel it in my hips for now because that’s a pre-level and that’s the best I can hope for.

Sometimes we have to accept things where we are and not where we want to be.   Sometimes we’re just not ready for what we’re being asked to do, and we have to accept the place where we are ready.   The key is to accept it and keep a positive mental attitude – stay positive because you are doing what you can, you accept that you are where you are, but you continue to do the work so that someday, you will be where you want to be.

That makes me feel grateful and yes, even accomplished – stiff hips and all.

 

Over-the-top

There have been times where a customer walks in and I greet them, exuberantly – because that’s how I do – and they respond with disbelieving sarcasm.   There was one time where it actually hurt my feelings a little bit, when a customer mocked my tone. Sure! I’m a sales-person in a shoe-store, and Yes! I’m aware that people who feel cared for and attended to will have a better experience in a business like ours than those who are ignored and treated with indifference, but my awareness of these facts does not preclude the verity – I’m excited and happy to meet new people, see familiar faces, help someone find the shoe that fits the best.

Things aren’t always mutually exclusive.

In defense of being over-the-top, it takes a certain amount of vulnerability to step out of yourself, ignoring the ‘moderating voice’ that doesn’t think you should say that thing or be that guy.   It takes a little bit of courage to be.. to BE.. to put yourself in the position that you ARE engaged, concerned, listening, helping.. when you know others might view your intensity as something self-serving or somehow dirty.

Sometimes, when I’m not feeling it, I bring it anyway and guess what?   I begin to feel it. So did I manufacture it?   Is IT real?  Should I apologize because I forced myself out of myself and into someone who cares about what’s going on with the customer, friend, spouse, parent, etc.?

It’s not even ‘fake it ’til’ you make it’, and it’s not acting either – it’s just deciding that you aren’t the only soul alive in the world who is experiencing life from a singular perspective.  In fact, you’re an actor in everyone else’s play whether you like it or not.

You get to be whoever you want – so you might as well be over-the-top helpful, good, kind, loving, caring, vulnerable, accepting and on and on.

The alternative sucks.

Thank You.

There are people out there who are binary, in the sense that your encounter with them, as a new business owner, will either be ‘yes’ or ‘no’.   They have that kind of power.  A word on their social networks could change your life.   An at-cost loan from them could give you the necessities you need to run your business smoothly and professionally.   The advice they have to offer could help you avoid making the kinds of mistakes that eventually kill start-ups like yours.

Sometimes they are aware of this power.  Sometimes, it is so normalized in their lives that they don’t even recognize it.   So many people fawn over them or try to get that angle with them – blow smoke up their ass, so to speak – that they have developed a routine rejection.   Much like the, “Sorry, I’m on plastic!” I use at circle K stations when homeless people ask for money.

That’s their perspective.

From a starting business’ perspective, I have to be on point and ready.   Somehow, I have to differentiate myself from the rabble.   Maybe shake up their expectations.  I mean, I could play that game and that’s the game that’s being played but.. I have a better idea. How about I put my head to the grind-stone, I do my work and I keep grinding away, I treat everyone equally and treat everyone like a human being, and I leave it up to fate.  I mean, that sounds great and even bragadocious, but that’s not always what I do.   Most of the time I get caught up in the aforementioned BS and find myself wringing my hands hoping I said the right word in the right phrase in exactly the right tone at precisely the right time.. Oh my!  Oh my!  Oh my!

But for all my waffling and on-again-off-again self-confidence, there have been folks who, despite my short-comings – and beleive me, they saw some of my weaknesses, I’m sure – they still supported me.   They still lifted me up and helped me for no other reason than they wanted to.

There’s a level of trust there.   When someone puts you on blast specifically to help your fledgeling business, they just put themselves on the line for you.   It’s not that they’re willing to look bad if you do a bad job – they go way further than that becuase they’re willing to fail with you.   Talk about motivation to succeed!   They hang in there with you while you stumble around blindly, trying to learn the ropes, not seeing the finer points when you’re so interested in being understood and not understanding.   Damn!  They protect you when you don’t even know you need protecting – saving you possible hurt, damage and even the destruction of your business.   They even make sure you have some of the basic necessities in your life.

I’m here to tell you that as I go forward, failing, I will never fail because I will learn and try again.   And when I succeed from level to level, and as I grow, I will always remember those who said ‘Yes’ when it meant the most – and I will honor them, by saying ‘Yes’, too.

Thank you all so much.   Destination U is only possible for the deep support and generosity that so many have shown me – you truly inspire me to believe, with all my heart, that anything is possible with friends like mine.

 

The things that matter the most.

Connection.

Connecting with others in meaningful ways matters tremendously.   It’s an area that I’m working on and, while I’m not awful, I’ve got a good ways to go too.

One way I fail at connecting is by not paying attention.   Whether it’s my phone or even something as simple as thinking about what I’m going to say next, instead of listening.  I want to be understood more than I want to understand, sometimes.   That’s pretty common, too.   Sometimes, I have to ask my wife what she just said, because I was thinking about something else.

Maybe not all conversations have to be this intense exchange or lightning-bolt thunderous exposition, but we need that, too!   Besides, it’s really fun to connect with those you love and care about.  It’s fun to connect to strangers too.   We LIVE for connections like this.

Connections move us closer to empathy.  Connecting moves us closer to love, and love is one of those things, if not THE thing, that matters the most.