I have a good friend Chris, he now lives in Norway. Without a doubt he put the idea of serious adventure (the kind you have to suffer to achieve) back in my life, in one foul swoop.
Despite what looked like a pending storm and the setting sun, we (he) decided that it was a great time drive out and start a 4 hour hike, to a camping spot he’d heard about.
The hike was more like a climb, basically vertical, up a dusty, rocky and very slippery fire trail. The camping spot, was no where near the trail, in fact it wasn’t a camping spot, but a section about 3 meters wide on a pinnacle with an 80m drop on one side, 40m on the over and a walk over a razorback spine to get to it. None of which I knew at the time because it was pitch black.
After several hours of walking, legs now trembling, in a state of extreme exhaustion we slept on the ground and the howling wind whipped my lips dry. When we woke we were high above the valley,we sprawling views to the north and an incredible sunrise to the east. The steaming coffee we had for breakfast tasted particularly sweet.
There wasn’t anything special about the afternoon, or the idea or anything. The thing was, I didn’t really feel like I had a choice…we just went.
The truth of the matter is, the people who are doing the things that you want to do aren’t more motivated or inspired than you. They just got off their ass and started somewhere.
Now this idea is not ground breaking, it’s been summarised so neatly in the exact quotes I’m talking about (see my front page for a wonderful example). But you scroll by it, like you scroll by everything else and think: “that’s totally something I could do, I just haven’t got around to it yet”. Next thing you know, you’re fat, old, balding with three kids and living in the western suburbs…never having chased that illusive thing.
Ok that might be a little far, but what I’m getting at is why the hell does it seem that so many people aren’t doing what they want to do.
The general consensus seems to be that action is hard to muster. You know the type if things you say to yourself “I need coffee before I can wake up”, “I don’t have the time to…”, “Maybe I’ll have a bite to eat first”, “I can’t do that or my knee might play up”. Generally it’s either bad habit or bullshit.
Turning to motivation gives goals or dreams a sense of being other worldly and truly, dreams can be. But to make them achievable, they have to be black and white, set out in a clear path in front of you.
For me, lately, I’ve had “motivation” in spades. I’ve moved forward in the planning of my expedition more in the last two weeks than I have in 6 months. I’ve broken mental and physical boundaries which seemed for so long to allude me. But it’s not some magical thing! I literally started the simplest way possible. I sat down, wrote a list of the things I knew I had to do to move forward and numbered them from 1 to 10. Number 1 was the thing I wanted to do least (running EVERY morning), from there things got easier, not EASY, but easier.
At times it felt somewhat uncomfortable and artificial (“I’m not this kind of guy”, “I don’t know what I’m doing”) but I don’t give myself a choice I am literally forcing myself.
Also, a few simple things that seem to make a massive difference…
- Turn your phone off as often and for as long as possible. A better procrastination tool has never been invented, get fucking rid of it.
- Sleep. 7 to 8 hours a night and no screens at least half an hour before bed time. I got an alarm clock and charge my phone in the kitchen over night.
- Change the type of language you use and it will change everything. Move from rolling out of bed to saying “I am unmotivated”, to saying “I feel unproductive”. See how a little change in language changes everything, you are not that thing, you justfeel it.
- Consistency and measure. I hate running, absolutely hate it, but I can’t go and climb mountains with the cardio of a sloth..so I need to run. Now I run every (weekday) morning, starting Monday, each day has to be further than the previous. I also get super nervous and self concious about writing (that’s my “writers block”) so I write every week day and gradually more each day. The start of the next week, I reset. I also measure myself against my best mate, he’s always been more fit than me, so I get him to text me the exercise he does and try to beat it (that’s just cause I’m kind of competitive).
- Find something you REALLY want (maybe even something you NEED), something you want more than sleep.
So keep it simple, stop watching fucking YouTube videos about motivation and start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.