Million Dollar Baby, the movie that stole our hearts as we watched the rags to riches, heart wrenching journey of Maggie, the unlikely underdog turned hero of a grungy boxing gym and underrated, past-his-prime boxing coach.
A plethora of profound words to-live-by and life altering dialogue wash over me as I watch in awe of this woman’s determination, drive and unwillingness to hear “No” or “You Can’t”. But the one line that stayed with me, for years to come, that has popped into my mind all along my short path of life was this; “sometimes the best way to deliver a punch is to step back… But step back too far and you ain’t fighting at all.”
Frankie (Maggie’s trainer played by the legendary Clint Eastwood) is talking about her form, her style. But from the moment it rang in my ears, I heard the depth of that statement, it imprinted on my soul and to this day has never left me.
How often is it that we’re so entwined in a situation, in a problem, that all we seem to be doing is treading water. I like to call it the slump, the trough, the stagnation. Now, there is no one that believes more in the trends of life. The upswing and the downswing. The cycle. Sometimes it’s your turn to struggle and claw your way through an era, and sometimes it’s your turn to bask in the glory of the moment. But that line, it has a strange way of lightly tapping me on the shoulder in the middle of my greatest battles, my cyclical thriller in Manila. (Yes, I’ve fought my fair share of Frazier’s, so have you, don’t discredit yourself.)
1. Own your weakness, own your strengths
“Sometimes the best way to deliver a punch is to step back…” for me, this speaks to the art of detaching, for me specifically, this speaks to emotion. So often I cloud myself with emotion, blame it on any which aspect you like, I’m a Gemini, I’m an only child, I’m a woman, call it how you like it, none of the above offends me, and it shouldn’t offend you either. Understand yourself.
Understand the way you tick, the way you work, when you feel that wave of emotion, own it, label it, indulge and experiment with it. Assess what it helps you create, assess the damage it does if you let it be free, harness it and channel it. Be kind to yourself.
As humans we have this indescribable beauty within us that comes from being so imperfect, and having the ability to acknowledge that. So often the clarity we so desire, that we are so thirsty for, comes from detaching ourselves. It comes from decelerating the panic, zooming out.
Taking that one step back to regain our footing, regain our focus and deliver that knock-out punch, that winning number, the move that brings the crowd to their feet in awe and appreciation of you and your efforts.
“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one” – Bruce Lee
2. Don’t step back too far
However, there’s always a “but”. There is a balance to be kept, and our beloved Frankie, Clint Eastwood’s character, brings it home with “But step back too far and you ain’t fighting at all.”
It’s a warning and it’s applicable to every aspect of our lives. Step back too far, and you aren’t even in the fight any longer. Remove yourself too far, cut yourself off, bottle yourself up, and you’re no longer competing. You’re no longer in the game. You aint fighting at all.
It speaks to spectatorizing yourself (yup, I made it up, give it a minute it will catch on). It speaks to side lining yourself. Again I say, be kind to yourself, we are such gentle souls, so delicate, we are so soft and so in need of love and guidance. When there is no one around to applaud for you, applaud yourself.
3. Acknowledge even the smallest victory
I once heard of a primary school teacher who was teaching her little ones to read. One day during class she requested that little Johnny get up and spell the word “cat” on the board. Johnny eagerly got up, ran to the board and in shaky, untrained handwriting Johnny wrote K-O-T. Instead of correcting Johnny straight away, the teacher ran up to Johnny and said “well done Johnny, you got the T correct. Now let us try to get the rest of the letters that you’re missing.”
Be gentle, do not jump to what is wrong first. Give yourself credit where credit is due. Don’t work on yourself because you hate what you are, or what you see. Don’t go into that gym despising your body, it’s been so good to you for this long, after everything you’ve put it through.
Be gentle with your mind and thoughts when learning something new, your brain does a million things at once, over and over, every single day, appreciate yourself. But do not step so far back that you no longer fight. So far back that you no longer compete.
“It’s the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you” – Eddie Scrap
4. Show up on the night
Challenge yourself and change yourself, drive yourself to be what you have always wanted to be, how you’ve always wanted to be. Don’t make yourself a spectator of your own life. You are stronger and more resilient than you could possibly fathom. There is complete freedom at the end of the road of endurance, at the edge of the limits we set ourselves. But we should aim to always discover this positively.
Take that step back in today’s boxing ring, assess your situation, physically, mentally, emotionally… focus… distribute your weight evenly, and deliver life that winning shot.But don’t forget the number one rule; Protect yourself at all times.
Thank you for reading my article! I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!
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All my childhood, I studied hard and got good grades because I was motivated to escape my mother’s disappointment and wrath on failure. Others in my class were motivated by their desire to excel and get into a good college. Still, others were doing it to maintain their social status and to be recognized as excellent students. The word “motivation” holds a different meaning for different people, as what motivates you may not be sufficient for me and vice versa. (more…)
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Motivation is something we all strive to have, but can also be one of those feelings that’s hard to keep. Whether we’re attempting to reach a new fitness goal or trying to stay motivated in our role at work, sometimes that motivation just isn’t there. You feel motivated for a while – you’ll listen to podcasts, read books, keep yourself accountable – but then it’s lost. You feel so much energy at the start, then feel yourself slowly losing that inspiration. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. (more…)
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If you’d like to learn how to consistently motivate yourself so you can achieve any goal you want, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.
People are always waiting for motivation to strike them before they start working on their goals. However, waiting for motivation to come to you before you start working is an unreliable method if you want to consistently work on achieving your goals. (more…)
8 Things You Can Do Right Now to Get Your Motivation Back
Welcome to our new normal. A time in our lives that a year ago we certainly didn’t see coming that most of us probably wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves; but here we are. As the days away from each other carry on and more and more bad news comes our way, it’s easy to lose your motivation and waste energy doing things that aren’t helpful like worrying and fighting with people on the internet instead.
Nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health, according to the Washington Post. While many of us had routines set up to deal with stress in the past, the stress we are facing during this time is unlike anything we’ve experienced before. It’s easy to find yourself in a downward spiral, and that’s the most challenging time to stop the momentum and turn things around. If that’s the case, keep it simple and start to reach for little things to help you feel better and climb your way out.
Here’s a reminder of a few simple things you can do right now to start getting positive momentum going your way:
1. Find someone who was in a similar place and made it to the other side
Whether you’ve been unmotivated to workout, eat healthy, make sales calls or simply do anything, you can find someone who has been there and made it to the other side. Look up some great TED talks, go on YouTube and look up people that motivate you, google them to find their websites. There are short speeches and much longer talks all over the internet, you just need to find someone who you relate to that speaks to you.
2. Do something that you love
When we’re unmotivated, it’s easy to get out of the habit of doing what we love. Sometimes just getting out of bed or away from the tv feels like a chore. Think back to a time in your life when you felt great – what were you doing? What do you absolutely love to do that if you had the time, you would do all day and not realize any time had passed at all?
Figure out a way to do whatever that is, or a modified version of it if it is something that you aren’t able to do at the present time. Spending time doing what you love will get your mind off of anything that is wrong and allow you to find inspiration.
3. Don’t overcomplicate it
Keep it simple. When we’re stuck in a rut, we’ll give ourselves every excuse to not do something. Say you’ve gained some weight; you might tell yourself you need to find the perfect trainer and wait until you have time to cook your meals from scratch each night before you do anything else. Stop trying to overcomplicate it and keep it simple by finding one thing you can do right now, however small that may be. You don’t have to wait until the timing is perfect and the stars align for you to start moving in the direction you want to go.
4. Get up and get moving
This is probably the last thing you want to do right now, but once you are up and moving, your blood will start flowing. The hardest part is getting started. Day one, get up and do anything to get moving. This is the hardest day if you haven’t in a while because getting up is really the hardest part. Day two, do a little more. Once you start, you’ll build momentum and get back in the habit.
5. Reset your focus
It’s so easy for worry to set in and for our minds to wander to places of what we can’t control. This is not motivating or helpful and we always have a choice to redirect our attention. There is always something we can do right where we are, so bring your focus to the solution instead of the problem and figure out the next step of what you can do.
One step at a time. Step one, take your attention away from what you can’t control and what you can’t do. Step two, ask yourself questions like “What can I do?” and see what comes to mind. Follow through with the answers you find.
6. Listen to your favorite music
Not much can lift our spirits and put us into a positive vibration more than our favorite music. Feel free to sing along. Find a song that pumps you up and make that your theme song. Put it on anytime you feel down or unmotivated.
7. Expand your knowledge
“In times of change, the learners will inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” Quote by Eric Hoffer. In times of change, there is great loss but also great opportunity. Continually learning opens you to new opportunities and leads you to paths you may not have otherwise found.
If you’re already a meditator and got away from it, take some time to come back to it. If you’ve never tried, it can be as easy as setting a timer for five minutes (or less, feel free to start with one or two minutes) and focusing on your breath. Listen to the inhalations and exhalations. Silently say to yourself “in” as you inhale and “out” as you exhale. Even taking a few minutes to do this can help you to calm down and allow your mind to refocus.
When we’re unmotivated, our momentum starts moving in the other direction. Slow down that momentum by trying one of the ideas above. Once you’ve slowed down the momentum, get it moving in the right direction and you’ll be well on your way.
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