Do you know how many hundreds of times I wanted to give up?
No, I’m not joking either. I’ve wanted to give up more than you’ve had hot dinners. So much rejection and so much failure have overwhelmed me. These two things have overwhelmed us all. This “life” thing sometimes seems like a joke.
It’s like we’ve been put in a racing car, in fifth gear, at 300km per hour and then been told to steer without any steering wheel. That’s what life is.
But there is a plan for you and for me. One day I sat down and thought about all the leaders and world champions I’ve studied. What did they do when they had to drive this racing car we call life without any steering wheel?
They got in the seat, put on the seatbelt and enjoyed the goddamn ride to the best of their ability. They ran over stuff. They hit walls. They crashed in the rain. Basically, they had fun with it.
No one’s perfect. Most of all, the people you look up to.
Don’t ever give up. Here’s why:
1. I don’t want you to
Okay so here’s the deal: I don’t want you to give up. Yes, that’s correct. I’ve worked too long and too hard to see you read every one of my blog posts and then throw in the towel because someone spoiled your lasagne.
I don’t do this because I want to inspire myself you know. You’re the reason I’m doing this. Despite what you think, I give a damn. Before you give up, send me a message on one of my social media accounts. I care and I won’t let you give up.
I’ll tell you what you don’t want to hear and I’ll give you the truth. You may not like what I have to say, but that’s because I’m not giving you cupcakes, sugar.
Suck it up because I won’t let you give up. Try me.
2. What’s the worst that can happen?
My favorite question to ask in every scary moment.
So you keep going and it’s one hell of a struggle. What’s the worst that can happen?
You try again and fail yet again?
What’s the worst that can happen? You trust in someone and then they lie to you. Happens all the time. What’s the worst that can happen?
“Most of the time the very thing you are afraid of is an illusion made up by your survival brain that is desperate to keep you safe. Safety sucks ass”
3. There’s a reason you’re here
I spent years thinking I was here to make a dollar, go on holiday, get drunk and have fun. Unfortunately, I was wrong. Life gave me a new mission once I hit the wall.
The same is true for you. You’re here for a reason and if you haven’t discovered that yet then it’s going to hit you like a flying piece of salami in the face. You are here for a reason. Life is not meaningless. There is a point to all of it even if you haven’t discovered that for yourself.
Let’s not go into those overused words of purpose and vision because you’ve heard it all before in some other self-help blog post. Let’s strip it all back to one idea: you are here for a reason. Find that reason and then don’t let go.
People will tell you you’re nuts. Screw them.
People will look at you like you’re not quite right (happens to me all the time). Screw them.
People will think you’ve lost the plot. Screw them.
People will want what you have. Help them.
People will want to join your tribe once they figure out you’re for real. Bring them in.
People want to be led. Lead them so they can find their own reason for being here.
“Giving up is for chumps. I’ve just shown you the only thing you ever need to do. There is nothing else. Everything else will follow once you discover the reason you’re here. There’s no way you can ever give up if you follow this plan”
4. It’s not only in your head
Your body tells you a lot of things. It’s not just your brain that tells you to give up; it’s your entire body. Sit up straight. Talk with confidence even when you have no reason to.
Giving up is in the way you use your body and not only about what you are thinking.
5. You can redirect the energy
Take all that energy you want to use towards giving up and divert it into inspiring others through your gift. If you sharpen knives better than anyone else then inspire people with that gift. Giving up takes energy so you may as well put that energy to good use.
6. You can try this. Tell people you want to give up (watch this)
Go and talk with the people who respect you and what you do. If you feel like giving up then tell them you are going to.
For the next however many hours it takes, that person you just told you are going to give up to will push you to rethink your options. Chances are they’ve been inspired by what you do and they don’t want you to give up
This occurs because when you give up on something people appreciate, it’s not good for them either. Giving up messes you up and the people that respect you. When you give up everyone loses. Your lack of willpower kills more than your own dreams.
We’re all connected in some way. Many people live their lives and are inspired by other people’s dreams. If I tried to give up right now, I reckon I would cop so much abuse that I wouldn’t be able to sleep for weeks.
People don’t want you to give up. Neither do I.
7. It’s not that bad baby
Giving up may feel like the only option, but it’s not that bad. Whatever your reasons are for giving up, it’s because you’ve convinced yourself it’s too difficult to continue on. It’s not that bad baby.
I lost my money.
Friends left me to live abroad.
Girlfriends left me.
No one followed my work.
These are the great reasons I had to give up. Did I? No freaking way. All those situations are unpleasant, but things are never as bad as you think they are. Someone else out there has way worse problems than you. Someone else is bankrupt, missing a limb, losing their home, without food or maybe even dying.
Don’t sit there and tell me you got it bad. You don’t. You haven’t been trying as hard as you think. You’ve got more in the fuel tank. Don’t ever give up.
8. You’re telling the give up story
The story about why you have to give up is being told by you. You’re the freaking narrator so stop telling crap stories. No one wants to hear a story about you giving up, including you. So, don’t tell that horrible story.
If I held a gun to your head and told you to change the story of your life, then I’m willing to bet a million bucks that you’d do it. I’m also willing to bet that you’d never cry like a baby and try and give up ever again. Now I live in Australia so I’m not going to go and buy that metaphorical gun and blow your head off because we have an agreement now. Don’t we?
Write the next chapter of your personal story. Make this chapter count. Live like you’re writing this epic novel called your life because, in fact, you are. I’m looking forward to reading it. Remember we’re all authors including you.
If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
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