This week for me has been one of the toughest ever. Again I’m faced with a decision that is so tough I have been frozen in time. I can’t do anything else but think about this decision and wonder where the road will lead. It’s the first time I have had no idea what the answer is.
For a proclaimed self-help leader I should know it all right? I should understand what to do and what the right decision is to make. But I don’t! You’ve probably faced a similar predicament, or you may even be facing this challenge right now.
I’m here to tell you that it’s not over. Once you make this tough decision, you will hit rock bottom for a little while. Don’t worry though because no one stays in that dark, eerie hole forever.
From this frightening place is one of the greatest miracles you will ever experience; the miracle of beginning your life again from rock bottom. This process is like watching an eagle fly again after it’s injured its wings.
“The worst thing you can do is stay at rock bottom and not be the person you were created to be”
You’re here for a reason and so am I. We may not know what that reason is, but we have to continue to search and not give up.
Giving up is for suckers, and you’re not one of those. You may be flat on your face and have no strategy yet. That’s okay because the world is full of strategies. What you need is to agree that it’s time to make a new decision! Time to truly begin your life once and for all and be reborn again!
Here are 6 reasons why rock bottom is where your life begins:
1. At the bottom, you let go of everything
When you hit rock bottom, you let go of everything. You start again with nothing and get rid of all the stuff in your life that doesn’t make sense. It’s easy to become misguided and allow people around you to suck you into things that matter to them, but not to you.
For me, I have to let go of a fair bit of baggage in the coming weeks, and it’s all part of the process. This allows me to metaphorically refill my cup of life with new things that will be better than ever before.
We hold onto things in our life because we sometimes can’t bring ourselves to give them up. We think that we will feel a sense of loss, so we resist giving up what we love even though we sometimes know we have to. No one wants to be at rock bottom yet we all have to go there now and then.
It’s the way you think during this difficult time that will determine if you bounce back again. You get to write the words to the next chapter of your life, and the success you will or won’t have is dependent on your mindset. Feeling sorry for yourself is not going to help anybody including you.
2. Pain will make you take action
Unless you hit rock bottom, you are unlikely to have enough pain in your life to deal with your problems. Pain motivates you so much when you look at it from a distance. To climb back to the top of the mountain again you need pain to get you there.
Pain is the momentum and the motivation you’ve probably needed for most of your life. Fearing and dwelling on the moment of your rock bottom struggles will not make you happy again. It’s highly possible to come back from this difficult position quickly, but you have to embrace your pain to do so.
Don’t settle for second place and let that pain help you rise from the ashes again. All of the people that doubted you and hated you when you were at the top may be pointing at you and laughing. Who cares about them. Put on your boots, go outside, and go stamp in the mud rather than hiding from it.
3. Struggle is where it starts
The comfort zone of pizza, beer, TV shows and lack of taking action towards your dream is what’s got you to rock this new position of rock bottom in the first place. You’ve been blessed with struggle as a way for you to think differently about your problems and come up with an innovative solution.
The word innovation is not just for the fancy corporate’s to throw against the wall ten times an hour; it’s entirely possible to innovate on yourself. We can’t fix things that we can’t see, though. Being at rock bottom makes all of your problems, faults, and unhappiness come under the spotlight.
At rock bottom, you gain a new sense of clarity, and you develop the vision to see your life better than it is right now. Let’s face it, at rock bottom, all it takes is someone to smile at you and your life is already better than it was.
Asking yourself the question “Not again, why me” is not going to help your situation. I know I sometimes feel like rock bottom seems to get attracted to me more than anyone else but the facts are I embrace it and become aware of it.
Everyone else I know hides it and doesn’t want to even admit where they are at. This way of living is the true deception.
“Don’t lie to yourself and others; accept the struggle, get back on the horse cowboy, and go shoot some empty glass bottles again like you were five years old”
4. You need to be reset just like the economy
Every 7-10 years we go through what has become very well known to us all: a recession. The news stations shout out this phrase like Armageddon is approaching, like we’re all going to die. A recession is nothing more than a reset switch that affects the financial markets.
The stock market and real estate markets can’t go up and up forever. Every few years we need everything to go to hell so we can reset. Rock bottom in your life is no different. When you hit rock bottom, you are mostly just hitting the reset switch on everything you’re currently are experiencing.
Your mind more than anything needs this. If you have a recurring thought in your head like I do, that is stopping you from functioning, then you need to get it out of your head. Rock bottom is the tool we were given to reset ourselves just like our computer.
Rock bottom is a reset of all of your values, beliefs and current goals. It’s a chance to come up with a new vision for your life and find a new network of people to tap into. Nothing in nature stands still, and just like the Peace Lilly sitting next to me as I type these words, we must continue to grow. Civilization must continue to grow.
5. At the top, you forget so much
Being at the top of your game can make you forget pretty quickly how you got there. The best part is not being at the top; it’s the journey that you take to get there. It’s the journey where all the lessons are learned, and the momentum occurs.
What better way than to start a new journey beginning with this whole rock bottom period of your life. When you are surrounded by nothing but success you can become self-absorbed in your own BS and sense of worth. You can think you are Superman when really you are a nobody just like me.
For as long as I can remember, every time I’ve reached the top, I’ve forgotten the people that helped me get there and the hard work it took. This time I’m committed to appreciating even the worst bits, like this feeling of rock bottom that I have right now.
This is my second visit to rock bottom in six months to so I’m becoming a bit of an expert…haha. I’m not sure that is a good thing, but I’ll wear it as a badge of honor none the less.
6. Your gratitude increases 10X
The final point you need to comprehend about rock bottom is that it’s where your gratitude increases ten times if not, more. When you’ve hit the lowest point, any ounce of good feelings or positive input from people around you feels like you’ve just won one hundred million dollars.
Suddenly, that friend buying you lunch or that SMS from a work colleague makes you feel unstoppable. As you relearn how to be grateful for the little things again, you give yourself a valuable weapon in this battle we call life.
That’s because life is a battle and it’s not easy for any of us including me. It’s not meant to be a walk in the park, but it can be so much better when you appreciate all that is around you. The only sure fire way to come back from the point of rock bottom is to notice and reinforce your beliefs around gratitude.
There’s nothing better on a day of being at rock bottom than going for a walk in the park or sipping your favorite tea or coffee concoction. You realize that it’s not so much the big wins in your life, but all the small wins that lead up to the ultimate triumph that matter the most. Have you been to rock bottom? What was it like?
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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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