Lots of my people who read my stuff email me with their struggles. They’re hoping that I will be blown away by how hard they’ve had it. They think it’s some sort of competition to see who has the most battle scars.
By reading so many of these emails of struggle over the last few years, I realized something: we all have it tough. All of us struggle – even me.
– Right now, I have 14 days left until I’ll be out of a job.
– I’ve got some very challenging personal issues to deal with.
– My investments need a major rework and I’m completely lost.
I’ve been offered an opportunity to do public speaking to a large audience and am scared of whether I should say yes. Do I have what it takes? Will I mess it up?
We all have it tough.
What I’ve learned is it’s what you do with the struggle that will define your future.
Are you going to sit there and take it?
That’s right I’m asking you right now. What are you going to do with the struggles?
There are only two options:
1. Toughen up and use the struggles as motivation
2. Be a piss weak, sook, and give up.
Your struggles can take you to a new level. When George Lucas tried to make Star Wars, it was a total F*ck up. Everything went wrong. There were natural disasters, lack of money and even the actors thought it was the worse film ever to be made.
Did the creator of the Jedi Knight give up?
Not a chance. He kept going and defied the odds. His reward? One of the most watched movies of all time and plenty of cash to go with it.
You may still be thinking option two is your only hope. Maybe you could be piss weak and just give up. Then you could sit on the couch, watch Netflix, drink wine and pretend that your struggles didn’t stop you from achieving your goals.
The good news is giving up works short-term. The bad news?
After the short-term gain of giving up, and getting to Netflix and chill, you’ll be really pissed off at yourself. You’ll have regret and feel even worse than before you began your journey of struggle. Not getting your goals and making next to no progress feels like crap.I spent several years doing this.
“Every night I would get home, watch a Hollywood movie, go to 7-Eleven for some sugar and send useless texts to the toxic people in my life”
These same people were going nowhere and telling me to give up.
Screw that. I did this for a while and felt so empty. Life had no meaning and I was making no impact. The sugar diet made me sick and I ended up becoming bedridden.
The struggle is the beginning.
Looking back, without the struggle, I would have never got off my lazy ass and actually taken action. When I say “It’s what you do with the struggle,” what I mean is this:
Having it tough and struggling – like trying to walk up a hill while there’s a mudslide happening at the exact same time – is a big fat signal that you’re onto something.
The motivation and momentum you need to get started is right there in front of your blue eyes.
“You can’t get started on some mammoth task to change your life unless you get pissed off and do it tough”
If you were doing it easy, there’d be no urgent reason to take action.
When you’re like me and you are about to be unemployed, have lots of tough decisions to make and are unsatisfied with your career progression to date, you have to embrace your circumstances.
Now, this sounds like a lot of big words that you’d read in some 2000-page self-help book that repeats the same ideas over and over.
I’m going to dumb it right down:
The struggle is a sign to get started. When you struggle, things can’t really get much worse. What you’re left with is nothing but upside.
What action do we take then when we’re struggling?
Let’s use my situation as an example. Here are the action steps I’m using and implementing this week:
1. Accept where you are right now
– This will give you a reality check.
2. Meditate to relax your busy brain
– Stress will force you to make dumb decisions.
3. Get really uncomfortable
– I said yes to a new business venture that involves a lot of public speaking.
4. Resist the temptation to be pissed off
– Getting angry is only going to make things worse. Reserve your energy.
5. Write three things a day you’re grateful for
– This will force you to find the positive.
6. Delete whingers, sooks, liars and complainers from your contact list
– You’ve got enough issues; it’s hard enough to be positive without having toxic people talk nonsense and distract you.
Final step: Chill out amigo.
Your world is not going to end tomorrow. You can always start again. You can always fall down and get straight back up. Don’t be so angry with yourself. We all struggle and you’re doing the best that you can. Focus your energy on building your confidence and supporting your growth mindset.
“My future looks like a nuclear apocalypse right now but I’ve learned through the struggles that I always come out the other side on top”
Being impatient and stressing will only bring on more problems for you. It’s not that bad. Things always turn around. This moment of struggle and how you handle it will define who you become.
All of us have unlimited potential and we’re all struggling every day.
Once you learn to accept the struggle, embrace it and see it as a seed to something better, you’ll be well on your way to becoming someone you’re proud of.
Wish me luck with the struggles coming in the next few weeks. We’re in this together don’t forget.
Peace, love, respect.
If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net
A Step by Step Process That Will Help You Make the Impossible, Possible
We have all been there, looking at something and wishing we had it. The girl, the car, the money, the family, the lifestyle…but then we tell ourselves “Yeah, but that’s not me”. The people who get that are cut from a different cloth and we keep telling ourselves that until it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We waste the wings we got believing the entire time that we can’t fly and that it’s impossible for us. We don’t even see our wings most of the time. (more…)
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.
What Is Dark Motivation and How Can I Use It to My Advantage?
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