Waking up at 6 am today to go and have a blood test is my worst nightmare.
I’m so damn fearful of needles and it makes me feel sick.
When my doctor said it was time to have a blood test and 10X my energy, I was pumped and crippled with fear at the same time.
This sucks big time.
Every time I have a blood test, there’s this big build-up of fear, tension, sickness and everything else that sucks.
I rolled up at the pathology center to try and have my blood test before everyone else. I always walk in like I’m MacGyver until my name is called. Then as I walk to the room where the nurse is, all the confidence, body language and self-talk turns to crap.
The nurse looks at me strangely. I haven’t had this one before. She’s thinking “Geez this guy looks like he’s about to crap his pants, or vomit, or maybe both.”
Why am I so fearful with these routine tests? Probably because I had a few strange experiences when I was a kid and the adult in me still hasn’t forgotten that innocent kid with blue eyes, white blonde hair and the change the world attitude he’s always had.
Back to my story. So, the nurse begins taking my blood and it takes time as she needs to fill up two tubes. It felt like an eternity although the pain was pretty minor – yay!
We get to the end of the test and I’m celebrating like a drunk who’s just woken up and realized he’d won $10k at the casino the night before.
Then the nurse is like “Houston we have a problem.”
My face turns white. “What’s the problem?”
The nurse says “We can only do these tests between Monday to Thursday. Any other day is prohibited. That’s what head office says.”
I’m thinking to myself lots of nasty thoughts like “Well you tell head office to go F themselves!”
I speak with my doctor and he confirms that this is correct. Basically, I have to go through this fearful experiment all over again in a few days’ time.
Rinse and repeat.
I go back to the pathology center a few days later and have the test again. It’s a pain in the backside but it must be done. Here’s what’s awesome: I’ve never done multiple blood tests in a short space of time. Doing the test again made this horrible feeling so much easier.
I walked in, did my thing, and walked out. I remembered how to breathe. I remembered how to relax. And I knew what had to be done.
“Facing the same fear multiple times within a few days began to crush all my negative energy”
Fears won’t suck as much after a bit of practice.
This fear of blood tests has now changed. It’s still a bit challenging but nowhere near as bad.
My mind has gotten used to what has to happen because practice has made the situation almost perfect.
We all have fears and overcoming them is about embracing the suck, giving it a go and then repeating the process.
Each time you face a fear like blood tests, it gets a little bit easier each time. Sometimes the gains are enormous and other times the gains are small. None the less, facing your fears creates some momentum towards conquering your fear.
Challenging your fears is how you get up close and personal with them. All it takes is a bit of courage and one question: What’s the worst that can happen?
For me, my arm could have fallen off, she could have caused me great pain or I could have passed out. None of these things will see me end up in the cemetery.
The feeling of overcoming fear.
Having significantly lessened my fear of blood tests has given me confidence. If I could conquer this massive mountain of internal pain, what else could I do that makes me fearful?
A better question would be, what fear is holding you back that you could practice getting better at?
We all have fears and we can all look them in the face, respect them for what they are, and then have a go at overcoming them.
The feeling of overcoming fear is so good. It gives you strength and resilience to fight the tougher fights. Doing the things that are uncomfortable is how you build a level of comfort that can put you at the top of your field.
We all have fears and those of us who practice overcoming our fears are the ones who get to taste a feeling of success like no other.
Your fears suck but you can overcome them with practice just like I did.
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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?
It’s Thursday, 8 PM. I’m relaxing at home, doing normal things, and scrolling social media. Tomorrow is a big day. There are lots of things to do with moving pieces of furniture because I’m moving to another city. On top of that, a repairman is coming to my house at 8AM, so I’ll have to get up early. (more…)
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