The 3 Most Unexpected Sources for Motivation
Anyone who has experienced even a modicum of success has heard these three questions so many times it made their ears bleed.
- "What motivates you to be successful?"
- "How do you stay consistent and keep yourself accountable?"
- "How do you get through difficult times?"
These are all great questions, and you probably heard them at the beginning or at end of every motivational podcast.
I would be lying if I didn't get on YouTube myself and search those answers from some of my favorite entrepreneurs, athletes, speakers, and artists.
But the answers I would hear from them were always pretty vanilla.
I know cliches are cliches for a reason. They are usually right. And the answers to these questions are all relative. We all know what works for us, and we should stick to the formula that leads to our desired outcomes.
But over time, I have realized that the hardest questions usually have the simplest answers.
Case in point, Nike says "Just do it" and it doesn't get more black and white than that. That three-word phrase may be the most useful advice anyone can ever hear to push their life forward. But a short phrase with no context doesn't always pierce the soul enough to spark change. Sometimes we need a little more meat on the bone.
Simon Sinek wrote the classic book, "Start with Why." Emphasizing that the main thing that leads great companies and great people to endure hardship and reach massive success is their "Why."
AKA an intrinsic factor that is so deeply rooted in our DNA that it pulls us toward the best version of ourselves like a magnet. It's not the cash, the cars, the trophies, or the adoration from fans. The extrinsic factors and surface level things will eventually fade. But your "WHY", your purpose, your internal drivers can carry you through any storm.
Three of the most popular Why's are:
- My kids (The most popular answer of athletes, artists, leaders, and new parents)
- Solving X problem to serve others (The staple answer of entrepreneurs)
- Helping people who are disenfranchised or suffering from injustice or abuse.
These are amazingly powerful "Why's." And it may be all you need. As a father, business owner, and leader I have used each of these magnets to help me find that extra gear.
But what if your "Why" came from a very different source. Somewhere that was the polar opposite of what people use for inspiration.
What if I told you that if you could use these different sources of motivation, you might even be better off. Because these "Why's" will never go away.
They are inevitable in the journey of life. Every human being on earth will experience it regardless of their background, age, stature, or lineage.
But to maximize your life, you need to reframe the way you look at these three motivators. If done correctly, you will suddenly have the power to reinvent yourself at any given moment. Possess the uncanny ability to transform into whoever you need to be when the situation calls for it. The ultimate superpower.
In fact, if you can use these 3 "Whys" the right way, you will never stop getting better. Year after year after year. Producing a sustained level of excellence, a one-way trip to greatness. Burning bridge of mediocrity with the debris of your lesser self in your wake.
Now, this will be controversial. I might sound a little bit off my rocker simply because society and our brain has conditioned us to avoid all three of these things.
So, what are these 3 sources of inspiration?
I will give you a hint. Most people associate these things with snakes, trolls, and rolling an ankle.
Let me be more clear.
If you don't have any motivation to spark change in your life, you don't know how to use "F.H.P."
F - Fear
H - Hate
P - Pain
"Fear, hate, and pain can be the greatest vehicles for growth. These can be massive sources of inspiration. Taking you to places you could never imagine.
You just need to use them in the right context. Let me explain.
"Fear can either propel you or paralyze you. It all depends on the direction you allow the wall of fear to push you. Is it pushing you from the back to drive you forward, or is it manhandling you from the front and driving you backward?"
Keep in mind, there is no such thing as fearless. Anyone who says they are fearless is lying. They might appear fearless, but we are all afraid of something.
Who wouldn't have the fear of someone with bad intentions hurting their child when they are helpless. You can believe what you want, but the world can be an evil place with evil people.
It's those split-second decisions where we choose courage over fear that separate the warriors from the timid.
"It's not that the warrior isn't fearful. It's the fact that he fights his demons despite the feeling of fear. And he or she does it until the fear is gone. That is what makes them a warrior."
We all need some level of fear. It keeps us honest. It gives us gratitude. It elevates our performance. Making us rise to the occasion.
Have you ever made such a foolish mistake that almost cost you your relationship, your business, your job, a life-changing opportunity, etc?
It was the fear of possibly losing it forever that gave you the gratitude and humility to never take it for granted again. But believe me, when I say, we all deserve a second chance, but we don't always get one.
The great Gregg Popovich (Multiple NBA world champion) would tell his players, "Play with appropriate fear."
The legendary and undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather said "I will take no opponent for granted. No matter their record. Anything can happen in boxing."
This is what it means to work with appropriate fear. This healthy paranoia is what helped them stay at the top of their sport. And it can do the same for your life.
They used fear as fuel to push them forward. They used it to make them G.O.A.T.S in their profession.
On the other side of the coin, we can use fear as a compass.
We can use fear like a North Star. Knowing that the path of fear will lead to our greatest treasure, the highest version of self.
There is no courage without fear just like there is no hero without a villain.
No Batman without the Joker. No Avengers without Thanos.
We have all experienced fear in some way. And even if you suppress it, it will eventually surface again. You must kill the head of the snake.
"The only way out of the darkness is "THROUGH."
You need to reframe your relationship with fear. You need to attack it or make it an ally.
So, don't fear change, fear staying the same. Because what you fear most is what you should do most."
Use fear to propel you forward as if it's an O-lineman carrying their star running back over the goal line.
Every time you feel the skin of your back touch the wall of monotony it should light a fire under your ass that forces you to break every barrier in front of you.
Look at fear as an usher who is guiding you on what to do next. Escorting you to your seat. Making you watch the movie of your life that needs a replay so you can alter the ending.
Make fear work for you, not against you. Use it as inspiration, not intimidation.
"Thou which you do not hate, you tolerate."
People never want to use the word hate, but the brutal truth of this statement is something that few people understand. What you don't hate, you tolerate in your life.
This can be anything from
- Toxic people that make you feel worthless.
- Toxic activities that hinder you from succeeding in life.
- Toxic thoughts that poison your mind.
- Toxic foods that pollute your body.
By consciously allowing these things to enter your inner circle of daily living, you mindfully choose self-sabotage.
The truth is, by accepting toxicity in your life, you give the appearance that you are ok with living this way. You tolerate it, therefore you must love it. So, you better embrace it or eliminate it. Draw the line and make the choice. Make the brave choice. Take a stand against anything that is toxic to your life. Be defiant.
Because nothing toxic happens in your life without your permission.
To perform at the highest level you must loathe anything that doesn't take you to a higher realm. You must despise anything related to mediocrity and weakness. So much so that you will set nonnegotiables and rigid standards to prevent it from happening.
Have you ever heard a great winner say, "I hate losing more than I love winning."
The agony of defeat is so excruciating to champions that they train with an unbridled obsession to never feel a loss again.
I was with a friend who was once a professional athlete who gained over 30 pounds from his playing weight. He loved feeling strong. Feeling powerful. Feeling fit. But he got mentally derailed and fell off track after his career in sports.
He said this to me in conversation, "I tried to run 3 miles the other day, and I was gassed. It was embarrassing. I hated that feeling. There was a time when I could run 8 miles like it was nothing. Never again. I refuse to feel this way."
This is what it means to use "hate" for "good". If you hate a feeling enough, you will do anything you can to prevent it from happening again.
If you hate your 9 to 5 enough, you will find a way to create the job you want. Be it entrepreneurship or otherwise.
If you hate your body enough, you will find a way to create a physique that feels strong, powerful, and fluid. A physique you are proud of.
If you hate a relationship enough, you will create the courage and guts to leave that situation behind forever.
Now, I am not condoning self-hate. I am not pushing the agenda to hurt anyone in the process of your self-growth.
But I am saying this, "The best way to get revenge is "success". And that success often comes from a place of darkness, hate, or even a controlled rage."
So, if you don't have any motivation it might be because you don't hate your situation enough to change it. You haven't hit rock bottom. You haven't had enough. Because if you touch rock bottom or when you have "had enough," I guarantee you will find a way to scrape yourself off the canvas and do what is necessary to win.
"Make pain your best friend and you will never be alone."
The spartans used to say "sweat more in training. bleed less in war."
Truer words have never been spoken. If you want to stay prepared for life's bone crushing blows, you must embrace pain.
You must strategically live in a place of discomfort. Taking yourself to an island of solitude and suffering. Visiting that place voluntarily and frequently. Using it as a meaningful escape and ritual to keep your blade of greatness sharper than ever.
As the old adage goes, "If you want to grow, you need to live outside your comfort zone."
You need to embrace suffering. Suffering breeds strength. Suffering breeds skill. Suffering breeds clarity.
Most people dwarf their abilities by only playing against enemies they know they can beat. They lose their edge by immersing themselves in a pool of complacency and comfort.
But much like the spartans, the great ones not only put their big toe into the ocean of pain, they dive in head first. Knowing that when they pull themselves out of the depths of deep waters, they become a little bit stronger.
People who want to grow, train under harsher conditions than the actual battle.
Have you ever heard of fighters who would spar 20 rounds against multiple opponents with different styles leading up to a fight. A fight that only consists of 12 rounds against one opponent with one style.
But the greats prepare themselves for anything and everything. When this is done, the actual fight is almost easier than the preparation for it. All because they embraced the pain and suffering that could eventually stare them down in the white of their eyes.
They were ready for it. They were built for it. By making pain their best friend, no enemy could defeat them. They have already seen it all.
I am not saying to be a masochist. I am suggesting you embrace pain just enough to keep your sword so sharp that it can slice through anything that life tries to serve you.
Do not allow your mental muscles to atrophy by drinking too much from the cup of comfort.
Train under harsher conditions than the battle. Push yourself past your current limits. Do things that make you feel uncertain and even doubtful. Then fight your way out. Embrace a level of suffering and solitude that produces the greatest version of you.
Because when life tries to blindside you and take you down to your knees. It will fail to put you on your back. It will stand in awe by the way you withstood it's blows. All because you made pain an ally. You know what it feels like to be at spar with yourself, your internal demons, and your biggest fears. And you stood victorious with sword and shield in hand. And knowing that, nothing on the surface can stop you. Nothing at all.