My Own Motivation
I have been wanting to get a run in since last Tuesday (1/19). But as soon as I healed up and felt ready the temperature dropped twenty degrees and it snowed.
It continued to snow for a day straight. Strong winds pelted my windows with ice and built snowdrifts to block people in their apartments. It was not the most snow we have ever gotten but it was a strong showing.
I know what you are saying, ‘Come on, get out there. Stop making excuses!’
That’s what a part of me said, at least. Then I told that part to go shove it and spent my morning in bed with a book.
“At least I’m not putting off my run for no good reason”, I told myself.
But a smaller voice was saying, “Thank all that is good in this world, I do not have to run in the bitter cold.” In my defense, I worked out inside to get some movement into my time stuck indoors.
Here Enters: Motivational Thoughts
After a few days of melting snow and letting the streets get plowed so as not to hug the shoulder of the road or run in snow drifts to avoid traffic, I finally planned to go on a run. Not any serious plan mind you, just a vague thought of some time during daylight hours, lacing up and putting one foot in front of the other.
But my day changed as I listened to one of my favorite podcasts, “The Survival Podcast”.
For those who do not know it, it is a podcast focused on developing a more resilient and abundant life if the world goes to hell and even if it doesn’t. Don’t let the opening music, a twangy country song, fool you. Jack Spirko, the host, often uses whole shows to talk about deeper and more complex topics than growing and storing food. Topics like: starting your own business, designing a fulfilling lifestyle, and economic analysis are a regular and large part of his message. And after listening to over three hundred shows of his even this born-and-bred New Jerseyian sings along with the intro music.
The episode that put a fire in my belly was “Using Logical Methods & Function Stacking For Decision Making” . Feel free to listen to it, there are a few references previous shows, but the main point comes through.
The part which was exactly what I needed to hear was this:
“You have to balance thinking before you act with not acting at all.”
“(People won’t take action) Not because they aren’t capable, but because they are afraid of the results. They are afraid they will really see themselves in the mirror if they do.”
Do not be afraid. You aren’t the superhuman you wish you could see in the mirror and you aren’t the faulty malformed thing you think others see when you are at your worst. However, you are the accumulation of the consequences of your actions. If you haven’t been active in designing and controlling the outcomes of your life someone else has been and therefore, you are not yourself.
Your actions are the difference between being a caged dog and a free ranging wolf. One is easy and I feel is a slow poison and the other is risky and enervating.
Don’t lose your capacity to play an active role in your life, after a long time of inaction it becomes too hard to change anything meaningful. Then life will just play out around you and you will only be able to bark from your self-imposed cage.
The Discomfort of Action
This blog is my own risky action. Not necessarily because people don’t run, I am sure I can grow this blog into a community, but because past experiences would tell me I am a bad writer.
Yep, I nearly failed high school English class my senior year because I hated writing assignments. They were the bane of my entire education from elementary through college, but here I am typing away. And I’m paying a small amount every month to do it too.
So given my past, starting this blog was difficult. As I set it up I suddenly felt myself nodding off, my mind just shutting off to protect it from such an intense discomfort.
Now after a few months I have increased how often I write and continue to accelerate.
It just so happens Jack Spirko’s podcast was one of the main reasons I started this blog. The other happened to be Tom Wood’s podcast…I listen to a lot of podcasts, some people might say too many, but those people are caged dogs anyway.
When you start to do anything new, risky, or against the grain you will become uncomfortable, you will probably get physiological resistance and unconsciously fight yourself. Here is the best motivation one can have to overcome your past programming…
You are going to die one day.
Read that again. Say to yourself “I am going to die one day.” Is it getting a little too much like Fight Club here?
Might be tomorrow, might be in a hundred years. Whether you have years to contemplate or a split second, in your last moment, how will you feel about the time your heart had to drum out it’s beats?
Here on this blog, I am going to talk about being mindful of your body while running but this is a good place to start. Start by feeling your own heartbeat. Not just right now, make it a habit to notice it. You only have so many thumps in your chest so you should pay attention to them. They should be a constant reminder. It should not be morbid and existential. That beat should remind you reality matters. No more thumping – no more you. And if reality matters then the actions you take matter. Everyone has to start with small actions. So start with one little change, then a list of little changes.
Then try something truly hard.
Stop excusing not changing things important to you based on other people or a situation outside of your influence. Take a closer look and see if you have been avoiding action which might be new, difficult, or unpopular with people around you. You might be surprised to find you can do something after all and ashamed you wasted so much time before now. It is good to feel that regret but take the step beyond regret and do something about it. As you keep doing small things it becomes easier to do larger things.
Right here is where I feel I lose most people. Once I mention fighting through lots of little actions they assume you become some superhero, able to push aside any social pressure, able to dash through mountains of tasks. It is assumed there are just people who can act with ease while others are ill-equipped.
Nope, no herculean feats here, still sucks. It just hurts less to get yourself rolling but the road needs to be traveled if you want to arrive at any destination.
Here is an idea Jack spoke on which I think is a hopeful spark to anyone in the dark. I am going to paraphrase it and make my own.
You are here because everyone in your genetic past up until you was wild. They adapted to their world and pursued what they needed and wanted. All of those ancestors honed their genetic line and got you here. Just by being able to read this, by being here, is all the evidence you need to know the ability pursue a life you want is inherent. It is in your blood and marrow of your bones. Our ancestors did the hard part, all you to do is develop the wild human in you.
Now I am going to go strap on my shoes and feel my heart pound for awhile.
I hope you will do the same.