We start dying the moment we are born. From our first breath of air, the countdown timer has already begun. In a blink of an eye, we lose out on our childhood; then our youth; and before we know it, we are in our 60’s wondering where the hell time went.
You want to learn how to get motivated in life or in general? Here it goes.
You. Are. Going. To. Die.
But is that necessarily a bad thing?
“The way I look at it, it’s the knowledge that I know I’m going to die that creates the focus I bring to being alive… That creates the urgency of accomplishment and creates the need to express love… Now not later” – Neil De Grasse Tyson
It is the fact that we have a limited time to live, that gives our life purpose. If we were to live forever, you would never be motivated to accomplish your goals, live your life, and share your love with the people you care about because you would always have tomorrow.
My Experience With Time
Where did my motivation come from? Let’s start with the beginning of Junior year. Everything started off just fine. I moved into a new apartment, my best friends where my roommates, and I had the most amazing girlfriend a guy could ask for.
But something was very different that year. I think it started the first time I visited my parents after a while of not seeing them. When I walked into my house for the first time in a long time, I knew something was odd.
I couldn’t put my finger on it but something had definitely changed.
Without putting any more thought into it, I ended up just going back to school and repeating my daily rituals.
After spending sometime in school I would probably visit my parents again every 3 months or so. And that is when it hit me. Something crazy happened right before my eyes. I literally saw both of them getting older right before me and it scared the shit out of me.
Every single time I would come home, I noticed that their hair was a little bit greyer, their laughs were a little bit shallower, and the pain that they hid behind their smiles were getting a little more obvious.
This is when I started to have a little mental crisis. As described in my book, I started going through negative self-talk and blaming myself for the reason why my parents were working so hard to help me get through school. With all the extra stress they were burdened with trying to make ends meet, It was my fault they were aging faster than normal.
Seeing them grow older was kind of like seeing the pictures in a flipbook animation movie – a movie where I didn’t want to see the ending.
This feeling of blame and the negative mindset I had at the time took away what little motivation I had.
That’s when the quotes of Jim Rohn flashed in my head:
“Don’t with it was easier, wish you were better”
And I took back control of my time. Instead of waiting to get paid to help my parents out, I started focusing on ways on how to increase my income online.
I tested a bunch of stuff. And a bunch of them failed.
“It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve failed. You only have to be right once.” – Mark Cuban
After wasting a ton of money on various business ideas, I found one that hit. And from their I diversified everything into other avenues
And I haven’t look back since.
But what had changed? The answer is simple: My motivation.
When we are young we’d like to think we are invincible. From drunk driving to messing around with drugs, we think that we can do anything we want and nothing can go wrong.
But it is also this mindset that also hurts us and prevents us from seeing life as what it really is: A short ass period of time where you need to accomplish as much as you can as fast as you can – spending the rest of the time you have left doing what you love with the people you care about.
Thanks to my traumatic epiphany, I was able to get the emotional leverage I needed to finally take action.
How to Create Emotional Leverage for Yourself
What is emotional leverage? I first learned this concept from Tony Robbins. Emotional Leverage is the idea that human action is driven by two simple desires:
- Avoiding Pain
- Gaining Pleasure
The reason why most people fail to get motivated in life is because they never defined these two desires.
For example, when an amateur entrepreneur first gets into business, he/she is usually motivated by the desire to gain a crap load of wealth – causing you to take action (Gaining Pleasure).
The reason why they tend to fail is because they are also afraid of rejection, failure, or being judged by their loved ones – causing you to take inaction (Avoiding Pain).
But here is the thing..
How the hell can you be motivated to take action if you are getting pulled in opposite directions?
If your don’t define these two desires while you are building your business, gaining wealth and avoiding failure tends to be the default preset.
But think about it. It is almost impossible to become successful if you are afraid of failure. These two opposing desires in your body puts your emotions in, what Tony Robbins calls, “a Civil War.”
How to fix this is by changing your definition for what pain you’re avoiding. Instead of worrying about your fear of failure as your main desire for avoiding pain. Switch that to your fear of regret.
The fear of regret pushes you away from inaction and the gain of wealth is what pulls you towards action.
Now instead of pulling you in opposite directions, your emotions are now aligned towards your goals.
But Mike, how do I force myself to feel the pain of regret and make it outweigh my pain of failure?
Here is a simple exercise.
The other day I read a story on this random blog that I stumbled upon.
In the story, a man one day learns that the average human life is about 75 years. Multiply that by 52 weeks of the year, and you are left with 3900 Saturdays in a lifetime. By the time he did the math, he realized that he had already lived 2800 Saturdays.
Immediately, he went to the toy store and bought 1000 marbles and placed them all in a plastic jar. Now every single Saturday he pulls a marble out and throws it away.
If you don’t feel the pain of regret now, I recommend you do the same.
- How would you live your life differently if you practice this on a weekly basis?
- Do you easily procrastinate? Now you probably won’t.
- Do you tend to make excuses? Not any more
- Have a lack of motivation? Now unlikely.
Seeing the marbles slowly decrease in numbers is a sure fire way to prioritize what it is that is actually important in your life.
Get Motivated: Final Thoughts
Now I know this is very different than the other posts I publish on this blog. But this was what has been on my mind lately and I just thought I would share it.
As I read the responses to the survey I sent out, the biggest challenge people faced was “how do I get motivated?” Well this is exactly how I push myself past my limits every single day.
And to that, I leave you with one last question.
If you were 99 years old and on your deathbed and you had a chance to come back to today, what would you do differently right now?
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