This isn't my saying. Mel Robbins, famous for her book The Five Second Rule, said it first. She's completely right.
Motivation is garbage because you're never going to feel like doing the things that are necessary to create the life you want. It's literally not how your brain, or my brain, is wired. Your brain wants to protect you from anything that's scary, upsetting or outside your comfort zone.
What's outside your comfort zone?
ALL YOUR DREAMS! ALL OF THEM!
Want to get fit and healthy? Outside your comfort zone.
Want to build a business? Outside your comfort zone.
Want to travel the world? After COVID obviously. Outside your comfort zone.
Anytime you get a new idea or want to switch up what you're doing chances are you hesitate. That momentary hesitation sends a stress signal to your brain. Then your beautiful brain gets to work to protect you. It has a million different ways to protect you. One of them is called the Spotlight Effect. It’s a known phenomenon where your brain magnifies risk—why?—to pull you away from something that it perceives to be a problem.
Every single problem in your life can be traced back to this tendency to hesitate. There are books and songs never written, adventures never had, romances that never happen because of this.
Of course this all comes down to choices. But every time you hesitate you're choosing not to go after your dreams. Over time those choices accumulate. You become more cautious, more afraid to take risks. Life seems to be passing you by. Others seem to be living their best life on Instagram but you're out of the loop.
Motivation psychology has gotten us all mixed up. It’s an issue of semantics: What we are truly seeking isn't motivation, but rather our inherent ability to just do things.
Nike had it right all along. Just. DO. It. Whatever it is.
It's okay to suck!!!
What stops many people in their tracks is the desire to get it right. To be perfect. You have to be okay with sucking. Whenever you try something new you're going to do it poorly before you become competent. The other thing that stops most people is fear of the unknown.
The more comfortable you can be with sucking at something the sooner you can become better, heck maybe even an expert. Everyone starts somewhere.
When I used to audition for film or television I'd get a script. Generally a few pages that had to be memorized and brought to life within mere hours or a couple of days. The first time I read the script out loud it always felt terrible! I sucked! Big time. And I also wasn't motivated to learn all my lines. At least not right away. I felt way outside my comfort zone. How was I going to say these lines and make everything seem natural?
Once I started to work on learning my lines, moving and breathing as the character it started to feel better. The more I worked on it, the more things flowed. Eventually I could do the role with conviction. This is something I remember for every difficult thing I do. Now when I come across a fresh challenge I remind myself that things will be difficult before they get easy.
Don't Wait for Inspiration or Motivation
The secret that many successful people know is that motivation and inspiration aren't to be counted on. It's important to show up and do the work. Whatever that work might be.
Whether it's getting in the best shape of your life, learning a new language or putting yourself out there for a new job. Anything that challenges you to live outside your comfort zone.
What have you been putting off? Hoping to get motivated to do? Just. DO. It.
Photo by: Steve Harvey