Embrace this moment, remember. We are eternal, all this pain is an illusion. – Parabola (song) by Tool
It’s easy to get demotivated when you feel like lots of stuff is going poorly. When everything hurts and you can’t see past the pain, but most of the painful thoughts we have are not ‘real,’ per-se. Fearing things that haven’t happened, worrying what someone might be thinking about us, etc. Yes, the pain hurts, but why do we choose to hurt before bad things actually happen? If you really want to feel motivated, free yourself from all those pain illusions and focus on the time you have and what you can do. Vising a graveyard helps.
The path into the light seems dark. The path forward seems to go back.
The direct path seems long. True purity seems tarnished.
If you want to become whole, let yourself be partial.
If you want to become straight, let yourself be crooked.
If you want to become full, let yourself be empty.
-Tao Te Ching
Progress is not linear. For most objectives Plan C is really the one you need, but the only way to know that is to try A and B first and learn from each attempt. This quote really helps me to stay motivated because the nature of progress is embracing setbacks so you can find what does and doesn’t work. Once you realize the optimal answer to any problem includes a few mistakes, it’s easier to keep trying. This is the foundation of the growth mindset, because good actions create good feelings.
You know what the right choice is. How much time are you going to waste?
Most of the time we know what we need to do. We don’t need a crystal ball, we don’t need another pro/con list, we just need some tough love. The fact of the matter is we’re wasting precious hours or days or weeks while we put off doing what we know we need to do. It might help to consider you don’t need to wait for big epic moments or ultimatums to make good decisions in your life. The truth is quite the opposite – dreams are made of days like today.
Do my current challenges make it impossible to make good decisions? – Ryan Holiday
Maybe there’s a lot of things going wrong. Maybe recent events have side tracked your goals and you feel helpless or feel like a victim. This quote is a great reset from that attitude because it challenges you to focus on what you can control. Forget what other people did, what went wrong or what expectations you had. Is it impossible for you to make good decisions today? No? Okay, then do that. Taking breaks now and then is a good thing, and focusing on what you can control is always a good idea.
Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself – James Allen
Adversity is really good at showing you what you’re made of. If you take that attitude then each challenge can be an opportunity to make sure you like what you see. Sometimes I ask myself when ordering food “What would a healthy person order right now?” Or when in an argument with a coworker I’ll ask “How would a compassionate friend handle this?” How we do anything is how we do everything, so let’s choose answers we can be proud of. For even more motivation, think about everything you have already overcome. You’re stronger than you realize.