Motivation is Bullshit

The world offers you comfort. But you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.
— Pope Benedict XVI

We’ve fallen into a trap.  A trap that tells us we need to be motivated or passionate to perform any action.  You have to be inspired to improve your fitness levels, instead of simply doing it because it is the best course of action for you to take.  You have to be motivated to eat well, instead of recognizing the long term benefits of cleaning up your diet.  You need to have a passion for health and fitness, even though it is necessary to prolong your life.

We need to search out images or sound-bites that motivate us to improve ourselves.  The reward of self-improvement is not enough anymore, we can’t deal with the fact that it might hurt and it might be hard.  Self-improvement is not instant so we need to be comforted into taking small steps toward action.

Oftentimes a lack of motivation or passion is cited as a reason for not taking action.  “I didn’t go to the gym today because I had no motivation.”  It becomes an easy excuse once it becomes apparent that motivation and inspiration are momentary, fleeting feelings.

Motivation is bullshit.  It is shallow and short sighted.  It is unreliable.  Discipline is permanent.  The ability to make yourself do things you don’t want to do will shape your life more than a minute’s motivation.

Motivation is shallow.  Images on the internet are not worth the screens they are embedded on.  It will not hold up when you are presented with an obstacle.  A moment of motivation is only that- a moment in which you are poised to take action.  A constitution of discipline is much more than that.  It is a foundation of perseverance that, although not always easy, is always present.

Discipline is not easy or fun to develop.  It involves making yourself do things that you don’t want to do.  It forces you to see life as a big picture, and allows you to see that small sacrifices or acts of labor are a long term benefit.  It allows you to forego instant gratification for a much bigger payout down the road.

The gym is a perfect place to instill a sense of discipline in yourself.   You will not always want to go to the gym- very few people do.  You will have a hard day at work, or an argument with your spouse and will dread the thought of physical activity.  Tough shit.  These thoughts will weigh on you as they would on anyone, but the discipline to follow through on a plan despite the many obstacles or shit storms around you is worth the hour of struggle.   A little discomfort is worth the mental change.

Force yourself to follow through.  The workout after an argument or bad day will not be a great one.  In these circumstances that does not matter, the only thing that matters is that you DID it.  You had the mental fortitude to force yourself to do something you did not want to do.  Any action is better than inaction.  This is the first semblance of personal discipline. 

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You have one job in this life and that is to act.  A lack of motivation for action is inexcusable.  You were given a short time on this earth to optimize both your body and your mind.  That should be motivation enough to get done what needs to get done.

If you truly want your life or your body to improve you need to throw out the idea of motivation.  It is pointless and exhausting.  Do you want to have to pump yourself up for every session at the gym? Logging on to Instagram to look at soft core porn-style pictures of fit girls with quotes underneath them from philosophers they’ve never read? Wouldn’t you rather it just be something you do, despite whatever life throws at you. 

Sometimes life will punch you in the face.  All your plans and all your passion will go to shit.  In situations like that motivation will become worthless.  The only thing that will pull you through hard times is discipline.  Once developed discipline is unwavering.  It is like a tattoo.  Painful to instill, but permanent.  It might require some fine tuning every so often, but the base will never fade.

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