You’re Only As Good As Your Drive.

It’s one of those hard truths in life: People with no motivation, content with the “It’s good enough for now,” never seem to get anywhere. Most of us know a few of these people, or we are one of those people, and some are more than happy to blame others for their perceived failures or shortcomings.

Thinking back to when you wanted something–REALLY wanted something–what were you willing to sacrifice to get it? Time, effort, money, sleep? All of these things? And if you reached your goal: switching careers, getting your Master’s, obtaining a difficult certification or professional license, etc., didn’t all that effort seem worthwhile? You’d kept your eye on the prize until, literally or metaphorically speaking, you had the prize in hand. Did your success fuel future endeavors, or were you content to call that success “Enough?” (I’m guessing not.)

Effort is usually rewarded with some form of success and if we use it to our advantage, it can and will fuel our momentum.

But what not to do? Obviously, the best way to “fail” is to never start at all. Don’t register for that class. Don’t commit to studying a foreign language for an hour a day. Put off that bucket list trip until next year. Don’t apply for that job, because, “They’d never call me back anyway.”

To illustrate my point, let me tell you a bit about C. and R. Both are real people, individuals I’ve known for years due only to geography, not by professional practice.

C. is only 45 years old and has lived a miserable, hobbled life for the past 15 years. Her troubles began when her first daughter was quite young and though she and her husband visited numerous doctors trying to pinpoint the cause of her physical ailments (chronic fatigue, IBS, arthritis, etc.), no one could offer a solution. However, she was content to follow doctor’s orders, living with constant pain, gaining considerable weight as her mobility decreased due to arthritis. She exhibited no interest in performing her own research or altering her lifestyle habits in any way. Suggestions from concerned friends, regarding dietary changes or lifestyle interventions, were shrugged off because she’d come to accept her physical ailments as “inevitable.”

Recently C. spent a month at Mayo Clinic, undergoing every test known to western medicine. It was determined she was even sicker than she’d thought. She was sent home with a terrifying list of prescriptions and pumped full of steroids to temporarily control the newly-diagnosed sarcoidosis. (Toss another one on the pile, right?)

C. remains unwilling to make changes to her diet or lifestyle, and in short order her multiple issues will render her completely incapable of making any of those changes should she suddenly experience a change of heart.

By contrast, R. was a lifelong smoker, a lover of junk food and easily 80 pounds overweight. An intense workout for him involved mowing the lawn on his riding tractor.

When the ambulance’s flashing blue-and-red lights woke the neighborhood at 2 a.m., everyone knew who was in trouble.

R. was in the hospital for several weeks and upon his return, endured several more close calls that resulted in additional trips to the hospital. However, he quit smoking immediately and began daily taking his dog for a walk. He wasn’t content with the amount of living he’d done to that point–he wanted more! (I cannot speak to whether he’d altered his diet, but the fact he gave up smoking and has managed to stick to it has blown me away.)

You are your own predictor of success or failure. No one can want something for you worse than you want it for yourself–so go get it!

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