“If we live calm, monotonous days and peaceful nights, we stultify. We had better torture our own spirit than suffer the inanities of calm” George Gurdjieff
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“I’ve been trying for over three years. Nothing works!” I said . While talking to a friend about my exercise routine or lack of a consistent one. I had become so practiced at telling the story that I believed it. I had realized that I had a ton of great stories why I couldn’t pick up a good exercise routine. They had become my masterpieces.
Have you ever been in this situation? Struggling, searching, grasping at straws to find a way out of a bad habit pattern. This article is for you. We get stuck on our story, and we invest so much energy and thought into it. We fill our minds up with the weight of why we fail and how hard it is for us. Wouldn’t it be great to wipe the slate clean? How would it feel to remove that weight? Can we learn to love the things that once caused us so much struggle in the past?
Stuck On Our Story
Self Judgement Is Holding You Back
When we seem to fail at a goal or particular effort, we have a tendency to be hard on ourselves. This perspective of being hard on ourselves can begin to become habitual. Like grains of sugar in a glass of water, these thoughts begin to crystallize into belief. They continue to collect until our mind is rigid, like a crystalline structure of doubt. This starts to weight on us every time we try to move forward in a particular area.
Your Mantra of Defeat
When we are struggling to persist, it is likely because of how well we have crafted our story. Do you have a fantastic list of why you can’t do something? Are you convinced it’s true? Think about something you want to do but haven’t been able to complete. What comes up in your mind? For me, it’s a feeling of “can’t.” When I extrapolate this further, it’s supported by past cases and judgments of myself. I can provide this to anyone who would like to try to encourage me and argue the matter. It is in effect my mantra of self-defeat. What’s yours?
Why We Get Stuck Searching for the Answer
To make matters worse, we oscillate on potential solutions. Sometimes, we try them, sometimes we don’t. It feels like we are searching for that one thing that will give us the answer we seek. This too becomes habitual, like a carrot on a stick. Of course, we will never reach that carrot because we are chasing an idea as opposed to practical action.
A Fresh Start
There Is No Such Thing As Motivation
What we truly need is a fresh start. Sometimes we can get into the mindset of waiting for motivation. Think New Years. What makes that holiday so special anyway? We do. It also allows us to continue putting things off into a distant future. It’s much easier to avoid our self-scrutiny when we create a little lie to tell ourselves. We are going to work on getting in better health. We are planning to start saving money. We will eventually pick up that class. Someday, we will learn to be a better person. Maybe we should buy a boat, just not now – now’s not a good time – in a few months is much better.
The truth of the matter is. Motivation is fleeting. It’s not reliable. What if every professional athlete, entrepreneur, rock star, or CEO waited until they felt like doing something? We wouldn’t have many professionals, would we?
What we need to do is stop waiting to feel like we want to do something. Our mind is designed to protect us from discomfort. Which means we are programmed to avoid anything that might make us uncomfortable. Mel Robbins touches on this concept in her 5 Second Rule.
There Is No Perfect Solution
We have to learn to accept that there is no perfect solution to discomfort. There isn’t a method that you can pick-up and learn to start doing the things that will cause the change you want in life. The longer we spend searching, the farther we get from achieving what we want. The truth of the matter is, we have to do the work. We have to get uncomfortable. We must stop relying on the dream that we can somehow make change without getting our hands dirty.
The Do Anything Habit
I know I said there wasn’t a perfect solution out there for us, but that was a little lie. There is one solution that you can start doing today. You can pick it up and memorize it. It’s fundamental for your growth. If you use this method, I know you will be a total success – immediately. This ancient method once known to mankind, has been shrouded in mysteries and secrecy for thousands of years. I’m worried if I tell you about it that I might even be silenced.
Here is the secret method to success. DO ANYTHING. Just get up. Stop telling your story and go do it. If you are struggling with motivation, I have another secret to share with you. GO DO IT NOW.
In Love with The Process
Back to the Present
Many of us are results oriented. We are surrounded by a world of instant gratification. The default habits that prevent us from achieving our goals are based in instant gratification. Feeling depressed? Eat ice cream. Feel stressed? Smoke a cigarette.
In my recent attempts at breaking the knowledge habit, I’ve struggled immensely with this. More books, more information, more, more, more. My attention span diverts from one thing to the next because I want to know it all now.
When we live in this state of wanting something that can’t be had now, we live in a state of ignorance of what we have. How can we enjoy what we have? What are we doing if we are judging everything by what we don’t have? What aren’t we doing?
Love Yourself and Your Past Self
To compound the situation further, we have that story. That story is more telling than it might sound at face value. Here’s an example of mine. “I’ve been trying to work out consistently for three years, but I just can’t do it!”. How does this story make me feel? Frustrated. Depressed. Hopeless. Remember your story? I’m sure you do. If you are like me, you’ve memorized it too.
The thing about stories is they are open to interpretation. Perspective is reality. How do we change our stories? How do we change our mind? What if we took our story and we flipped it around? What if we threw in a dash of compassion, how does the story sound?
“I’ve been trying to work out regularly for three years. I’ve learned a ton of different ways to get in shape without using weights or going to the gym. I’ve become a master in the subject of exercising using only my body weight. I am definitely making progress, and I am proud of the work I’ve put in so far.” That’s a bit different, isn’t it? Not so depressing now. Not so frustrating. If we look back with kindness and compassion for ourselves, we can see a different angle. An angle that helps us, instead of condemns us.
Love the Work
I quoted George Gurdjieff at the beginning of this article because he had a unique outlook on work. He believed it was actually a path to a higher level of human consciousness. He saw discomfort as a vehicle for significant personal growth. His students were tasked with manual labor. They were paving roads, redirecting streams, gardening, and even dancing. They were extremely disciplined. They also developed an incredibly optimistic point of view in the process.
Gurdjieff believed in effort so much that his writing was difficult to comprehend. It was intentionally so. He thought that any work done, any effort applied, would provide a positive result. He’s right in some sense. As long as we are moving forward, we are progressing.
Gurdjieff taught his students to love the work they were doing. He taught mindfulness in all their labors. They learned to connect with their bodies. They were told not to mindlessly engage in effort. They learned to love the experience and the discomfort disappeared. They knew that they were growing by pushing themselves. They knew that discomfort was their friend and not their enemy.
They were taught not to resent work, but to love it.
Please share this with someone who is resentful of their efforts, share with them the wisdom of self-love and kindness.