There’s a secret to tapping into unlimited stores of motivation that can empower us to persevere even in the hardest of times. Be it in business, fitness, or staying committed to a new hobby, the secret to developing lasting motivation is not one habit or productivity hack but instead, where we focus our energy.
This is a scenario I encounter every week, or at least as often as I hike. Or should I call it haul myself up the side of a mountain: this seems more fitting for what actually occurs when I ‘hike.’
I’ve shared exclusive insights and experiences of my most recent hikes to my insiders (which you can be a part of) because like many explorers before me have said The Journey Out Is Often A Journey In.
Most hikes and adventures take me to remote areas of the wilderness here in Colorado. 50% of the time I’m solo: just the way I like it. It gives me space and silence to think on my own, reflect, and go nice and deep into the internal struggles that arise as I push my physical limits.
Recently, I dragged myself on a hike the day after an intense leg workout and after a fitful night of sleep. Needless to say I was tired, sore, and a bit grumpy. But here I am, slogging myself up the side of a mountain and mentally encountering every perceived problem or negative situation my mind can retrieve from the past few years of its memory bank.
Relationships: the good, bad and the ugly. Business: the upsides…. and the downsides. Family, friends, retirement accounts, investments, parent loss… The list goes on and on. Anything and everything that’s received emotional attention over the years has a tendency to surface during physical exertion.
Parts of me wanted to stop but a bigger part of me knows and feels that if I keep pushing through the uphill climb and mental chatter, I’ll eventually burst through the cloud cover and be able to see, and think clearly.
The things that present them selves as problems become less obtrusive and intimidating.
The physical act of struggling up the mountain side is parallel to the metaphorical act of overcoming and solving the real and imagined problems we encounter in life.
There’s value in this experience.
Let me be fully honest with you on this though: I oftentimes do not enjoy this process. 50% of the time I try to talk myself out of going: RE: legs are sore from working out, lack of sleep – all reasons to abandon the plan. I don’t want to put myself in the vulnerable position of letting my problems surface.
There is value in not feeling excited and happy with things we do in our lives. There’s value in learning how to not beat ourselves up for not feeling happy and excited all the time.
It’s okay to feel bad sometimes! We’re all going to fee bad sometimes. A huge component of living a healthy life is being good at accepting this. Feeling bad because we feel bad creates a negative feedback loop and will literally take our energy to the lowest vibration possible.
Negative emotions and thoughts aren’t bad. There’s no need to beat ourselves up over having them.
So. I brave the solitude of the mountain and the business of my thoughts and proceed with things as planned. Always, every time because I know it’s worth it.
I’m slogging up a mountain and hating the process.
All the negative thoughts in the world are popping up in my head but I don’t judge it or feel bad over whats happening.
I’m used this this struggle: the physically and metaphorical struggle that arises every time I silence the fast world and retreat to the mountain side. It’s a struggle I’m familiar with and have learned to love and welcome.
It’s a good problem to have: putting ourselves in a situation where the business of the outside world falls away and all we’re left with is ourselves. No cell phones or social media, no music or mindless conversation.
If our goal in life is to eliminate all problems, we’re actually doing ourselves a disservice.
Problems are the building blocks of happiness – as eloquently stated by Mark Manson. We need a bit of struggle in our lives. Yes, sitting on a beach sipping cocktails is great. But it’s in struggle that we are invigorated and inspired and where we derive meaning from in our lives. I talk about this often on the blog because the reality is that working for physique change, changing our diets and lifestyle, and pushing ourselves in business can be a challenge and struggle.
Ultimately, our happiness is derived from the solving of our problems, not in avoiding them. It can be an uncomfortable process, but what’s more uncomfortable is avoiding and running away (because surprise, we can’t run away from our problems forever).
But not everything is meant to be a struggle or worth struggling for.
The key is finding struggle that invigorates and motivates us. Yes, the process is uncomfortable and hard, but the struggle is worth it, not just for the outcome or product of the struggle, but the process. What are the things we want in our life that we know are going to take work to achieve? What problems are we willing to encounter and work through, including the resistance we put up against the problem, in the name of happiness and success?
We are never able to run away or get away from our problems. We can spend days, months or even years trying, but ultimately the effort is futile. Even the worst of our problems need our attention and dedication to solving them.
Everything can be a problem for people. It comes down to our perspective and choice: do we view the majority of the hardships and challenges in our life as a problem we run away from or do we choose to view it as an opportunity for growth? Not every struggle has to be viewed as a problem: meaning, it’s a negative obstacle in our way to something better.
The more problems we face head on, the stronger and more capable we are for it.
I’m willing to suffer through the hours of mental and physical discomfort I experience slogging up a mountain for the euphoric experiences I have once I 1) reach the summit and 2) work through the problems that present themselves in my mind on the hike up only to discover most of them aren’t big problems after all.
Every week, I send out an email chalk-full of tools for conquering our health and fitness and the things that stand in our way. It’s an exclusive community where people are asked to level-up in order to live a happy, fulfilling and strong life. I send free workouts, nutrition cheatsheets, and other simple strategies to healthy living. Join the conversation and level up with us. Join here.