“Just do it”
That phrase is more than just a Nike slogan or death row inmate’s last words. It’s an ideology you should take to heart. The act of being entirely exhausted physically and mentally, yet still accomplishing what you said you would, is an incredible thing. One could even say, artistic in the beauty of the stuggle.
Think about it. How many time have you told yourself, “No matter what, I’m going to the gym after work today,” only to come up with some excuse to skip it? “I’m tired. I’m still sore from last time. That broccoli from lunch gave me bad gas and I don’t want to get the walking farts on the treadmill.” But really stop and ask yourself, are these excuses legit? Or are you just lazy?
One of the major problems for most of us in the modern world is lack of motivation. It used to be you had to bust your ass to survive. Now, everything is so damn convenient. You don’t have to hunt for your own food. You turn a lever and clean drinking water magically comes out (at least it should). You flip a switch and you have light. You can connect with anyone in the world with the swipe of a finger. We don’t have to go out and do things unless we want to. Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to sit on the couch watching the Kardashian family braying like donkeys than it is to do things that make you uncomfortable. And that’s exactly what you need in life—to feel uncomfortable.
There is no beauty without struggle. If everything were always easy you would take your whole life for granted. This is why we get such satisfaction—such real pleasure—when we achieve something difficult. When is the last time you did something that would be beneficial but you really didn’t feel like doing it? Like improving your diet, exercising consistently, getting a new job, ending a bad relationship, or even writing. Whatever it is, you know your life would improve if you accomplished it. You know how amazing and proud you’d feel for doing something so hard. Yet, we fight our desire to do these things because they make us uncomfortable—they are hard. So we tend to give up before we even start. But why?
It’s simple. At some point in life we develop a “no” attitude. We say no to things that are hard early in life and it carries over into adulthood. We become complacent with how things are. And even though we might desperately want to change our station in life, we fear the work needed to make that change happen. Even more troubling, many of us fear the success we might actually attain if we were to make those changes. After all, if we fail, we just end up back where we started. Which is known territory. But if we succeed, well, that’s uncharted waters.
There’s one easy way to avoid the headache from lack of motivation, unfulfillment, and pent-up desire to improve your life. And I think you already know what I’m going to say.
That’s right, just do it. It’ll be hard at first. And you’ll come up with a million excuses to avoid doing whatever “it” is for you. But if you just do it—just go through the motions to get things done—it’ll start to get easier. Want to go to the gym but are tired? Go anyway. Have a shitty workout. Feel annoyed by said shitty workout. But next time, go again. And again and again and again. Eventually, the workout won’t be shitty. Eventually, you’ll start to feel good about what you’re doing. And at some point, it’ll get easier.
The change starts slowly. And starting is the hardest part. But once you get on a roll, everything just feels right. For instance, writers have a habit of being wildly inconsistent with their work. One day they’re pumping out pages and pages of work, and then they don’t do anything for a whole week. But if you force yourself to write—to make sure you get some words on the page every day—you’ll eventually make significant progress. That’s how writers like Stephen King get so much accomplished. They work at it every single day without fail. And you know Stephen King has days where he doesn’t feel like writing. But he does it anyway. He has a “just do it” attitude.
If you want to develop this attitude, start slow. Ease your way into it. Sure, some people can dive right into the deep end and start accomplishing their goals right away. But those people are obsessive and on the extreme end of the “get shit done” scale. And while that’s great for those people, most of us simply do not function that way.
The average person takes failure far too hard. Using the gym as an example again, many aim to lose weight. But if they don’t lose the weight they feel they should have in a certain amount of time, they give up. They created a goal and failed at it, and for some reason the alternative is “this is too hard. I quit.” Don’t. Fucking. Quit!
Things will get hard. Life is hard. We all fail. Most of us probably fail more than we succeed. But you know what? You fail 100% of the time when you quit. By quitting you forfeited your chance at success. You let yourself down and made it so a second attempt at succeeding will be twice as hard. And for what reason? Because the effort was difficult? Because it made you uncomfortable? That’s bullshit. You’re just making excuses again.
You can succeed. Maybe not in everything you try. Again, we usually fail more than we succeed. But as long as you put in the work and get shit done, there’s no reason good things can’t happen for your. You just need to develop the mental toughness to handle failure and struggle. Overcoming these things is how we become great. Nobody ever became great by sitting at home wishing they were doing something. They did it by going out and accomplishing their goals. They ditched the excuses and did what made them uncomfortable. Hard work and sacrifice lead to success. All that’s required of you is to just do it.
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