Recently I’ve been thinking about the factors driving motivation, how some people have it and some people are lacking in it. What are the commonalities of those people with a burning desire to succeed and those who are more inclined to let life be dictated to them?
[Even if you don't like basketball I highly recommend watching the video in its entirety to appreciate the level of dedication this young man has to achieve his dreams]
I watch a lot of basketball and often enjoy drawing parallels between the drive and determination of basketball players and that of successful entrepreneurs and musicians. Yesterday I watched a video of Stanley Johnson, a high school basketball player from California who recently took his team to four straight national championships – very impressive stuff! Stanley Johnson is a freak of nature when you watch him play basketball, he is tall and fast, a good defensive player and has great knowledge of the game. Sure many people will attribute his talent and skill to some God-given talent but that is what most people do to justify the success that others have that they perceive they don’t.
A section of the video is focused on his mother, who was a champion basketball player herself in college, and she talks about Stan’s love of basketball from the age of 5 and his determination to be a professional basketball player from this young age. Understanding that her son had this drive she began to develop an extremely long term path of training and dedication for him that would later pay dividends to his yet-to-begin professional career. She raised him to become hard-working and to have the long term always in mind, for the first 5 years that he was able to dribble she would tie his left hand behind his back to develop his right hand skill. Then she would tie his right hand behind his back to develop his left hand skill. Then she would make him dribble the court with a blindfold on so that he wasn’t dependent on any one sense.
There are multiple lessons in this beautiful story but I want to focus on one first. The Why.
I often see people struggling with finding meaning in their life or just lacking the motivation to push them that one step further in their journey to improve their lives or to mastery. I believe that most people before they even begin doing something fail to ask themselves the most important question, why am I doing this? It sounds very simple but more often than not simplicity is often the best solution to many of our problems.
If you break down what it is that motivates us it all boils down to this one question, why am I doing something?
If you find it hard to get out of bed, ask yourself, why am I doing this? What do I want to be? Where do I want to go? What do I want to learn or achieve from this?
If you find yourself soon ready to give up after a long plateau or feel there is no positive end from now, ask yourself why am I doing this? What do I want to be? Where do I want to go? What do I want to learn or achieve from this?
By doing this, you are consciously asking yourself this question and the answer will come from something deep inside you, from your subconscious. In your subconscious are the true drivers for your motivation and your meaning of life, in the process that you are looking for to be a successful human being. If you just go through the motions without diligently questioning yourself in this way, you lose the ability to stick to the process without keeping the long-term end goal in mind.
Right now just ask yourself, “am I struggling with something?” or if you’re thinking I just can’t do it anymore, ask yourself why am I doing this? Actually do it.
Do you feel your body reacting to the answer, have you pictured in your head a successful version of you in the future? Why are you doing what you’re doing? Is it for money? Is it for security? Is it for freedom? Is it for your family? Is it to feel alive and break free from the monotony of a normal life? Is it for glory?
It doesn’t sound like much but this is something I personally use all the time and I have found it to be incredibly powerful in helping find my own answers and help me stay motivated.
Remember in life to try and keep it simple to strip everything back to its minimal core, no enemies within, no enemies without.
The Shining Man.