Imagine there’s an eight-inch-wide, forty-foot-long plank laying on the ground and I say to you, “If you walk the plank, I will give you 50 bucks,” would you do it? Unless you’re Warren Buffet, you sure would. It’s an easy 50 bucks. What’s the worst can happen, right?
Now imagine I proposed you the same offer but instead of a plank laying on the ground the plank is now a bridge between two 50-story buildings. The same 50 bucks for walking a forty-foot plank isn’t that alluring anymore, is it?
Let’s make another twist, shall we?
Your kid is on the opposite building. That building is on fire. Would you walk a plank to save him? You would start walking instantly. You wouldn’t even need those 50 bucks.
How come the first time a plank between two buildings seemed like a stupid idea but the second time it was, well, still an idiotic idea, but you would have walked it anyway? What changed?
Your “why” changed. The reward of 50 bucks changed to the pain of seeing your kid burning alive. Yikes…
You see, when the consequence is big enough, you don’t need motivation to do anything. You don’t bitch about it. You just do whatever needs to be done. To hell motivation.
It’s the pain that drives you. It’s the fear of consequences like seeing your kid burning alive that pushes you to do things without ever thinking.
The same goes for getting in shape. As John Maxwell, an author and a speaker, observed, to truly ignite your inner drive to change your body, you have to look beyond the motivation.
I’m not saying motivation is some wacky bullshit. Motivation is friggn’ awesome (I’ve already written about it here). It gets you started. However, it ALWAYS withers away when hunger and cravings kick in. When things get harder.
Therefore, motivation isn’t what KEEPS you going once you start eating healthier and/or exercising. You need something deeper, something that would affect your emotions. That’s where pain, the fear of consequences, and/or hate come in.
The Power Of Pain, The Fear of Consequences & Hate
I know it’s going to sound extremely lame but… I once again ask you to imagine you are in a doctor’s office.
You had your blood test done. Your medical journal is right in front of you on the doctor’s desk. The nurse comes in and asks the doctor to come outside for a minute. He leaves, you stay.
Being an epic douchebag as you are, you flip your medical journal because, well, why the heck not? It’s yours.
You see this: cholesterol—265 mg/dL (that’s disastrous btw, to say the least). It’s as close to a heart attack as you can get.
Oh-oh! Let’s throw type II diabetes into the mix too cuz’ fuck it, why not? Type II diabetes is linked to high cholesterol so it’s only fair if we put it into your medical journal too. Your welcome.
How likely would you commit yourself the fuck to lose weight now?
Don’t underestimate the power of pain, fear, and hate as your motivators. Like most people, you’re more motivated to move away from pain then you’re to move towards happiness and joy.
Take Anthony Hopkins as an example. Yea, an actor who won an Academy Award, three BAFTAs (I’ve no idea WTF that is but sounds important) and two Emmys (I know this one, it’s definitely important). Well, his main motivators to become one of the best actors ever lived were anger and hate.
Hopkins revealed to being a terrible student. He had dyslexia and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder:
“I had no apparent future because schooling and education were important, but I didn’t seem to have the ability to grasp what was being taught to me. I felt resentful and rejected by a whole society and was very depressed.”
What did mister H do? He harnessed his anger which drove him to achieve success outside academics. He found that he didn’t suck at acting as much as he sucked at everything else.
Hopkins used anger to fuel his dedication to acting.
He didn’t look for motivation and wait for inspiration to take action. He simply got up every morning and did what he had to—practiced acting. He didn’t need it to be perfect. He just needed it to be done.
You see, wanting to build a kickass body alone doesn’t get you anywhere. Doing does. A negative emotion or experience can create a powerful drive to actually do something about your body and health.
Most people want to lose weight but it gets them nowhere. It’s when you need to lose weight that major changes occur. Your motivator should cause pain.
For example, the pain of being out of shape and not being able to play basketball with your kids on Sundays has to outweigh the pleasure of parking yourself on the couch every night. That’s where negative thinking comes in.
The Power Of Negative Thinking
You’re either motivated by something you want or something you don’t want. Some of my greatest motivation and determination came when I had to battle pain.
Bob Knight, one of the most notable basketball coaches in sports history, illustrates this perfectly in his book The Power Of Negative Thinking:
I tried to teach my son Pat a lesson once when he was really young— maybe eight or nine—and he talked me into playing pool against him. He really had no chance given our respective skills, but I didn’t like how carelessly he was playing, so I finished him off pretty fast.
He started to rack the balls up to play again, and I just walked away, saying, “No, Pat, I don’t want to play anymore until you get better. Sometimes in sports or life, you just get one shot at it and you’d better be ready. You sure weren’t ready today.”
Several weeks later, we played again, and Pat actually beat me. I was stunned. I thought we were just starting an hour or so of playing, but he turned, walked up the stairs, and said, “No, Dad, sometimes you just get one chance.” Lesson learned!
You see what Pat did there? He used a negative experience—humiliation, to get better. This is what you should do too. Stop thinking happy thoughts about that day when you will get chiseled abs. Instead, think about what will happen if you fail:
–> If I don’t lose weight and get healthier, what will my children think of me? What kind of an example I’m setting for them?
–> If I eat this way, I will turn into an artery-clogged hippopotamus with blood pressure that’s out of this world.
–> Unless I take my diet and exercise seriously, there’s no chance I will get to see my kids getting married.
–> Unless I get in shape, my family will have to leave me behind when going for a hike.
–> If I don’t improve my nutritional knowledge and change my food environment, I will keep binging and overeating every weekend. You don’t do that and still lose weight.
Being aware of the potential negatives in any situation is the most reliable way to achieve positive outcomes. Positive thinking that amounts to sheer hope isn’t going to get your butt in a gear.
So please, think of any negative experience that would bring emotions you’ve tucked away. Or possible consequences if you fail. These negative emotions will bring up the pain you need.
Now, don’t get me wrong:
I am not asking you to become a straight-up negativist who strolls around with a sour look, always sees the dark side, and expects a massive meteor strike. Negativity is just until you start loving the process of exercising and eating better.
You see, you might start with wanting to never wear a dress that shows your, well, “fluffy” body again but eventually, all these right daily dietary and exercise choices you’ve made will become your new habits.
You will fall in love with the process of eating better and training smarter. It will become who you are, your lifestyle, your health.
You can read every book about The Law Of Attraction and imagine becoming a lean “fat-burning furnace.” However, the universe doesn’t give two shits about you (or me) and it will be happy when you’re gone.
The universe won’t create and provide for you just because your thoughts are focused on losing weight. Doing will. And the most reliable motivator to start extraordinary changes—pain.