After some numerous passings in my family and losing some people who were really close to me, an idea has emerged in my brain. It is the idea that has been emphasised soooo much in books and movies, amongst self-help gurus and so forth. Oh what’s the idea?
“Life is short.”
Isn’t this all you hear when you put up a motivational video with some Gary Vaynerchuk speech in the background. “Life is short, so make the most of the time you have!”
“Time – the one asset none of us are ever going to get more of.” -GV
Are these sayings wrong? Are they not helping people? Are they nothing more but a mere masturbation of thy mind without actually having anything worthwhile to tell? Are they just a nice idea to make it seem like everything is going to work out in the end if you work for it, but actually it isn’t so?
No, of course not! Motivational videos have tremendous wisdom that can transform anyone from a selfish little loser into a respected company shareholder. However, they are lacking in one thing.
Motivational videos and speeches are built so that you’d get that dopamine hit of everything is possible and that success can happen to even a guy just like you, that success isn’t just about luck and is nothing more than a fruit of hard work and tremendous labor. And that’s all it is. A dopamine hit. They are designed to get you motivated into doing something, yet you wonder why you don’t have the persistence to continue even after one day, a week, a month or even a year. This realisation brings me to the next point.
“Motivation is nothing more but a short term pleasure.”
Motivation does not last. Motivation is not consistent. Motivation can be easily compared to an emotion. It’s not everlasting, it’s not based on anything solid and will fade away in a moment or two.
So…this brings us to a next question. How to make motivation last for ever? Well, the answer is simple. Since motivation is just like an emotion, think of one. Let’s take satisfaction.
There is a time in everyone’s lives when we’ll feel a deep craving for sugar. So, we might go to store and buy some sugary sweets and proceed to eat them. Oh boy, that snickers bar must have tasted real good, am I right? Therefore, while you’re eating it you’ll feel this sense of being satisfied, which will last even after you’re done with eating. Then, at some point, maybe in 15 minutes or so you’ll be back where you started, from the viewpoint of emotions of course. This sudden urge for satisfaction is gone, and so is the feeling of being satisfied. We’re back at our emotional default, whatever that might be for you since it’s highly individual. This is an analogue of explaining how motivation works. Yes, exactly such as this apart from the timeframes of course. Motivation can last more than just 15 minutes, it can last for hours, days, weeks and months if not even a year, but eventually it will die out. Big accomplishments however come from working years, working hard and also working smart. Therefore, motivation by itself is just not going to cut it.
New question. How am I then supposed to stay on track if I’m not motivated enough to do so? What if I lose interest before I actually get to my goal?
One is able to get to that high level of his or her desire if one understands at least some crucial ways of how our world works. There is a special need to philosophise in order to stay on track and to keep moving towards your goals.
Motivation is good, but only for short-term. However, if you’re able to hang on for at least some time (let’s say 67 days because of Tai Lopez), this motivation that helped you to get started has also helped you to create a new habit. A new pattern. A new way of life. Let’s say you did not care much for fitness before, and now, after watching some motivational videos of Greg Plitt getting you pumped up through selling you this idea of being physically superior to everyone else you started to work out. Right now you’re operating on motivation. And, if you’re able to keep this momentum going, then after a while, when motivation has worn off, you’ll still be working out simply because of that very same momentum. To make it even more simple – working out is now a new part of you. You identify with it, that’s who you are now. Therefore, you don’t need any more motivation to go out and work out every single day, because it just feels natural to you just as going to bathroom or brushing your teeth. You don’t even question it.
A funny thing about motivation is that from time to time it’ll come back. Your love for whatever you’ve chosen will be rekindled and you’ll feel like you’ve chosen the right thing for you. In reality, there is no right or wrong thing to choose, it’s just what we’re used to and what we’re not, what comes naturally for us and what doesn’t. And in order for it to come naturally for us, we must practise.
Coming back to the first question that I presented in the beginning, is life really that short? Do we need to make the most out of every moment we’re here, truly alive? Must we really practise our craft day after day for hours without end and make something spectacular happen, like become the next best jazz musician of all time or invent the next iPhone? Is all of this really that crucial in order to live a happy life?
I find the idea of life being short to be a grand paradox. You can say life is short and then proceed to take drugs and eat shit for the rest of your life simply because that is your idea of enjoying life to the fullest. Or, you can work towards your legacy just like Tai or Gary and make that your ultimate goal in life – to be remembered. If life is short then one should start RIGHT NOW in order to create his legacy that will make people remember him for times to come. But, if life is short then we may also enjoy ours to the fullest by doing whatever the fuck we want to do, not leave any legacy, not build anything worthwhile for the upcoming generations to “WOW” over.
I believe the idea of life being short is to juggle these two ideas and pick the one that’s most appealing to you at the time. It might change next year or it might change even tomorrow, and that’s the beauty of it. The idea is to be okay with your choices and make them count towards living the kind of life YOU find appealing. Whatever that might be.
“Life is short. Make it count.”
I’m not here to tell you what to do. I’m telling you to tell you what to do.