What motivates you to get out of bed and do something with your life? What demotivates you to stop be unproductive and lose hope? Motivation is what drives us to be something for ourselves or for others. Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen chat about their inner child and how this greatly influences some of their decisions. Sometimes, this inner self telling you to eat a lot and relax is a form of self-care. Weigh your responsibilities and understand your outlooks in life deeply. Join Jason and Whitney in their insightful conversation on motivation and other related topics.
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Discovering Your Motivation
Jason, how do you motivate yourself to do something that you don’t want to do, but you feel that it is important for you to do?
It’s about talking to the inner child a lot for me because I sense that within myself. There are moments when I protest, I’m in resistance or don’t feel motivated. I feel like my inner child is like, “I don’t want to do it.” It’s that feeling inside of me to a degree. One of the ways that I like to motivate myself is to negotiate with that inner child and also reward it because the adult part of my consciousness is like, “We’ve got a podcast to record. We have a coaching program to launch. We need to clean the house or scoop out the litter box.” Often the inner child is like, “We want to sit down, watch basketball, watch car racing or go get ice cream.” I like to build a reward mechanism where it’s like, “We’re going to sit down. We’re going to do this thing and I know you don’t want to do it, but I’ll take you up for a mint chocolate chip ice cream after we finish.” It feels like I’m talking to a child sometimes within my own consciousness. Is that crazy? Does that make any sense at all?
Is that what you do?
A lot of the times, yeah. I have a conversation with myself that’s in resistance and/or if I feel like I’m forgetting why, I try and remind myself of the why. What’s the higher purpose of this? What’s the higher reason? Why did I start doing this in the first place? I also think about the consequences too. There’s a fine line between this reward conversation we have with ourselves and also being present to the consequence if we don’t take that action because everything has an equal and opposite reaction, all energy. In all things, we initiate the Law of Thermodynamics. I think about, if I leave the dishes in the sink for a week, which I’m prone to do, truth be told, it’s going to be a massive undertaking to spend 1.5 hours cleaning the kitchen. There’s going to be mold and it’s going to be gross. The cats are going to get in the dishes.
Not to be punitive and I’m not talking about punishment per se, but there are consequences for actions we don’t take. There are nuances in that but motivation is a tricky thing. There are certainly days, I know you probably feel this way, where the to-do list is there and the calendar is full, but we don’t feel like doing any of it. Those are challenging days. I’m not going to say that these mechanisms I’m talking about with reward, thinking about consequence, talking to my inner child or remembering why I started, there are some days those don’t feel as effective as others. There are some days where those strategies don’t feel like they’re working as much and I’d rather stay in bed eating chocolate covered pretzels or kale chips.
There are days when I’d rather sit in bed, eat cauliflower puffs and watch YouTube videos. I also realized that there’s a responsibility in having your own business, being an entrepreneur and serving other people. It’s not just about me. We want to do self-care but that desire to stay in bed all day, eat puffs and watch YouTube videos, there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m not condemning that because there are certain days where maybe that is the best course of action. If I realized that I’m in service to others, that’s a big motivator of remembering other people in that equation.
I went through phases where all I want to do is lay in bed and eat those puffs. It reminds me of massive amounts of pleasure of just laying in bed and watching TV. It’s funny because I don’t need them because I changed my diet to a low carb diet. It’s interesting because I feel like food does play such a big role in those moments, but I don’t snack these days. I do every once in a while, but I don’t eat that many snacks because it’s hard to find a good vegan low carb snack. Food has shifted a lot for me in terms of my relationship to it when I want to be lazy. It’s fascinating. I looked back on the times when my diet was different and how I would turn to food during those times. That desire we have to eat foods that makes us feel good. It’s fascinating, especially if you go on any cleanse or you switch your diet around so you’re not eating the same foods and you’re getting out of your current habits. That’s when it becomes evident how much you can depend on food for that emotional stimulation or emotional comfort.
Since you say you’re snacking less and your relationship to food and snacking has evolved, do you find that the emotional eating or the emotional aspect of comforting yourself using food as a substitution or motivate yourself or any of the things we’re discussing, has that dissipated or shifted for you? How do you feel about food in terms of your emotional relationship to it?Motivate yourself by negotiating with your inner child and rewarding it. Click To Tweet
For the most part, I look at food as more about the fuel, but I do have cravings that are different. I crave things like tempeh or tofu or more high protein type foods, whereas in the past, I would crave sugar like crazy. I still have some of those sugar cravings, but I’m more disciplined that there are less options for me. If I have a strong sugar craving, I’ll make myself a coffee drink or a tea drink or I’ll make like a fat bomb because my options are more limited. It’s given me more awareness because sometimes I find it easier to step back and think like, “Why am I having that craving? Is it a real craving? Is it a physical craving? Is it an emotional craving?” Usually, when I crave something like chocolate, it is because I’m looking for the effects of that. It raises dopamine in your body.
The chemicals in chocolate, the PEA, which is the phenethylamine and also the theobromine, they call it the love molecules. When you’re in love, these chemicals are released in your brain and chocolate mimics that. It is one of the big reasons why there’s that cultural stereotype that exists for a reason that when you break up with someone, it’s like, “I want chocolate right now.” We have that thing in our culture of movies and books where someone’s going through a heartbreak and they consume massive amounts of chocolate because they’re addicted to being in love. Chocolate releases and encourages those chemicals in your brain, which is fascinating to think about. There’s a direct correlation.
It’s comforting and soothing. A lot of us turn to those foods that create that chemical reaction. It’s just that most people are not even aware that that’s why they’re doing it. It’s like a knee-jerk reaction. One of the best things for me is because I’ve had a tough relationship with food most of my life, I feel like the current way and framework of which I’ve been eating, which follows more of a keto, low carb and a plant-based diet perspective, has helped me become more aware of why I’m eating and what food does to my body. I feel like I’m able to identify how I feel.
For instance, before Jason and I started the show, I made us each matcha teas. We had matcha powder, coconut milk from a can, some walnut milk, both unsweetened and then I added in some sugar-free vanilla syrup and MCT oil. I’m hooked on MCT oil. It’s something that I feel that I’m into at this moment. We came back from a conference where they had an abundance of MCT oil. You know that you’re hooked on something when my days always began with going to get a coffee and then putting MCT oil in it. I had this whole routine. I don’t know if you knew this, Jason. I don’t think you were ever with me when I did this. Maybe you were there for part of it but not quite aware.
We’re at this amazing conference that Wanderlust put on. I highly recommend it if they do it again. Wellspring was phenomenal and if they don’t do it again, they have their Wanderlust Festivals anyway, which I haven’t been to but Jason’s been involved with for a while. One of their partners is Bulletproof. Bulletproof makes high-quality coffee. Jason and I were listening to The Bulletproof Diet audiobook in the car on the way back from the conference. I feel excited about their coffee and I feel like I want to become more of a devotee to it. I’m passionate about organic fair-trade coffee. Those are important for us environmentally and health-wise.
Listening to some of the facts that were shared by Dave Asprey about coffee and the fact that I have grown so fond of coffee. If that was an addiction, coffee might be the closest I have to an addiction. I feel like I was understanding it better listening to that book because he was explaining how coffee almost changed his life. Dave Asprey’s story started with him experimenting with coffee in college. He learned about things like mold toxins, quality, how some coffee is too acidic and makes you feel bad or gives you headaches or makes your energy crash. I didn’t know this about coffee because I’m new to consuming coffee. He was sharing how specific types of coffee depending on how it’s grown and the whole process around it can affect the way you feel. Most people don’t think about that when it comes to coffee.
Most people think about first and foremost, “Does it taste good? Is it cheap?” Those are the two things. I keep seeing McDonald’s advertising their $1 coffee and I was like, “That’s a hard price to beat.” People always complain about Starbucks and how expensive it is, but people hooked on Starbucks. There are people that can’t stand the taste of Starbucks, they won’t go there. This conversation around coffee is fascinating. To get back to the story, we’re at this Wanderlust conference. Bulletproof had coffee in the presenters’ lounge and Jason was presenting. By association, I would go into the presenter lounge. Usually, at least once a day and sometimes twice a day, I would go in there with my reusable mug, I would fill up on coffee and then I would walk all the way across to the other side of the festival, which felt like it was far.
They were on opposite ends of this huge convention center. I would walk all the way over to the Bulletproof booth and the exhibit hall, I would get the MCT oil and then I would go to a different booth and get some non-dairy milk. I had to go to three different places to make myself a coffee. I did this at least once a day. Do you remember off the top of your head the benefits of MCT oil because I have a tough time articulating things that I’ve learned? I have to hear it many times in order for me to be able to repeat it back without reading it. Jason is much better at remembering these things.
We’re both nutritional science geeks.
Do you consider yourself a biohacker?
I do. I identify with that term in the sense that I’m always up for experimenting with new foods, new forms of therapy and new ways to see how things affect my body, mind and spirit. In the vein of biohacking of being relentlessly experimental and trying new things, definitely. I’m super glad you brought up MCT because I don’t ever want to assume that whoever is reading this automatically knows what’s the benefit of matcha, of low mycotoxin coffee or of MCT. Let’s start with MCT.
Most people don’t understand and they don’t even know what it is.
I can break it down a little bit. MCT oil is Medium-Chain Triglyceride oil. It’s a form of coconut oil like a fractionated coconut oil. These Medium-Chain Triglycerides bypass the liver completely, which provides sustainable and long-lasting energy in the body. They’re also satiating too in terms of their caloric density. If people are looking to satiate themselves while getting that quick energy, those are the primary benefits of it. When you combine it with something like matcha green tea, it’s phenomenal because it doesn’t have the amount of caffeine that many coffees do. I don’t feel any jitteriness or crash when I have a matcha. The benefit of matcha is that there’s a specific amino acid called L-theanine, which has been shown to improve cognition and brain function. I love matcha, especially with MCT because it boosts my brain function, cognition and retention. I get that energy spike from the MCT oil. That is a super powerful combination.
I pulled over this book I read called Fat for Fuel by Dr. Mercola. It’s a great book if you’re interested in the subject matters. It’s not a vegan book, but I felt like it was easy to ignore the non-vegan parts of it. I pulled up on the page where he talked about MCT oil. He said, “Normally when you eat fatty food, it’s broken down into the small intestine primarily through the action of bile salts and lipase, a pancreatic enzyme but Medium-Chain Triglycerides are able to bypass this process. They diffuse across the intestinal membrane and go directly to your liver. Once there, if your body’s in a state of burning fat for fuel, MCT oil can be converted into ketones, which are then released back in your bloodstream and are transported throughout your body including to your brain and can be used as a clean-burning fuel.”
That’s a reason that it’s a great way to take in some extra fat. I’ve been studying the people that are a proponent of the ketogenic diet, and this book is one of them. Dave Asprey seems to be one of them. I don’t know if he uses that term necessarily. He has his own definition of what it means to have a Bulletproof Diet. It sounds like they’re all passionate about fat as your primary fuel source. All of these resources are good about explaining the myth behind fat, which I found most fascinating because many people have these ideas of fat being bad. If you consume fat, that means you will be fat. They’re much more eloquent than me. I will let them read more about it or listen to more interviews about all of that. It’s working well for me too.
Going back to the origination of this conversation, I feel much more focused and energized. I’ve lost weight. I feel physically great and I feel more satiated because I’m eating more fat. That’s probably part of the reason that I enjoy MCT oil and coconut oil in general. MCT oil is a form of coconut oil. I feel immediately satisfied. If we had this matcha with MCT oil added to it, I feel energized fast and good stable energy, which I appreciate. They also feel like I don’t need to eat anything for a little while. That’s one of the reasons that people use MCT oil. It helps decrease your appetite in a positive way because you have all these calories and this fat for your body to use as fuel.There's no one way of doing a thing that's right for everybody. Click To Tweet
I want to loop back to a couple of things that we touched on. One is when you talked about the way that coffee is grown. I have a real issue with the categorical demonization of certain food products like, “Coffee is bad for you. Fat is bad for you. Coconut oil is bad for you.” I love the approach and the first person who coined this and created a phrase that I love to this day is our friend, Ashley Koff. She’s a registered dietitian and she’s been on The Dr. Oz Show dozens of times. I Love Ashley’s work. She coined the term a few years ago called Qualitarian, where you are investigating not only the certifications of a product, whether that’s USDA Organic, it’s non-GMO certified or it’s zero Glyphosate certified. There’s a lot of different certifications out there but researching about how the food is grown and then how the food is processed because not all food products in a category are created equal.
We can’t just say, “Coffee is bad. It’s this horrible product,” that coffee is low acid, organically grown and free of mycotoxins, then how it affects your body is going to be substantively different than a McDonald’s coffee. Much like how nuts are grown and stored, much like the conversation around gluten, that European or Canadian grown wheat that’s from heirloom seeds and are organic. They are grown in the right soil conditions that are not stored in these giant grain silos where a lot of molds and toxic fungus are. I did an experiment a few years back. I’ve been primarily gluten-free for a while. I still go off the rails like, “There’s a vegan croissant. I’m going to have the vegan croissant.” A few years back, I remember buying an heirloom Italian grown wheat. It was an organic certified heirloom Italian pasta. I made this pasta and I tried it. I noticed that I did not have the same gastrointestinal distress, brain fog or feelings as opposed to having a regular old American-grown non-USDA certified organic pasta.
When we talk about gluten, that’s another thing with people like, “Gluten is bad.” I personally don’t believe that because it goes back to the growing conditions like the soil and how it’s stored. Being a qualitarian, I can’t stress enough all of us doing our research and experimenting to see what works for our bodies. It is important. Rather than demonizing something and saying, “That’s horrible for you,” we’ve got to experiment.
Part of that is we’re also continuously learning as human beings. In our lifetime, you see how much nutritional advice has changed. In the time that I’ve been vegan, you see how much food has changed in that time. We have fads and trends and all that, but just because something is trendy, doesn’t mean that it’s bad. I went gluten-free in 2010. I remember back then, it was trendy and people are skeptical about it. There wasn’t a lot of data about the benefits of being gluten-free. It was like, “Are you celiac?” If you’re not celiac, you’re just doing it for a trend. I felt an immediate difference. We both live in the US, so what we’re eating depends on where it’s coming from.
It’s fascinating how people can get upset, polarized and have all these strong opinions. My mindset is that we are still in an unknown period. In general, there’s no one way of doing a thing that’s right for everybody. If you read a lot, then you’ll see that doctors and scientists are coming to completely different conclusions from one another. If all these people have different ideas around what’s healthy, then maybe there isn’t one right way to do it or maybe we just haven’t found the ideal way yet. There are things that overlap and I’m passionate about that. I’m working on an eBook about summarizing a lot of the different information that I found and finding the crossover because that’s helpful. It also comes down to see how you feel and paying attention to all the nuances, what you’re eating, when you’re eating it, where it’s coming from and all these different things.
It’s a big experiment. You have to have some passion for experimenting like we do about with biohacking and all that or being open to trying new things and keeping an open mind. I don’t think it’s helpful to get too rigid and too opinionated about all of this because my opinion has changed so much over the years. When I look back on all the different nuances or extremes of my diet, it’s vastly different. I’m constantly learning new things that negate things that I used to think were the right way to do that.
One of the questions I get consistently asked, especially during live presentations is what you brought up. There’s so much conflicting evidence. This study says that being vegan is the best and this study says that eating oil is good. This other study says that eating oil will kill you. This other study says we need to eat meat to thrive. How do we know what’s right? How do we know what’s true? My response to that is you need to be relentlessly experimental and open to finding what works for you.
If you are trusting somebody for advice and they are super rigid in their perspectives, that’s generally not a great sign. It doesn’t mean that they’re wrong. For example, with us listening to The Bulletproof Diet and knowing that Dave Asprey, the author, has some history of being against veganism, it’s like, “I’m going to take in some of his information.” You know more about his history with veganism and his comments than I do, but I’m going to take in a little bit of information from him and information from other people and find what works and feels best for me.
That’s the best approach because you’re coming at it from not only a bio-individualistic perspective but also knowing that on a cellular level. Every seven years, you’re comprised of fresh new cells. Logically, how could it be that the exact way of eating, living, thinking and being could possibly be the same seven years from now? We know that on a biological level, our bodies are changing and recreating. It’s always being curious, being gentle with yourself, experimenting and not buying into the dogma too deeply. When people get into nutritional dogma so deep, it prevents them from feeling into what works for themselves instead of, “Soy is evil,” and etc. There are many permutations of this conversation, but it comes down to be curious, be experimental, be open and honor your personal evolution and your personal growth.
It would be helpful to come back to the original topic around how you motivate yourself. Food plays a big role in this. It drastically does. Food is one of the first places to look when you’re not feeling well and when your energy is low. A lot of people struggle with low energy a lot. I do a little but I feel like I’m tuning in. It’s getting easier for me to get a grasp on what makes me feel energized. We know that sleep is important. When you feel your best, remembering what that’s like and then note how you’re feeling throughout the day based on the things that you’ve done. For example, if I wake up in the morning, I’ll usually sit there and do an analysis of how I’m feeling. Am I feeling rested? If not, can I get some more sleep? Do I have to wake up right now at this time? Can I cancel something? Can I move something in my schedule to allow me to get some more sleep if that feels important? Could I add a nap later on that day? Can I make sure that I go to bed earlier that evening so that I can make up for some sleep the previous night?
Sometimes, I wake up with low energy and there’s a little bit of fog around me. I don’t know if that’s fully common or exactly what causes it, but it’s a temporary low energy. That’s also important to pay attention to know that things are often temporary and you can shift them. I find that if I spring myself into action if I have a plan or if I have something exciting that I’m going to do, I will naturally become more energized around that. A lot of the times, we feel low energy or low motivation. What we’re doing does not make us feel good deep down inside. That’s super important if you’re waking up in the morning. I remember this when I used to work the “typical 9:00 to 5:00,” I would wake up and dread going to work. A lot of people when they wake up in the morning, they’re upset about what their day is about to be because they have to go to work. You don’t think so?
Whitney and I are both similar in the sense that we both spent many years working for other people and companies. When I got out of college, I went right into the advertising industry and worked as a copywriter and a marketing director, which has been serving me well later in life as an entrepreneur. I did the whole advertising agency thing. I remember feeling this sense of not wanting to do this. It was not the convention of working for others, although I later realized that I’m not a person who enjoys working for other people. That was that whole thing of knowing your true nature.
I remember having a conversation with my mom in the parking lot of her work. It wasn’t an argument, but I was like, “I can’t work for anyone else.” I feel like I was going against my own wiring all those years where I was working for someone else because I don’t like to be told what to do. I’m a rebellious person. I like working in tandem with people. I like collaborations like this show but the hierarchy of, “I’m your boss or I’m your supervisor. I’m going to tell you what to do,” combined with my heart, it’s not being in alignment with the work I was doing, I’m not feeling any value to what I was doing, it’s hard. Dread may be existential nihilism like, “What is the point of this? I’m only making a paycheck.” There’s a lot of fear around that. I certainly felt all those things.
Sometimes, our energy is more about the mentality. Motivation is mostly mentality. If you lack the motivation to get up in the morning and you feel super low energy, it might be a mindset thing for you. It might be as simple as shifting your mindset, which I believe we can do. You might not like something but shifting your mindset can help you accomplish it if it feels that it needs to be done. Some people choose to work a specific type of job because that’s the best way for them to make money the fastest or they haven’t found anything else. Everybody has different reasons for it. I’m a big proponent for being conscious about what your reasons are and not boxing yourself in. A lot of people think they have to do things. Even if they don’t feel like doing it or don’t want to do it, they feel they have to. That always breaks my heart. If you tune into something, there are times when we need to do something, even if we don’t want to. A good part of our life is we can choose to do things that we want to do and that has a huge effect on our whole lives.
You talked about mentality and what things it represents in your life. If I think about my mom to bring it back to Susan, who’s likely reading this because she’s so loving and supportive. Growing up, when I was young with a single mom raising me, she would work 3 and 4 jobs at a time. I remember going with her because she was cleaning banks. I would go with her to these banks after the banks would close. She would clean the banks in the middle of the night and whatnot. There are moments to be real that I’ve observed where sometimes you’ve got to put your head down and do what needs to be done to put food on the table and bring money in. It might not be this idea of, “I’m manifesting my highest purpose.” There are certainly moments even as an entrepreneur and building my own brand that were crunchy moments where I was like, “Maybe I don’t feel fully aligned with this brand deal. Maybe I don’t feel fully aligned with whatever this project is.” Truth be told, rent is due and food needs to happen. Even as an entrepreneur, there were moments of, “I’m going to take this on because I know the end result is taking care of my life and providing for myself.”
That in itself is motivation, though. A huge element of motivating people is, what are the reasons for doing it? It’s similar to what you were saying at the beginning. It comes in big and small ways. I was thinking about this. I didn’t want to go to yoga. I was so conflicted. I felt tired and lazy. I only want to lie in bed. I thought, “I should go to yoga.” I have this back and forth in my head. What helped motivate myself to go was visualizing being there and all of the good feelings I would have when I got there, and the good feelings I would have when I was done with it. That was extraordinarily helpful. I feel that it can play a role in our lives in big and small ways.When people get into nutritional dogma so deep, it prevents them from feeling into what works for themselves. Click To Tweet
Visualizing the outcome or the positive elements of work because I’ve worked a lot of different jobs over time where I’ve done a lot of different tasks or whatever. I agree that when you think about what’s it going to feel like when you’re done with it. What’s it going to feel to have the money that comes along with it? What’s going to feel to have the satisfaction? What’s your body going to feel like if you’re doing something like exercise? In my case, it’s thinking about how good I am going to feel directly afterward and the day afterward. Going through this mental framework around why it is that you’re going to do something.
The visualization component though is massive. If that is the thing that is the reward for you, because it’s not only about the money or the accolades, it’s what those things represent as you so beautifully said in your life. It’s not, “I’m going to take on this new contract. It’s a $10,000 contract.” That doesn’t have a lot of meaning. It’s, “I could take that and pay off my debt. I could put that as a deposit on a new car been wanting. I could put that into my retirement.” It’s what the thing represents in your life and what you can do with it because money is energy. It’s about being clear about what your aims and goals are in life and taking action that’s in alignment with those things. That goes back to when I don’t feel motivated, I think about what the higher purpose is.
I know that in my life now, it is clear like paying off business and personal debt, continuing to put money aside for retirement, buying the house, get a new Tesla, have the abundance to share and donate to organizations I believe in like animal rescue. I understand that because we’re talking about money, working jobs or taking on projects, of where that energy wants to be dispersed and where I want to put that energy. When I’m feeling like I want to sit and eat cauliflower puffs and watch YouTube videos all day, I remind myself of those aims and those goals and that’s motivating. Especially if there’s a deep emotional component to those things.
Sometimes, it’s starting something that’s the hardest part. I would say that most of them are the hardest. Part of my resistance to going to yoga was the dread of driving there but once I was in the room, it was pleasant. I’ve had that part of my visualization. I was talking to my future self, “This drive may or may not be super pleasant, but you’re about to experience something good for yourself.” That is insanely helpful. I also feel that it’s important sometimes to do the things that we want to do instead of getting ourselves motivated. For instance, having a few hours or maybe a weekend day or whatever day off you have to sit around and eat cauliflower puffs and watch YouTube videos. Those days are important. We need to have those rest days or rest periods. It’s also helpful for contrast because you can remember in your head what it’s like to sit there, eat and watch something.
If you’re conscious of how you’re feeling at that moment, you can also think about what the opposite is like. What would it have felt like to do the thing that you were trying to motivate yourself to do? That helped me too in my head. I sat there and thought, “How’s it going to feel to do yoga? How’s it going to feel afterward?” I then thought, “How’s it going to feel to lay down and watch something on TV and how would I feel afterward?” Having that contrast there helped me make a decision and push myself to do something. The other big point along those lines is that some people push themselves so much all the time that they burn themselves out.
In the entrepreneur and influencer community, this is an all too common thing. This is opening up Pandora’s box a little bit. There are messages we get from certain people that are like, “Keep the hustle. Keep the grind.” You hear these pedantic overly simplistic things of, “How did you get so successful?” You’re like, “Hard work.” That’s all you have to say.
Elon Musk said that. Was it on Twitter and Instagram? He was saying, “I work 100 hours when everybody else is working 40.”
It’s pedantic though. Here’s why it’s pedantic. If hard work was the answer, my grandpa would have been a billionaire. It’s pedantic and I hate this. I have an emotional reaction to this overly simplistic framework that entrepreneurs, billionaires and influences have like, “Keep grinding. Don’t give up. It’s hard work.” There are many other components to this because I know so many people and growing up in a family of extremely hard workers. If that was the answer and that’s the only answer, we would all be rich, famous and wealthy. It’s not only that. There are many other layers. There’s luck, timing, connections and privilege. There are a million other factors. I take umbrage with, “Keep working hard.”
This is a sore spot for you. You get activated whenever this comes up. Why does it activate you so much?
Because the people who are in successful positions aren’t giving us the full picture. It’s like, “Work hard.” That’s ground zero. Working hard, putting effort, intention and focus on what you want is a thing, but what else?
It’s like with food, you have to figure out what gets you the results that you want because each of us has different goals. We all have our own measuring sticks. Our lives are the only measuring stick that matters. We get into this mindset of comparing ourselves and trying to emulate other people, which has its benefits. Sometimes comparing yourself to somebody is motivating. That’s part of the reason why there’s the body goals thing that goes around in Instagram and other platforms. It’s like, “This is the person that I want to look like. I want my body to look like them. I’m going to do whatever it takes to look like them.” That can be motivation but to your point, you don’t know exactly what that person did to look like that or to get to that place in their life.
To emulate the things that you think that they’re doing or if they give you some surface-level advice like Elon Musk. You’d say, “If I want to be as successful as Elon Musk, I better work 100 hours a week.” What exactly is he doing that 100 hours? Maybe Elon Musk as we know by observation, is a rare human being. His mind works differently than you would think most people’s minds do. Elon Musk’s 100 hours is different. Maybe he can’t help himself to do 100. Maybe he literally can’t sleep. Maybe his brain is so active that in order for him to feel fulfilled, he needs to do that 100 hours. Somebody else could accomplish similar goals to him, but do a lot less work because of the way their minds and bodies work. That’s incredibly important for us to remember. It’s not about the hours. If we have to step back and say, “Why exactly are we doing this?” If our why may be different than somebody else’s why and a lot of cases it is, we have to create our own standards of success to that point. That’s why you can be successful and still eat cauliflower puffs and watch YouTube videos a few hours a week. You could take two days off like an average person and work five days and still accomplish a lot.
It’s important to remind people that it’s okay if you are not feeling motivated. We also go through phases too. This happens to me. I often find this happens maybe in January or February. I’ve noticed a pattern in the time of year when this will happen for me where I’ll have a dip in my motivation and I’ll feel stuck, frustrated, unsure and I’ll go through a lot. In the past few years, there was one month where I barely did anything. My life is completely fine even though I spent that much time off.
For some people, taking a whole month off might be beneficial, especially if you have a career that gives you the flexibility or lifestyle whatever it is. If you have that flexibility built into your life and if it’s a long-term situation that you’re in. For example, for us as entrepreneurs, I crossed my ten-year mark. I plan on doing this another ten years at least. Once a month in those ten years, I take off and relax. What’s a few hours or a week or whatever? It’s not going to throw my entire success course off track. It’s also incredibly relative to what your goals are. How long it’s going to take you to reach them and how long you’re committed to being in them?
It’s like a diet with the way people eat. People have cheat days, for better for worse. The amount of time that you “spend cheating on your diet” depends on how much is going to throw you off. One snack or chocolate bar in a course of a year-long dietary regimen is not going to throw you off that much. One piece of cake or whatever it is that you’re splurging on. If you’re splurging once a week or several times a week, it probably would add up to be quite a lot.
This reminds me of a conversation I had where I was hanging out with a friend and she was debating about whether or not to eat. There were these chocolate chip banana muffins she made and she was excited, “I made these. I never bake. I decided to bake.” It was this whole thing about eating dessert and indulgence. I know that she lives healthy. She’s a mindful person and takes good care of herself. She’s compassionate and mindful of how she lives. I looked at her and said, “You’re going to be dead soon.” She started laughing. She’s like, “What do you mean? We’re all going to be dead soon.” Do you think on your deathbed, you’re going to be sitting there going, “Remember that day in 2018 where I had three chocolate banana chip muffins?” You’re not going to be sitting on your deathbed, thinking about how much chocolate you ate? You will not, I guarantee it.Our lives are the only measuring stick that matters. Click To Tweet
This whole thing of putting so much pressure as you’re saying, the comparison thing. I don’t think that at the end of our lives we are going to be bemoaning the desserts we ate or the days we spent in bed with the cauliflower puffs. We’re not going to be doing that. If I may interpret what you’re saying, it’s like let’s stay motivated and focused on our aims and goals, but not be the stern taskmasters in the process of being cruel to ourselves or withholding the idea of rest, indulgence and recovery. To your point, I agree. My conditioning is growing up in a super hard-working blue-collar family. I still have certain guilt mechanisms that I need to unravel when I do take a rest day.
I’m glad that you brought that up because that’s another huge reason why people feel conflicted about motivation. My sister is another great example. I see in her what I used to struggle a lot with. We were both raised with determined parents that were career and entrepreneurial oriented. My mom is this incredible force of nature. She is the epitome of a strong woman. She is going to get whatever she wants. She’s going to make things that she wants and she believes if there’s a will, there’s a way. She believed that whatever you want in life, you can have it. She’s an amazing role model to have. She’s been doing this in different ways throughout my life.
She gets up at 4:30 or 5:00 AM so she can go to the first workout class that she loves. She goes to these classes five days a week and she is so committed to waking up at the crack of dawn. By the time I wake up, which is usually 10:30, that’s my favorite wake up time, she’s already been awake for 5 or 6 hours and accomplished so much. She’s got this mindset of, “I’m going to get up early. The early bird gets the worm. I’m going to make everything happen.” A lot of people have that mentality of waking up before the sun and get a lot of stuff done before other people are awake. That’s great. It’s inspirational but I don’t know if it works for me.
To your point, depending on how you were raised and the people you were around, whether they’re your parents, your friends, teachers, anyone that you maybe want to model yourself after, it can cause a lot of stress to think that that’s the way to get things done. We usually model our parents. For me having a mother that loves waking up early and loves getting things done, it took most of my life. I’ve been told and realized that I don’t like getting up early. It doesn’t bring me that much greater joy. I find more joy waking up at 10:30, which is my sweet spot. For some people, that seems late but I’m staying up late at night. It’s like my mother and I are opposites. She loves being up in the morning. I love being up at night. A lot of times, our lives crossover. I had to find that out for myself and I had to push through any of these ideas that I had about what it meant to be successful and have a day that was on track.
I had to push through a lot of guilt to give myself permission to wake up when it felt right for me to wake up. I still battle that in a small way. I’m not sure that my mom or other people I talked to about this fully understand, but that’s where you have to find the self-confidence to figure out what works for you and be okay if the way that you live your life and get things done is different from the way other people accomplish their goals.
It’s a perfect parallel to the conversation about food and nutrition. Whereas people want to know the one way, the perfect way, the ideal way, this is the ideal way for humans to eat and this is the ideal way for humans to be successful. Many of us crave the formula or the system that is like, “I’m looking for the answer.” There’s no one way for all of humanity like the way we eat, work, love and engage in relationships. I know this started on motivation but the takeaway here for me is to be radically curious and experimental with finding out what works for us. Let go of this obsession of thinking that there’s one way to do everything that works for everyone because that does not match the nature of reality.
I find that refreshing. The challenging part is that you have to get to know yourself.
There’s no guidebook or manual. That’s the thing. There’s no life manual, so we’ve got to write it for ourselves, even if it looks completely different than the way our parents lived or than religion and society dictate. One of the most exciting parts about being alive is the depth and the ferocity of that exploration with humanity. We know of all the challenges that’s going on, but part of the challenge is the fact that the old ways, the rigid structures, the ought-tos and the shoulds are being broken down. That can often be confusing, painful and weird Like I don’t know what I am, where I’m going and what the right way is, but it is the hero’s journey. It’s that classic mythology of you going into the forest or nature. You’re going into the unknown dark corners of the cavern and you don’t know what’s there, but feeling excited and curious about it rather than overwhelmed and fearful.
The fear of getting it wrong. That’s the big thing. It’s the fear of failure. This idea of, “If I don’t do this the right way, I’m going to fail.” Failure is part of the path because failure teaches you so much. Oftentimes, we magnify failure when our version of failure is not that big of a deal in the big scheme of things. Most of the things that we do in life can be course-corrected. The only thing that we don’t get back is time and the only thing we can’t control is aging. Other than that, we can fail as many times as we want over this lifetime.
That goes back to what you were saying about your deathbed. I was looking that up because I was trying to remember something somebody said during the Wellspring Conference. I fell that they said it in that talk we went to about failure. Do you remember that? It was a great talk. It was two different guys that were talking about their experiences of failure and working through depression and suicidal thoughts. It was inspiring. I feel one of them brought this up. I looked up what are the top regrets of the dying. One beautiful articulation of it was the first and the most important thing that people regretted is not living a life true to themselves. They were too busy living the life that others expected of them.
That’s huge. If you think about that, many of us are basing everything we do or so much of what we do on what we think we should be doing. What our parents, teachers, friends and people we idolize told us to do. If I want to be them, impress them and want validation, I have to do these things even though it doesn’t feel true to me. Many people don’t even know what feels true to them. To me, that would be the best way to summarize this topic. Encourage each of you to look continuously for what feels true to you.
It’s hard because you’re uncovering a lot. There are a lot of layers built-in that, getting away of us figuring out what feels right and true for us. I want to encourage each and every one of you to be on a hunt for that and make that your priority. That’s one of the reasons why meditation in the morning is one of the best recommendations. If you can start your day in silence, focus on yourself and get in touch with your feelings, thoughts and where your heart is leading you, that can be one of the best ways to stay on the right path.
To me, it’s the hero’s journey of not knowing where the path is taking us, what’s waiting for us and what life wants for us. I believe we’re all making it up as we go and that takes a lot of courage. I want to acknowledge and honor those of you reading who are on your path, being curious, loving, experimental, honoring your individuality and the gift of your life and defining what that is for yourself. It’s not easy. Going back to my mom, Susan, my favorite quote that my mom’s ever told me is, “If it was easy, everybody would do it.” I want to encourage you that even if it feels scary, confusing, hard, confounding and disillusioning, keep going and filling your heart more of who you are and what you want to create on this planet. To me, it is the greatest work we can do here. It’s to discover who we truly are and honor that and live that fully.
That’s one of the biggest missions of ours with this podcast. It’s to help you figure out yourself, so you can feel more fulfilled, happy, healthier and have that holistic view wellness every aspect of your life and how that ties into your life experience.
That’s why we’re here.
Thank you so much for reading another episode. We’re grateful to have you here. If there’s anything that we discussed like books or products or events, you can find that all at Wellevatr.com. Thanks again. We look forward to hearing from you. We hope that we hear from you if you can reach out to us. The links to our social media and our email are also on the website. You can find all sorts of ways to get in touch with us publicly or privately. We would love for you to give us a review on iTunes. That is a great way to support the podcasts and help other people find us. Speaking of which, if you share this episode with somebody that you think could find some value from this, that would be fantastic as well. Thanks again, everyone.
We love you.
- Wellspring by Wanderlust Festivals
- The Bulletproof Diet by Dave Asprey
- Fat for Fuel by Dr. Joeseph Mercola
- Ashley Koff R.D.
- iTunes – This Might Get Uncomfortable
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