It’s 5:00 a.m. the alarm is going off, the first opportunity of the day presents itself; do you hit snooze or do you get up and move to the next stage of your day?
It’s this moment; it’s in these seconds, these seconds before rolling over to address this obnoxious noise permeating from whatever device you utilize to reminder to your body that the day is upon us, that we hear thousands of conscious thoughts battling for center stage.
Many of you will hear thoughts stemming from fatigue, complacency, or even doubt. They shower you with demands (are you kidding it’s too early), deceptive cries of comfort (it’s totally normal to be exhausted) all pleading to stay in bed, to hit the snooze button. They even may go as far as illuminating the doubt we all have inside in the hopes of evoking fear, confusion or worse, apathy.
Maybe your thoughts are proud and they speak to you with positivity (it’s going to be a great day), with motivation (we have a head start on the day). Maybe they make you think of mentors, honorable people who you would like to emulate; or maybe they begin to make you feel good about sacrificing sleep (see the hour your up; this is why you will be successful) and maybe, just maybe the voices will work.
BUT FOR HOW LONG?
You see, often times we rely on external forces to motivate us. These forces may be extremely visible and palpable, like motivational books and speeches, or maybe even this article. Other times, they could be more subconscious and manifest themselves through emotional pathways such as envy, greed, or competitiveness as we begin to compare our success to that of others. In turn, our motivation becomes drawn from our desires to prove to ourselves, to them, to anyone really, that we can live up to the mirage that is the life they have chosen to share with the world (Instagram).
While you may be moderately (or briefly) successful with these tactics, they will eventually succumb to the pitfalls of a relying on a weakened quality of motivation. Change, growth, and consistency require a deep allegiance towards intrinsically powered motivation that can sustain in times of weakness and propel in times of success.
Many of you reading this are athletes, former athletes even, which means competition is not just something you do or did, but its something that is woven into the fibers with which define your purpose in life; YOU NEED IT. Great, then let’s that! You see, the problem is not the competition itself, the need to be competitive, or even the motivation you get from this competition. The problem lies in who the competition is with.
Intrinsic, especially when related to motivation, means to internalize or pull from within. Thus, to be a truly self-motivated individual, the competition must lie within yourself. Regardless of how competitive you are, external inducements will eventually result in a fractured form of motivation.
Look at athletes who have won it all. Why is it so hard to repeat that accomplishment? Maybe because they have fewer naysayers, fewer doubters, and fewer people to prove themselves to. As a result, it becomes increasingly more difficult to continue working when your external forces have evaporated.
The key is to internalize the competition and compete against THE INVISIBLE MAN.
Simply put, THE INVISIBLE MAN is your best version of yourself. He’s the version of you that get’s up at 4:59 a.m., and stares at the alarm clock chuckling as he waits for it to hit 5:00 a.m. He jumped out of bed, went right to the shower and was out the door in record time. He moves through your task list (that was set from the night before) with precision and purpose. He got that workout in, read the chapter you wanted to read, and got the work you needed done; done. THE INVISIBLE MAN is you in your most perfect form and your goal, heck your privilege, is that you get to test the limits of that perfection and beat his !@#$%&* ass.
Every time you start your day by getting up and stopping that alarm, it’s a win. When you get in and out of the shower in a reasonable time, it’s a win. When you get out the door and head off to school, to work, to whatever task is first on your list, it’s a win. The more wins you compile in a day the more productive and powerful your motivation, confidence, and ultimately you will become.
BUT WE CAN’T ALWAYS BEAT HIM, CAN WE?
Yes, at times, you will lose to the invisible man. But vow to beat him the next time. Frequent losses need to be addressed immediately and your processes adjusted promptly. It is important in these instances to ensure that your routines, goals, and motivations are accurately aligned with realistic possibilities.
As a disclaimer, I am aware that I opted to not discuss how those experiencing complacency, apathy, or even lacking motivation, can utilize this tactic to help prioritize their focus and execute their plans. I chose to do this because this tactic or ideal is something they need to work towards attempting, as they most likely need to begin some substantial goal setting, routine, prioritizing, and reflection guidance first. Attempting to go zero to a hundred can create greater anxiety, fear, or apathy; however, all individuals can take pieces of this concept and begin applying it to even just their morning routine, as the underlying principle is self-accountability.