I'm 22 years old, and things are changing. Just about everything that I do in the present is dedicated to my future, and the past provides an incredible wealth of knowledge to learn from. Sounds pretty grown-up, right? True, I'm motivated now, but I'd be damn wrong if I said I've always been that way. Truth be told, this mindset is fairly new. I'm sure you've heard motivational speakers spew things like "just get motivated" or "just set goals and succeed". I'm also willing to bet that these positive speeches do very little for you long-term. I've read books and I've attended seminars on success. I've researched how successful people got where they are, and I've interviewed them to further understand. But honestly not a single one of these by-the-book, encouraging methods motivated me. So how did it happen? What is the true key to an undying drive to improve? For me it was pain.
If you asked me earlier this year how I was doing, I wouldn't think twice about answering "great, amazing, perfect". I was living near downtown Los Angeles with a beautiful partner, in a perfect little studio. I wasn't wealthy, and I wasn't doing big things, but I was happy. I was comfortable and it felt good. But, the problem with being comfortable is that the negative aspects that exist in your life seem okay in comparison. I fell prey to the mentality that I was going to feel this good, no matter how I treated myself or others. I fell hard. I made decisions that truly wrecked my life as it was. I shattered my self-confidence and self-trust. I hurt the most important person in my life, and I belittled my own self-image. I'd never truly questioned who I was as much as this year. It was, and still is, painful.
This experience hurt, but It did not break me. After being so upset, I looked for the silver lining. It as a learning experience like no other. I knew I was better than I was treating myself, and I started to change what I didn't like. The fear of returning to how I was created more motivation than any amount of research could do. The human body and mind are amazingly elastic. If given the right stimulus, we bounce back better than ever before. We all want to be better, and there is no stronger motivator than the fear of returning to a "rock bottom" state. A good relationship ending, drug addiction and realization, family tragedy, are all experiences which put us in a state of extreme stress and confusion. It's hard to discern right from wrong, and easy to pursue things that grant immediate satisfaction, no matter the consequence. It's events like these that truly force us out of a comfort zone, and leave us fragile. Allow yourself to be upset and confused for a short period, and then work like hell to escape from the state you're in. Embrace the pain and loneliness as an opportunity to work on you, and only you. Find happiness in every outcome, no matter how terrible it may feel. No matter how difficult it is to go on, keep going. Use the pain you feel as a remembrance that you are only going to be better after every moment that passes from now on. I can promise that if you fuel your future with the pain from the past, you will be surprised at your strength. It's working for me, and it will work for you.
Things to Think About: Don't lose hope when truly bad things happen to you. Use negativity as a motivator to escape that feeling. Work to make yourself better every minute, every day, every year.