The remarkable thing about life is that you are the master of your mind, the undisputed main character in an epic journey through this world. Command your mind or your body and it will obey. You can use this power to shape your future as you see fit; your legs will walk to the gym even if you’re lethargic, your vocal chords will produce sound even if you’re nervous to speak up.
But, for all of the incredible features that come standard on the Human Body, autopilot is not one of them. In the absence of instructions, your mind and body will remain in the default state of Doing Nothing. It will not make friends for you if you don’t socialize, it will not find you a new job if you don’t seek out opportunities.
Each command you give, each action you set in motion, is a small building block of your life. And in the end, the actions sum up to tell your story. Action transforms the athlete into the Olympian, a napkin sketch into an invention, two separate lives at a cocktail party into a forever entangled and intertwined existence.
Yet still we postpone, sitting idly and waiting for the mythical force of Motivation to compel us to leap forward and seize the day. Motivation – an unreliable tide that ebbs and flows as it pleases, seldom punctual or convenient. Motivation – a concept we’ve invented, a purgatory between Ideas and Execution, the scapegoat for why we don’t have the habits we want or the success we desire.
It’s all nonsense: you don’t have to wait to be motivated. You can simply get up and Do – begin to build new habits through action, even in the absence of motivation. Grab the controls of your amazing machine and order it forward. Decouple yourself from motivation – decide to do things because they will bring you health or happiness, not because they happen to coincide with a momentary burst of motivational energy.
You will cover oceans while the rest of the world sprints across fields during brief, fleeting moments of inspiration. You will accomplish what others only dreamed possible while onlookers marvel at everything you’re able to accomplish, to-do lists and bucket lists alike fading into distant memory as you charge forward through life.
Read more. Lose weight. Travel. Exercise. Learn to dance.
So many of our goals are not goals at all, but simply actions – binary in nature, they are accomplished merely by deciding to be done. Read and you have read. Eat better and you have lost weight. Get on a plane and you have traveled. Run and you have exercised. Take a lesson and you’ve learned to dance.
“Do, or do not. There is no try.” Life really is that simple.