The reason that we fall short of achieving our goal is simple.
We let pain be a good enough excuse
The pain might be physical, emotional, psychological or even spiritual but it doesn’t matter. The rules of whatever game you’re playing still apply.
I like to play chess. I have an app on my phone and I play when I’m waiting in line, when I’m too tired to do anything else, etc. It’s really embarrassing when I make a move that I knew was dumb but I did it anyway.
I may have forgotten that I tried it in past games and it always got me in trouble but I still forgot about that and did it again. It’s painful to realize that.
I might have even looked carefully over a whole series of moves and ruled that one out. But after thinking about seven or more combinations, they start to mush together in my brain. I get mentally tired and then do something that *I already know doesn’t work*. Then, I feel stupid.
But the death rattle is to tell myself something like “This game is dumb” or “I’m just not smart enough to be good at chess”.
I have to push through the pain and try again. I have to keep thinking and processing, even when it hurts my pride and I feel like a moron. I have to commit to get better.
When it stops being about the ego, we can progress. When we stop focusing on ridiculous notions of being perfect and instead focus on the elegance and the beauty of the game itself, we can develop more skill.
As long as it’s about proving how awesome we are, we’ll be distracted by the possibility of “failure” and we will almost certainly make sloppy mistakes.
Once it becomes about paying attention to how you can learn and grow in the moment, you expand your consciousness and nothing is quite as frightening.
Accept pain as being a rule of the game, itself.
The universe has laws like gravity. If you want to lift yourself up off the floor, you must exert the correct amount of force to do that; 85% will not suffice.
We can allow pain to be an excuse… it’s super freakin’ easy.
“I can’t lose weight, I’m too hungry”
“I can’t go to school, the work is too difficult for me”
“I can’t get a job, there are too many rejections and it’s too depressing”
“I can’t get a date, there are too many rejections and it’s too depressing”
“I can’t stay in the relationship, it’s too much work”
“I can’t get out of the toxic relationship, it’s too painful to be alone”
“I can’t get off the drugs, the withdrawal is too painful”
“I can’t go to the gym, it hurts too much the next day” or “It’s too embarrassing to work out next to all those people who weigh half as much or are twice as strong”
But pushing through the resistance is absolutely the only thing that works. Nothing else will cut it.
Any of the above examples have been done by someone before you and they are no better than you.
The only thing separating you from having what you want is the story you tell yourself about why you can’t have it.
That’s something I have heard from a variety of sources. It might be a slight oversimplification but it’s 90% true and it will serve you to treat it as if it’s 100% true.
You have to pick something and make it your fucking religion.
We can’t all do everything, we’re not super heroes. But if you’re unhealthy, maybe you say “For the next year, NOTHING else matters but my health”.
If you are in school, you set everything else aside and you do school.
If you’re in a relationship that means the world to you but you’re just phoning it in, not really committed, then you drop your other interests and focus on giving it 100%.
If you need money, you make money your focus.
You want to be an expert in a given area, you eat, sleep and breathe that subject.
Sometimes, you have to put something first, out of necessity. Money and health are big ones, they sometimes supersede other areas. But you can find ways to “stay in the game” for the other things that are important to you, if you’re serious and willing to commit on a smaller scale.
For example, you say “My school is my focus this year, it eats up 10 hours of my day. But I can give two hours to my relationship partner and one to my health”.
You get the idea, whatever area you need to go forward in, you get radically honest about what you can do, what you cannot do and you formulate a plan.
For me, chess is just a hobby. I chose to use it as a metaphor because games work well to illustrate the point.
But if I was trying to become a chess master, I would be reading books about chess every day, watching videos about chess regularly, playing anyone who would sit still and have a game with me. I would find a mentor/teacher to study under and treat that relationship like it was everything.
Chess doesn’t mean that much to me, personally. But other people and things in my life… do.
I know what matters to me and you know what matters to you. Do your thing.
Just remember, if it’s something worth doing, it’s going to hurt… a lot. Anything worth doing will require your very best.