This Simple Mindset Shift Helped Me Find Limitless Motivation
Tl;dr: To gain motivation, you shouldn’t look at the incremental gains of doing something but at the incremental loss of not doing it. When you don’t go to the gym, you lose health and beauty.
It took me three years (THREE YEARS!!!!) of procrastination before I dared to enter a gym. At the time, the idea to develop Zac Efron’s body wasn’t a big enough reason for me to get off my ass. When I did start working out, it wasn’t because I had focused my attention on what I hoped to gain from it. Quite the opposite.
Unfortunately, this is not how most motivation and self-development books and videos work. They try to motivate you by getting you excited about better days and a higher quality of life…if hard work ensues.
Doing so, they fail most of the time. They don’t understand that humans are not focused on what they could have – they’re focused on what they could lose.
It is by applying this principle that I managed to acquire limitless motivation to do what I want. Here’s how to do so.
The Uncommon Guide to Self-Motivation
Remember that article about how to trade bitcoins?
In the article, I explain how we’re wired to hold more importance onto what we have than onto what we could have (the endowment effect).
The pain you would experience losing 50€ would be more important than the pleasure you’d experience winning 50€.
This phenomenon applies to many things in life, including self-motivation.
Let me tell you the story of a cat lying on a small rock.
It complains it hurts.
“Why isn’t the cat moving”, asks a guy passing by to the cat’s owner.
“Because the rock doesn’t hurt enough”, answers the owner.
The cat is you complaining your life is lame while not doing anything to change it because it’s not lame to the point that you’d start moving things around.
To put it plainly, we’d like to have a hot body to show off at a millionaire beach, but we are not willing to put in the effort because it’s not like people were shaming us in the street.
So…all things considered…isn’t life good enough as it is?
This type of thinking prevents change from happening. Its cost is too high compared to the direct reward. That’s why fat people don’t lose weight. In fact, that’s why they get even fatter.
And that’s the wrong way to look at things.
The Right Way to Look at Things
Taking back the example of the cat, it shouldn’t look at the comparison between making the effort to move to be relieved from the pain, and the pain it experiences.
It should look at the feeling of peace it’d have if it’d move.
Got it? It’s not about getting rid of the pain it has now.
It’s about losing what you’re not gaining because you’re not taking action.
What would you say if I told you that you are capable to provide work worth $1000/hour? What would you say that this fact alone makes you lose $8000 per day or $160 000 per month?
Thinking about this, I decided to apply it to going to the gym. I started thinking about what I was losing by not going working out.
I made myself feel guilty for eating sugar I knew I would not get rid of. I started reading that a high muscle mass meant greater longevity (that I transformed into “you’ll die young if you don’t have any muscles”). I shifted my view to focus on what I was losing instead of what I could gain.
Then I shifted the potential gains of going to the gym into the loss part of the equation.
I was telling myself that I was a worthless piece of sh*t with the ugliest flabby body on this planet, that I was missing a ton of Tinder dates because of my “unattractiveness”.
The loss of advantages of not going quickly became heavier than the laziness and fear of ridicule.
It became too much.
I was losing dates, health, longevity, but also…a good looking body.
And when guilt reached its pinnacle…I finally went
The Bottom Line
This original psychological reversal paradigm was articulated an evening of October 2013 by my drunk German friend who told me, as we were in a casino: “guys, we need to gamble because any time we’re not gambling, we’re losing money because we’re not winning it”.
I did not realize it at the time, but it was genius (maybe not to do in a casino though).
Should your situation be linked to losing weight instead of gaining muscles, you should compute the time you’re losing walking around because you’re too fat to run.
Add to that the lost years of life because you’ll die of cancer or heart attack. Imagine you’ll die on your couch because you’ll be too fat to stand up if you don’t go to the gym (check out this article on the best diet in the world.)
Suddenly, working to improve your life does not seem like a bad idea.
This psychology reversal trick is particularly useful for people like me who are more afraid to be pathetic and weak than desire to be great and strong.
That’s how I learned Spanish in three months.
I was about to turn 25 and you know how they say about losing your ability to learn languages after 25 (that’s utter bs btw)?
Well, I didn’t want not to know Spanish, so I just left for Colombia to learn it before my 25th birthday.
I’m not a knowledge junkie because I like to know (well, technically that’s not true, I love to know and learn stuff). I am a knowledge junkie because I hate not knowing.
It’s not about what you win.
It’s about what you lose.
And by not going to the gym, you’re losing a lot of potential and possibilities.
So what are you waiting for?