This is a piece of my life I feel comfortable sharing now, because it’s gotten me through challenges that I felt were breaking me. But I look back and celebrate those times because I see them now as opportunities that I chose to take, and that is why I was able to grow.
Motivation has become a buzzword.
I have actually worked in offices where we had Motivational Posters on the walls. This was secretly funny to me because I grew up on the internet where I was exposed to Demotivational Posters before I even knew that people actually printed inspirational phrases under thoughtful images and hung them on their wall like art.
So, I had no respect for motivation when I was younger. It’s no surprise either because it wasn’t authentic. Motivation felt like an indispensable component of any office, like fluorescent lamps or a water cooler. If you watched Office Space, it was like we needed to wear a minimum of 15 pieces of flair and adorn our lives with motivational phrases much like students wrap their textbooks in cardboard covers. As a result, these became bland, meaningless, and invisible.
But, there was times I would watch a movie with a hero that I really empathized with and burst out of the theater ready to take on the world. Specifically, I’m talking about the “hero speech.” We all know them: Braveheart, Any Given Sunday, Gladiator, even Independence Day, and so many others… We grew up with characters that stories built into heroes who faced absolute adversity, and in that moment of adversity they expressed their indomitable will with words that lit fire in our hearts. The hair on the backs of our necks stood up and our heartbeat intensified. We became genuinely inspired.
When I quit my job, the days added up and resources dwindled. It seemed that instead of getting closer to solutions, I was instead constantly discovering complications that had festered into catastrophes. Whatever length of time I thought this was going to take, it had passed so long ago I had already forgotten. This was my moment of absolute adversity. The only difference was that it was every day, and seemed to never end.
The day I changed my life was the day that I changed how I looked at myself. This is where the title for my presentation came from, the hashtag I now use, it’s what defines me now. I became my hero.
I realized that I was living my own hero’s journey, and these were my trials. This was my crucible. And now was the time for those words to become meaningful in my life. And it started with something so simple; I listened to a motivational YouTube video. This one:
When I first heard this video, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It was perfect for the moment in my life; an alarm. It was time to wake up, and it was time to go, and the reason I could do it was because I was not going to take the easy way.
This is my morning ritual.
I wake up in the morning to exercise. It’s simple, but it’s not easy. However, once I put my clothes on and stand up the rest always just happens. And this is what has worked for me: as soon as I get up, I put my headphones on and I play this video, on repeat. I literally listen to this video for anywhere from one hour to an hour-and-a-half sometimes. I sing it to myself. I have heard the words so many times that they have taken on new dimensions of meaning.
The combination of exercise and motivational speeches has become such an intense motivator that I have had to pause everything and record audio as ideas burst out of me. Whether it is the additional oxygen pumped through blood to my brain, or the serotonin and dopamine giving me a natural high, or the sheer fact that I am doing something that is so hard to do every day, the benefits are absolutely noticeable even the first time.
It has now been a couple years, but I still do this. In that time, I have discovered new compilations of motivational speeches that I added to the list, and I will share my personal recommendations in future blog posts. But, this was the one that started it and I bled it dry for at least a year. When I got tired and the words stopped making sense, I would listen to epic orchestral soundtracks that solicited the same emotions, then went back in again.
It works anytime.
I started to do this at other times and it works also. Whether I’m getting ready to go out, prepping myself for an intense writing project, starting a challenging hike, whatever, I put on inspiring speeches. they remind me that greatness is celebrated not because it is easy, not because there are shortcuts, but because it takes a truly great person to achieve great things. And, it’s not pushing yourself until you break – it’s believing that you can accomplish something and working at it until.