As great as our goals are, or as much as we need to persevere through something, sometimes it feels like it’s not worth it. How do you keep going when giving up feels by far the most sensible course of action?
Here are some ideas to keep you motivated:
1. See through the lumpy rock
A story is told of a sculptor who carved a large, granite statue of a majestic horse rising up on its hind legs. It was a magnificent work of art. It had both beauty and power. It was almost impossible to believe it was formed from a lump of formless rock.
When asked how he could have produced such a great piece with just a hammer and chisel, he replied, “I chipped away everything that was not the horse.”
Of course, this quote has also been credited to Michelangelo. In truth, it’s not clear any artist used these words. But the story is still meaningful. It’s about seeing through the solid mass in front of you to what is beautiful on the other side.
The work of “chipping” can feel small and even painful, but we keep doing it because we “see” something more, something that will last. That picture is what keeps us going.
2. Recognize what’s really important
A woman approached a professional golfer as he was leaving the clubhouse one day after winning the tournament. She shared with him that her baby was in hospital and she couldn’t afford the operation it would take to save her. She asked if he could donate something to help her. Deeply concerned he gave her his entire winnings so she could cover the medical bills.
A day or two later, the golfer was back at the clubhouse sharing this story with his friends. One man shook his head and said, “So sorry mate. This woman has done this before. It’s a scam so she can get the money!”
“You mean there is no sick baby?” “That’s right!” he was told.
Then the golfer said, “That’s the best news I’ve heard all week.”
Sometimes we need to be reminded what’s really important.
3. More dessert, less desert
It’s not always about the grand purpose or contemplating the meaning of life. Every now and then we need to give ourselves a break. When your emotional and physical energy is low try change it up a little.
I mean instead having a desert day, have a “dessert” day. Today it’s okay if you don’t eat your broccoli, go to the gym, or change the world. Splash out a little, kick your heels, lick the plate!
Shonda Rhimes, best known as creator, head writer, and executive producer of the television medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, its spin-off Private Practice, and the political thriller series Scandal wrote a book called, “The Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your own Person.” I think the title says it all!
I’m one of a small band of people who would prefer more desert and less dessert.
That is so funny Edward, because getting to know you I completely get that! However, I did think of you when you spoke about getting through tough times with giving yourself little rewards 🙂