Finding What Drives You

While in the gym this morning, doing lunges with a barbell on my back, I experienced the best feeling I’ve experienced during a workout; the feeling of zoning out. This lead me to question; “am I zoning out, or simply zoning in on the task?” After completing the last set of lunges, my trainer was extremely impressed and said “great job, Matt! That was a great set of lunges! I’m very impressed!”. Now normally, my trainer enjoys taking the “drill sergeant” approach, preferring to motivate with “come on, you owe me another 5”. Outside of the workout sets, he’s really smiley and happy, so this drill sergeant approach feels somewhat out of character. For some, it works. For me, I’ve not always felt it to be the best motivator. Today, I discovered why and (most importantly) what is a motivator for me.

Back to the beginning

For years when growing up, my mom always said to me that I perform best when I’m at the top of my class. While perhaps not directly clear on what that meant, I’ve discovered it to be very true. At first glance, I felt this was because I enjoyed what I was doing and was naturally good at it, so I performed well. Recently, I discovered this to not be exactly the case. It seems my performance is directly related to the response I receive from what I do. While definitely something I need to work through in my personal capacity (I no longer seek the approval of others in order to perform well), it’s something I can exploit within myself (see: “hacking myself“) in order to get through it and break the habit.

Exploiting weakness to achieve success

Breaking away from the “how” for a moment, I feel it’s incredibly important to focus on the desired outcome and do whatever it takes to achieve it. If that means exploiting a current weakness of mine, so be it. I noticed today, after the extreme praise at my lunges, adding an extra 5kg to the barbell felt like nothing. That’s great! I now have proof that exploiting my desire for praise helps to increase my performance at the task, resulting in a better outcome.

Today, I challenge you to look deep within yourself, find what provides an amazing feeling (even if totally shallow and short-term) and exploit it heavily to achieve your goal. When achieving a goal, the outcome matters more than the journey.

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