On Fridays I like to share experiences I’ve had during the week with patients and in my personal life that I’ve found significant. I like to share them in hopes that you might find value in them and have something resonate with you in your life.
A good lesson. Years ago, I recall someone giving me advice on cooking. First, they told me that the last thing I should be doing is to turn the burners on. That was because if I blew past the necessary preparatory steps and skipped to the end, things would get missed or rushed and destroy the dish. The other advice was that I was not yet experienced enough to improvise. This was given to mean that I had not mastered the basics enough to make it up as I went. Instead, I needed to follow specific recipes to gain some of that information. These are solid lessons for cooking, but I believe apply to life as well.
Good outcomes are a process. They require the right amount of certain things (hard work, consistency, etc.) and less of others (poor habits, laziness, etc.). As they are followed, you gain knowledge that allows you to improve and refine them in the future. Picking a dish you want to make and following a recipe is no different than selecting a goal and following the necessary steps to achieve it.
An interesting interaction. Several weeks ago, I wrote that I watch motivational videos on YouTube in the mornings to give me an extra boost that I use for my workout, morning routine, and workday. I spoke to someone this week that told me they tried doing the same but that it “hasn’t helped.” When I asked some follow up questions as to their routine, it turned out they were doing extraordinarily little. They were expecting the motivation to carry them toward greater things.
Motivation is not magic, it will not make you do anything. I like to think of motivation as the smallest of sparks that nudges you in a direction, but from there it is our job to follow through with action. Motivation is fleeting and unpredictable and thus unreliable. What can be relied upon is routine, consistency, and discipline. Once those tenets are in place, only then can you use motivation to enhance them.
Something I’ve reflected on. Last month, I completed my 100-mile race as you know. The race was set up to have five, twenty-mile laps. As I neared the end of my 4th lap at mile 80, there were seven other runners finishing their 4th loop like me. I could overhear pieces of conversations some were having. Based on only hearing a sentence or two, I believed I knew who would quit and who would continue. Of the eight of us, I thought six would quit once we finished the lap and I was correct.
Though we were all literally at the same point in the race, some saw its completion as too daunting. Those were the people I heard speaking negatively. As they ended that lap, I watched some sit down and cover up with blankets and knew they were done. The two of us that did not quit actually said nothing, and at the end of the lap, simply grabbed our supplies and headed back out. The lesson I took from this is that sometimes the best thing you can do is not allow yourself any option other than to continue onward and keep battling. You may not always succeed, but you will never look back with the regret of quitting.
Something that has helped me. For years, I have conditioned my mind to remind me to “do extra.” In other words, I want to do more (even just slightly more) than what is required or expected. I utilize this premise in my physical endeavors with distance, time, and/or repetitions. I also use it in my patient interactions and treatments with an extra tidbit of advice, following up to see if there are other issues I may be able to help with, or even just offering an encouraging word or two. Regardless of what it is, the goal is to try to get slightly better in whatever I’m doing, each time I attempt it. Training yourself to seek small, incremental improvements in any endeavor can lead to enormous progress.
Some quotes I love.
“You don’t need more time. You need less distractions.” – Jen Cohen
“Nothing will hurt more than knowing that you quit on yourself. So don’t.” – Dr. Josh Handt
“If you focus on the things you have, you’ll always have enough. If you focus on the things you don’t have, you’ll never have enough.”