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Motivation is a mental muscle.

What if I told you that getting motivated is not much different from going to the gym and hitting the weights? You may be thinking to yourself that there is a big difference between a weight rack and getting motivated. In fact, if you’re like most people, you probably assume that you already motivated enough.

I’m really not surprised if this is your mindset because this is the conventional wisdom. The understanding that most people have is that if you resolved to show up somewhere for eight hours in a day, maybe by punching a clock and putting in the time so you can get paid every two weeks, you are motivated enough.

Well, the problem is, that’s not motivation. That is obligation, not motivation. You just basically set up an appointment and you show up. Big deal. Where is the victory in that? Motivation is required for success because anything worthwhile in life is going to come with all sorts of challenges.

For the knight in shining armor to walk away with the princess and the chest full of gold, he has to slay the dragon first. The dragon surrounds the princess and the chest full of gold. That dragon is the challenge. Well, the same set-up applies to your life.

Whether you’re studying to become a medical doctor, a lawyer, or you’re trying to reach the top of the corporate ladder at your place of work, you are going to be confronted by dragons in many different forms. The question is, are you willing to do whatever it takes for however long it takes to slay that dragon?

This is a problem because most people do not want to be challenged. Most people are so afraid of coming up short that they don’t even try. I’m telling you, motivation is a mental muscle. You have to put yourself in a situation where you are forced to be motivated. You must use it. That’s how it gets stronger.

Now, at first you will probably fail. Welcome to the club. You think you were able to lift 300 lbs the first time you showed at the gym? Of course not. But the more you use your mental muscle, the stronger it gets. The more you challenge it, the more capable it becomes. The more you put stress on it, the more it grows.

Physical muscles get sore quick-especially if you have just put a tremendous amount of stress and pressure on them the first time. You simply are not used to it. Your muscles seem to be crying out for relief. It’s too tempting to give in and take the easy way out. This is the worst thing you can do. The best option is to just keep stressing your muscles out. Don’t underestimate your personal ability to physically adapt to whatever punishment you put yourself through. You can do it. In fact, most people hitting the weight rack the first time work through their sore muscles fairly quickly. The secret is not to give in and stop. Just keep going and keep at it.

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