Have you ever awakened in the morning with a song going through your head – a song you haven’t heard in months or maybe even years, and one you may not even like? Of course, you have. It happens to all of us. We have no idea why that song popped into our head and, try as we might, we can’t shake it until something else comes along to take its place.
If you enjoy any of the music from the early 90s, you’re probably familiar with these lyrics: “I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that.” The song was first recorded in 1993 by Michael Aday, better known to most of us as Meat Loaf, and it reached the #1 spot on the charts in 28 countries.
That’s the song I woke up with this morning, and it’s still playing through my head. Thankfully, this is one I really liked. Yesterday I woke up to Janis Joplin. I’m sure for some of you, that would have been a great way to start the day. I’m pretty sure it was my brain’s way of punishing me for going to bed so late.
So, why am I writing about that this morning? Well, two reasons. First, it’s a vivid reminder of the fact that our brain can retain just about anything for a long, long time, and it can bring it back to the surface when we least expect it. Good things and bad, so be careful what goes in.
But in the context of motivation and success, I think it raises a pretty important point. We all want the best life has to offer, but we tend to draw a lot of lines when it comes time to actually do something about it. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We should have limits, especially when it comes to something that is completely against our values.
Still, that leaves a lot on the table. We all have things we want, dreams that we can describe in vivid detail. And, while we’re in the dream mode, our imagination can become the world’s best add-on salesman. “You want the tour package to go with that? How about a luxury suite? And you wouldn’t want to travel this far in a coach seat … we’re talking first class, right?” And your brain says, “YES!!!”
Okay, so what happens when it’s time to start working toward that dream? That’s when the song starts playing: “I would do anything for (insert your favorite dream here) … but I won’t do THAT.” Really? A moment ago, you were adding options like a kid at the ice cream buffet. No extravagance is too great. After all, you deserve this. You’ve earned it!
“But you mean I actually have to work for it???” The list of options hits the floor and is quickly replaced by an even bigger list of limits. Okay, you’ll work for it. Maybe even a little extra. As long as it’s not too much extra effort, and it doesn’t cut into bowling night. And it can’t be anything that involves sales or talking to strangers. After all, you still have a little pride!
Try something, just for fun. At the top of a sheet of paper, write down one of your biggest dreams. Don’t hold back – let’s go for the gold. Immediately below that, write down all the reasons you want this. Then, draw a line across the page and begin listing all the things you’re not willing to do to get it. You can leave off the illegal and immoral things – you won’t need them.
If you’re being completely honest, you can describe your dream and all the reasons you want it in the top half of the page. But you’ll probably need several sheets of paper to finish the list of things you won’t do to get it. “I would do anything for (top of the page), but I won’t do that (the rest).” It’s a real eye-opener.
In talking with people about their dreams, I find this to be the case more often than not. The “I won’t do that” list can be pretty long and, after a while, even they begin to realize they’re not even describing personal values or hard limits. It’s just a convenient list of excuses. “I could have had that if I wanted it, but I wasn’t willing to do THAT.”
If your dreams are important enough, you’ll find a way. It’s there – you just have to set aside your inhibitions (and maybe even a little pride) and make it happen. Make excuses or make memories. That’s the bottom line. Take an eraser to your “I won’t do that” list and you’ll open a world of possibilities. From there, all you have to do is pick one and let the magic begin.
That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!
© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved