Coach's Thoughts - Just Keep Swinging Your Axe

Feb 07, 2024

When working towards a goal, I like to think of it like cutting down a tree.  It takes a lot of effort to start to pick up the axe and take that first swing.  I do not know how many swings it’ll take for the tree to fall, nor if my swings are effective.  The more I swing, the better I get at swinging and the more effective my strikes.  The more I swing the stronger I get and the more effective my strikes.  Through rain, sun, snow and wind, I swing.  Until, one day, one swing the tree falls. 

Motivation is something that people really miss the boat on.  Words like discipline get thrown around because it’s attached to so many cute social media memes, but motivation is a real thing with very powerful benefits to it - but motivation the sense most people mean it, external motivation is fleeting.  That is, motivation for a result, or motivation provided by our environment or social connections is not something to be maintained long term. 

Discipline on the other hand is considered to be a constant, yet it is rooted in motivation - internal motivation.  Motivation that comes from an innate desire to better oneself.  A motivation that comes from the process of working towards a result.  

Internal motivation can be a proxy for happiness - as I define it, happiness comes from the confidence that the actions you’re taking are meaningfully moving you towards a desired goal.

When we start a thing, we stand to benefit most from external motivation because we do not have any evidence that the steps we’re looking to undertake are in fact goal directed.  But, it’s during this time when no one will be cheering for you.

When we’ve built momentum, and have the evidence for that internal motivation to build, that’s when people will start to recognize your efforts and cheer for you.  That can be extremely powerful in moving you to the next step, especially when things are hard.  That next step is achieving the goal you set.  

But, when we get that point, further than most will ever get, no one cheers.  No one cheers because your success is a reminder that they themselves cannot get to where you are and they will want to tear you down.  This is why external motivation is fleeting - it’s outside your control.

It is only through the desire to achieve a higher level of self - internal motivation - that we can start and build something.  This routine builds discipline, which is simply the ability to focus on the mundane, but meaningful actions that are leading you towards your goal.  This is happiness.

Therefore, happiness is not a destination, it is a process.  

I am not happy because I cut down the tree, I am happy because I swung my axe.



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