Most days, I feel pretty productive. I wake up and get to work on things that are important to me.
But some days are a struggle. Sometimes I’ll wake up late. Then I lounge about, take a long breakfast, and maybe watch the latest episode (or three) of The Daily Show.
By the end of the day, I haven’t done much. At least, not much of substance.
The universal truth about time is that we all manage to keep busy for 24 hours every day. The only thing that separates us is what we keep ourselves busy with.
It doesn’t bother me if I have an occasional off-day—I can’t be perfect—but I notice that if I let it go too many days in a row, it starts to get easier and easier to make “off” the new normal. Then, I have to fight hard to get the drive back; it isn’t easy anymore.
As my friend, Kevin, would say, “You forgot to exercise your get-up-and-go muscle.”
When you push yourself to work on an important challenge, you’re flexing your get-up-and-go muscle. You’re proving to yourself that you have what it takes to carry out something great.
When you do it on a regular basis, you prove that you have the stamina to keep working until the job is done. This is when things start to feel easy. Doing challenging work becomes normal.
When I ran my first marathon, the training schedule was torture. I’d never run more than 10 miles before. But an internal drive to finish kept me going. Now, running 26 miles is just another Sunday morning for me.
Behind your own get-up-and-go muscle is an intense desire. It’s a drive to achieve some sort of vision you see for yourself.
When I’m finding it hard to flex my get-up-and-go muscle, it’s usually because the vision in my head has gotten cloudy, and I can’t see exactly what it is I want anymore. This usually happens for two reasons:
- I let the muscle atrophy by ignoring it. As it withers, so does the vision that fuels it.
- I let other people’s ambitions work their way into my own. Trying to live someone else’s dream is the quickest way to kill my own internal drive.
I think most people who have a strong vision for their lives will tell you it’s almost impossible to be happy unless you’re doing something to help bring that vision to life.
You can ignore it for a while, but the internal nagging to give it the attention it deserves will never truly go away.
If you have a vision for your own life, then you’re probably not going to be satisfied until you do something to pursue it.
And the pursuit of a vision is a long and tiring one… unless you’ve trained your get-up-and-go muscle.
So, a challenge for you: What will you do today to flex your own get-up-and-go muscle? How will you turn one small piece of that vision in your head into reality?
If you feel inclined, share your answer in the comments.
Image by: frankh