“I came to NY because I write broadway plays,” the Taxi driver told me. “I wrote a play about kids in the ghetto, trying to survive.”
We were going just a few blocks. I was lazy and didn’t feel like walking. Which isn’t like me but it was super hot and clammy. I responded with enthusiasm “what broadway plays have you written?” He said with a smile that was bigger then Donald Trumps ego “I have 10 on my shelf that some day are going to be on broadway.” I thought this was pretty cool because I was in NY in hopes of getting Acting representation. I said to the driver
“I have a meeting at Innovative, do you know who they are?” he looked in the mirror at me. And said “Yes! Yes I do. Could you get me a meeting?” I laughed and felt like a mini super star even though I knew I was no where near a big shot. I said “Ill tell you what. You keep writing and even when writing isn’t paying the bills. You keep on writing. Even when you’re happy, sad, broke, and you have no income coming in from writing. Please promise me you’ll keep on writing.” I don’t know what came out of me but when I was saying those words I felt like the stars aligned and I was giving that man some value. He looked at me and said “I love writing and I hate writing. But it’s like my wife. I’m married to it. It will take a lot of energy and too much time spending with lawyers to break us up.” This made me laugh pretty hard. I asked him one thing while I was getting out “what’s one message you want your plays to say?” He said “Just do something. It doesn’t matter if it makes you mad at times. Everything makes you mad at times. All that matter is you do something that you believe in.” I found this to be a very sound answer.
It’s been five years and I have always looked for “Seymour Greys” plays. I haven’t seen them but I have a hunch that he’s still writing.
I’ve spent a lot of time alone and therefore I’ve been working with self growth advice for a large percentage of my life. I’ve come across a lot of concepts and ideas as well as invented quite a few of my own. But the following is one of the most important ideas I’ve stumbled across in my life. With the help of Seymour Grey.
“Action isn’t just the effect of motivation, but also the cause of it.”– some super smart man with curly white hair.
Most people only commit to action if they feel a certain level of motivation. And they only feel motivation when they feel an emotional inspiration.
People only become motivated to study for the exam when they’re afraid of the consequences. People only pick up a language when they feel inspired by a potential traveling opportunity.
And we’ve all slacked off for lack of motivation before. Especially in times where we shouldn’t. We feel lethargic and apathetic towards a certain goal that we’ve set for ourselves because we lack the inspiration and the motivation because we don’t feel any overarching emotional desire to accomplish something.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy
Not so fast. See there’s a problem with operating under this system: often the changes and actions we most need in our lives are inspired by negative emotions (fear, pain, anger) which simultaneously hinder us from taking action.
If someone wants to fix their relationship with their mother, the emotions of the situation (hurt, resentment, avoidance) completely go against the necessary action to fix it (confrontation, honesty, communication). Let’s say- someone wants to lose weight, but experiences massive amounts of shame about their body, then the act of going to the gym unmotivated them because they see people that are already in shape. They think to themselves “well, I’m just gonna go home now because I feel even bigger.” (Comparison trap)
Past traumas, negative expectations, and feelings of guilt, shame and fear often motivate us away from the actions necessary to overcome those very traumas, negative expectations, and negative emotions.
What do we do?
Watch a bunch of Motivation Joe Rogan videos.
Not so much….
Raw truth on how motivation operates.
It’s a Catch-22. But the thing about the motivation chain is that it’s not only a three-part chain, but an endless loop:
Your actions create further emotional reactions and inspirations and move on to motivate your future actions. Taking advantage of this knowledge, we can actually re-orient our mindset in the following way:
What it comes down to is that if you lack the motivation to make an important change in your life, then do something, anything really, and then harness the reaction to that action as a way to begin motivating yourself.
Like Seymour said “Do Something”.
I put the idea to the test when I signed up for Northern Illinois Acting program. I was on the fence about going because I honestly was not entirely sure if I was “meant” to be an actor. But I learned a hell a lot about myself. For one- actions are the little tasks to “how” we get what we want. If you don’t take action and just “do something.” As humans we always WANT something. You’re reading this because you WANT to fill some void in your life that you believe you have. Well as an actor playing a character we want love, value, money and for that character to get after that shizznit he/ she has to take action.
Alright, you’re overwhelmed, feeling unmotivated. Maybe you’ve heard it all before. Let’s do this! Except for this part…
HOW TO GET MOTIVATED FOR JUST ABOUT ANYTHING
“Do Something” Principle. For me is running this website and my business ventures online. I work for myself. I don’t have a boss telling me what to do and what not to do. I also often have to take major calculated risks in which I’m personally invested, both financially and emotionally (spending months writing, re-branding my entire website, podcasting, etc.). It’s been as lonely as the one single leaf on a tree in the season of fall, nerve-wracking at times, and major feelings of doubt and uncertainty arise. And when no one is around to push you, working out and than listening to podcasts all day can quickly become a more appealing option.
Sometimes weeks will go by without accomplishing much for no other reason than I get anxiety and stressed about what I have to do, and it’s easy to put it off. I quickly learned that forcing myself to do something, even the smallest of tasks, quickly made the larger tasks seem much easier. If I had to edit 15 blogs (which I have to do) or re-design an entire website, then I’d force myself to just try it for five minutes and say, “OK, I’ll just design the header right now.” But after the header was done, I’d find myself moving on to other parts of it. And before I knew it, I’d be energized and engaged in the project.
Master you’re momentum mojo
I also use this on the reg in my own life. If I’m about to tackle a large project that I’m anxious about, or if I’m in a new country and I need to give myself a little push to get out and meet people, I apply the Do Something Principle. I just decide, “OK, I’ll start on the outline,” or “OK, I’ll just go out and talk to “one stranger” and see what’s going on.” The mere action of doing this almost always surprises me.
Inevitably, the appropriate action occurs at some point or another. Even if I do it wrong at first. Happiness works this way too. If you do know what makes you happy. Invest your focus on anything. The motivation is natural. The inspiration is genuine. It’s overall far more pleasant way of accomplishing goals and becoming happier then before. It simply beats feeling like you’re a nobody and you’re lazy. At least you’re trying.
I think Acting is a great way to study yourself and how you actually get things. My Aunt told me “If you don’t know how to do a problem, start writing something down, your brain will begin to figure it out as you go.” And sure enough, to this day, this seems to be true. The mere action itself inspires new thoughts and ideas which lead us to solving the problems in our lives. But that new insight never comes if we simply sit around contemplating it. My Aunt knows a ton.
The more time goes on, the more I realize that success in anything is tied less to knowledge or talent, and tied more to action supplemented by knowledge and talent. You can become successful at something without knowing what you’re doing. You can become successful at something without having much particular talent at it. But you can never become successful at anything without taking action. Ever. If you think about doing something all day. All you’re doing is killing yourself slowly.
Be Seymour “Do something.” You’re always more ready then you think.
Comment below and let know what you’re thinking about doing. And how the “Do something principle” worked for you.