I was playing basketball at the outdoor courts in New York City last weekend.
It was cold, I was tired and I didn't want to keep playing. It had been a long week, and I just wanted to go back into the warmth of my apartment.
But, I told myself I would shoot and exercise, so I did.
Before I left the courts, a thought crossed my mind from years earlier. It was a quote from a friend’s away message on AOL Instant Messenger back in 2002.
It said, “If you aren’t training or preparing, know that someone else is.”
It was a simple, clichéd quote, but at the moment, it was powerful to me. I thought about it and realized I was being lazy by leaving the court early.
I stayed at those courts for another half hour because that 13-year-old quote popped into my head.
The point is, inspiration isn’t only reserved for Tony Robbins or any other motivational speaker. You don’t have to write a book about motivation or use #RiseAndGrind every morning.
You don’t have to be one of those intensive personal trainers who yell at people to do more reps. All you have to do is be yourself.
The most powerful motivations I know of aren’t the quotes, YouTube videos or articles guaranteeing “10 Steps to Success.”
My strongest influence is my friend who wakes up every morning and doesn’t want to go to work, but he does it anyway because he has goals for his life.
If I come in and complain about having to work, he’ll tell me to stop whining and get my sh*t together. That is, to me, infinitely more powerful than a generic quote about working hard.
M. Scott Peck began his bestselling book,"The Road Less Traveled," with the lines:
“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult — once we truly understand and accept it — then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”
Those are some powerful words because I believe too often, we want to take the easy way out.
We want to create the next Facebook, win the lottery or make the NBA, and then relax for the rest of our lives. Everyone should have a goal, but the journey is what makes the goal worthwhile.
Child actors who make millions of dollars before they hit 18 years old end up on drugs or in rehab 10 years later for one main reason: They have no goal or dream to live for.
They accomplished everything they wanted in life at an early age and couldn’t pivot toward a new goal. They got comfortable, took life easy and didn’t continue to push themselves.
An everlasting truth is that life is about growth. Something dies when it no longer is growing.
If we don’t push ourselves every single day to better our relationships, intellect, physical health, wealth and emotions, then we’re as good as dead. Being better than we were yesterday in one of these areas is important for our development.
You don’t know you're inspirational because you don’t know who is watching your progress. Maybe you won’t reach millions of people with your life. Maybe you’ll only reach one.
Maybe you’ll reach 10. If you can set an example for those 10 people, they may not tell you you’re inspiring them, but it doesn’t change the fact that you’re inspirational.
When I remembered that AOL away message at the basketball court, I didn’t call up my friend and tell him that his Instant Messenger quote from 2002 was epic.
I just remembered it, and it gave me the motivation to work out for another 30 minutes. Did I completely transform my life with that extra 30 minutes? Not at all, but I trust that the little extra I do will eventually add up over time.
You may not know whom you’re inspiring with your small, daily actions, but trust that everything you do may be an inspiration to someone, even if it doesn't come to fruition for 10 years.