This is day two in my challenge I’m doing with my readers to overcome procrastination. The theme of this challenge so far is two-minute or less exercises to reduce how big you’re building up this thing you’re putting off in your head and to build some momentum and habits.
Our goal is to do an activity five days in a row, no matter how small each time investment is. I chose writing articles, but you can choose whatever you want to build that willpower muscle.
I’m going to once again use a tactic I mentioned in my last article (day one), which is to quote/copy some useful info you found online that others haven’t heard of yet to support your points and so you don’t have to write as much.
Today, I’m quoting from Arnold Schwarzenegger, a legend. He has been successful as a governor, world champion body builder, real estate millionaire, and world’s highest paid actor. As an immigrant starting with nothing from another country, Austria, he is a unicorn, there’s no one really like him that embodies the American dream. It was a pleasure reading his biography. It was so inspirational. And hence, I want to quote a couple responses he gave a couple discouraged people on Reddit a few years ago who were struggling to get started or stay consistent with exercise and fitness. It shows the power of empathy, compassion, self-love, and encouragement.
The first comes from a Reddit post of a young man who just started working out who is struggling with confidence, other people making fun of him, and lack of knowledge/skill in the gym. I’ll link to the post here for the full details. The point is he is insecure at the gym alone and he messed up a couple times and got a few laughs.
Here is Arnold’s response:
I always say don’t be afraid of failure, because how far can you really fall? You found out – to the ground. It’s right there. Now you know it isn’t anything that should scare you.
You should be proud that you weren’t afraid – not embarrassed that you failed. You could have made excuses not to walk into the door, but you didn’t. You knew it would be hard, and it would be uncomfortable, and it might be awkward – and you did it anyway. That’s courage.
I’m proud of you.
The last guy I rooted for broke a world record in the deadlift. You have more in common with him than you think.
First, he started out lifting just the bar, too (when you look at him, he may have been 3 months old at that point). Second, imagine his courage. He walked up to that bar in front of a big audience and television cameras, knowing that not only had he never lifted that much before – NO ONE on earth had – and it was highly likely he would completely fail. You may not think about it this way, but you showed that courage, on a smaller level.
Finally, I’m rooting for you, too. You took the first step and you fell, but at least you fell in the right direction, so get back up and take the next step. Keep moving forward.”
Arnold brings out the point about how far can you really fall? Chances are not far. This kid had a couple strangers laugh at him. So what? They’re probably never going to see him again. It’s not like they really care that much. As I got older and saw more life experience and did more uncomfortable things, I found that the people who laugh really don’t care that much about you. They forget you existed in a couple minutes sometimes. It’s not that big a deal to them, just a quick laugh of a stranger, less than the entertainment they get from social media. You’re not that important to them, and it won’t lead to anything. They’re not going to bully you forever or ruin your reputation.
I bring this story up because one of many big reasons that hold people back is something psychological. They procrastinate because they’re scared of rejection, embarrassment, humiliation, or some negative effect to their reputation. Some emotional blocker that cuts deeper. A newbie may sometimes assume that if they were to write an article like this, it would be scary because their friends would find out and make fun of them or it would be like broadcasting it to everyone they know who will examine it deeply. In reality, very few people will even have the time to read it or care to read it. You’re not that important yet, and that’s a good thing. So how far can you really fall?
Frankly, I’ve had those moments of fear walking into a gym for similar reasons, though not as extreme of insecurity. I was a scrawny, skinny 150 pound Asian American kid with a lot of classmates who were a lot more jacked. That said, no one has ever made fun of me or been anything but encouraging to me in my hundreds of hours in various gyms. I may get a few stares if people are much bigger than me. But once you get to know them, a lot of the big jocky looking meat heads are actually friendly, approachable, or even smart. Don’t just a book by its cover!
Here’s one more Arnold response to another Reddit post.
As you can see, rather than bark orders and tell the man to hustle, which is something other influencers like David Goggins might, Arnold tells him not to be hard on himself. It’s important to show compassion and self love and acknowledge the challenges and struggles we go through.
You never know how tough someone else’s life is. It may not be as easy for them to accomplish the same things because of a variety of life circumstances that affect their psychology and cognitive function. Bad parents. Trauma. Physiological depression. Who knows.
I love Arnold’s point that the key is to just move a little. Do a little bit, even if it’s just some push ups or a walk. One tiny step a a time. Beating yourself up in the head isn’t going to help.
This is getting me excited to do another five-day challenge on another topic other than writing articles to demonstrate how we’re all in this together, how I struggle like everyone else, and how I get through it. For example, whether it’s making money and having a career so I’m not a slob, going to exercise, working on my nutrition, or putting out content to try to grow my digital brand, it all starts with crawling. One crawl forward at a time. I remember when I struggled to find work for a long time after graduating. That was a low point since no career meant no income, no success, no confidence, no money to spend, no time to dedicate to the gym or anything else (at least that’s what I thought at the time in my head for a while). When you’re in that gutter, you just crawl. Do one little thing that you can to move yourself forward. And then another. A couple push ups. Then maybe a push up and a walk the next week. And so on. Job applications. Then invest in a course. Try a different strategy to network and find a job. Keep trying techniques. But never just do nothing at all. Give yourself break and rest when needed. Then get back on it!
See you in day 3.
Be sure to leave a comment on what you did in day 2 to start to build a habit and how it went.
P.S. another pro tip is to use any bursts of energy or motivation you have. I had a boost yesterday, so I wrote some of this article yesterday so I could have a head start today.