Motivation can come from a lot of different places, some internal and some external. I hear people debate over which is really the most powerful, but I tend to find the debate odd in that I think it’s impossible to separate the two. I think they effect each other in many ways.
My motivation right now is pretty powerful and it’s really not one that is a typical driving force for me to do good things… but it is at the moment. What, pray tell, could this mysterious catalyst be?
Fear. Pure and straight-up. Not on the rocks. No chaser. Straight out the bottle and into my gut fear.
This isn’t some kind of fear borne of what I would call real world worry – losing a job, a loved one, serious medical issues, etc. Nonetheless, it is a fear for me as sure as can be.
The fear in question? The logo above will say it all. I’m signed up to compete in the May 6, 2012 Tough Mudder race at Mt. Snow in Vermont. Why? Because despite my many years of education and belief that I am a productive, semi-respectable and contributing member of society, I am also a complete idiot. Obviously. Why else would anyone opt to do a race of a shade over 10 miles with 30 increasingly bizarre obstacles… especially when the farthest I’ve ever run was 5 miles for the last obstacle course race I did.
Now, the obstacles themselves actually don’t really worry me in the slightest. Hell, they actually look kind of fun. The thing that concerns is… well… IT’S 10 MILES FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!
Anyone who follows my adventures on this blog can see I’m a weightlifter. We Kuzia’s are built a bit more for strength or explosive moments of fury over short distances… not quite so much for slogging along over reaaaaalllllly loooonnnnnng stretches. I’m 5’7” and 192 lbs of twisted steel and sex appeal. That’s not really Boston Marathon winning proportions, ya know?
But I’m signed up, on a team and committed. And I know how hard it was for me to do the 5 mile race (which I can see I was WOEFULLY prepared for from an endurance standpoint). That knowledge has begotten fear… a fear of what I will feel like at mile 5 when I am only halfway done and with 15 obstacles and 5 more miles to go. A fear of feeling like I just want to drop to my knees, roll to the side of the course and just lay there, staring at the sky for… ohh… several hours.
And all of that, my friends, drives me and drives me hard. My conditioning sessions are not skipped these days. They are never shortened. While I am not perfect with my eating (I believe in the rule of 90% on that kind of thing), I am eating better than I have in a while. The countdown clock on my desktop which is ticking away the time I have left until this event (112 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes and 22 seconds as of this moment) is my reminder that the amount of time I have to work with is very finite. Not being prepared is just not an option.
The fear is a simple one: I don’t want to let my teammates down and I don’t want to let myself down… especially when I have the time and ability to be completely prepared.
I wouldn’t ever recommend fear as a primary motivator for much of anything. It can easily cloud your otherwise clear vision cause you to make some utterly horrible decisions. But on something like this? With a clear path and a clear end goal? Fear can cut away all clutter… all extraneous nonsense… and be a completely beautiful thing.
Quick side note: The Tough Mudder races do some excellent work raising money for a great cause – The Wounded Warrior Project. If you are interested in helping me with my fundraising, please click HERE to donate. I can think of few things better than giving back to the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for us to enjoy our freedoms.