As I embark on my new career as a motivational speaker, I have decided to unleash a preview motivational speech upon the planet free of charge. I am going to motivate the metaphorical pants off of you, and all I ask is that you keep all non-metaphorical pants firmly cinched and that you consider hiring me for your next corporate function or just your next personal bout of soul-crushing lethargy. I will also make house calls for overwhelming malaise, paralyzing self-doubt, debilitating inertia, and hemorrhoids.
Now, I know what you're thinking. Why should I listen to a motivational speaker who started writing this blog post 6 weeks ago and then gave up? That's an excellent and clairvoyant question! Because the greatest generals will tell you that sometimes the best strategy comes from those in the trenches. And I’ve dug a trench in those trenches.
Now, I am going to start out my first motivational speech with a tried and true platitude. Ahem.
YOU CAN DO IT!
Let me clarify that I mean that only as a statement of fact. The word “can” denotes that it is a possibility, which it is. However, statistically speaking you are much more likely to pass out alone in your apartment only to be discovered by your disinterested cats than to accomplish whatever far-flung dream you’ve assigned as “it”. For every astronaut that has walked on the moon there are 10,000,000 average joes who have ordered a pizza in their underwear, but then fallen asleep on their living room floor before it was delivered. So, let’s focus on things you can definitely accomplish.
Getting out of bed. You can do that! Showering. You’re a natural! Becoming an astronaut. Not in a million years!
I want to be clear. You’re a pretty okay person with several positive things to share with other humans. You are an adequate tipper at restaurants. You obey traffic laws when other people are watching. Except for a couple of goldfish, you’ve kept pets alive for their average lifespans. But, unlike urethane-coated synthetic polymers, you just aren't astronaut material. That doesn’t mean you’ll never be successful, though.
There are three ways for you to achieve success in life – 1)Become a completely different person, 2)Redefine your personal meaning of success so that any mouth-breathing toddler can be successful, or 3)Some combination of the previous two. The trick is finding the right equilibrium, and that’s what I’m here to help you find.
To begin your journey of self-transformation you've got to have some self-esteem. Let’s try an exercise I either read in a psychology textbook or dreamed I read in a psychology textbook once. First, prepare a bowl of mashed potatoes. As has been previously discussed, I'm not exactly a chef, but I'm pretty sure you just get a bag of potatoes and beat them with a hammer until your downstairs neighbor threatens to call the police. Next, look intently at those mashed potatoes and shout insults at it. Maybe something like, “YOU ARE LUMPY AND PALE!” or “NOBODY LIKES YOU UNLESS YOU’RE COVERED IN GRAVY!” This is called projection, because deep in your heart you feel these things are true about yourself.
"So, uhh…are we friends now?"
Here comes the therapeutic part. Devour those delicious insults by shoveling the mashed potatoes down your grease-lined gullet. When you are done, look down at your clean plate and reflect on your accomplishment. You ate those insults like a champ! Those negative feelings about yourself can no longer hurt you, unless you have tender bowels unequipped for starch.
Now that you have a more positive self-image, it's time to slightly adjust who you are by broadening the limits of your comfort zone. Travel more. Face your fears. Try new things.
If you're afraid of large bodies of water, rent a deep-sea fishing boat and use yourself as chum. If you've never lived abroad, commit a federal crime that will require you to flee to a country without an extradition treaty. If you've never fallen in love, rent the movie "You've Got Mail" and experience a whirlwind of emotions vicariously through its likable and relatable protagonists. But, if you’ve never been to the moon, do not search Craigslist for a spacesuit.
Remember as you stretch yourself in new directions that you will never be able to change into an entirely different person, like Buzz Aldrin or retired naval officer and NASA astronaut Eugene Cernan. But, you can molt your old outer skin and show off your fresh new dermis. Sure, you'll be pink and sensitive and will horrify children at the grocery store for a while, but before long that 'new you' will just become 'you'. There's no going back now. You're ready for the final step in your motivation transformation - redefining success.
Why did you want to become an astronaut in the first place? Was it fame? Any goober with a YouTube account can become famous. Was it to explore uncharted territory? You don't even know what's between your own couch cushions. Was it to earn the respect of your peers and gain self-worth in a lifelong struggle for happiness?
The ultimate success is happiness, and there is no defined course to obtain it. You don’t have to settle, but you do have to be realistic. You are perfectly capable of being a good person, finding friends who enjoy your company, being a devoted family member, and reaching goals you set for yourself to become a better person and contribute more to society. You are capable of being happy.
You just aren’t capable of being an astronaut.
Motivation complete! You are now ready to tackle the world with your magnificent mediocrity! Remember, nothing can stop you from achieving pretty good things. And if you ever lose sight of what will really make you happy and successful, give me a call. I’ll be there to bring you back down to Earth.