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MOTIVATION 003. Superpower Amnesia
Have you ever daydreamed about having a superpower? Most people do, because it’s something that would make them special.
If you're like most of the people, you want your body to do be as superhero-like as possible — strong, lean, energetic, able. But who has the time? Or the money? or the energy? So the only thing you can do with the gap between you and a superpower is to try to just forget that you’re disappointingly normal.
I love the movie Unbreakable with Bruce Willis. It's about this guy who has super strength, but basically suppresses his strength and forgets it as a teenager because he meets a girl that hates violence, so he lives a normal life so that he can be with her. The movie was marketed as a horror movie that didn’t mention the main character’s powers at all — partially because the director was M. Night Shyamalan, who was known at the time for making The Sixth Sense. Quentin Tarantino says that movie missed a big marketing opportunity. He said, the movie should have been marketed like this: "What if Superman really existed in our world, but he didn't know he was Superman?"
I’m not gonna try to convince you you're Superman. But I do think you have a power that you've told yourself you don't have. And that superpower is self-discipline. But your self-discipline is asleep inside you. Your self-discipline will only wake up when you start doing things that need it. When you start performing feats that require it.
This is all cliche stuff, I know — right? But listen: Scientists and experts are telling you the opposite. Some people will tell you that the more you use your discipline, the less you have. They say that the more willpower you use in the morning, the more tangled your mind will be throughout the day. This ... is a lie.
When you wake up early when you’d rather stay in your warm, cozy bed. When you go to the gym when you’d rather just not. When you pick up the weight when you’d rather just go home. When you put the donut when you’d rather scarf it down. These decisions give you more discipline, not less.
When you work out in the morning, you feel great. When you get that mental win, you have more self-discipline. You have more willpower. Because now your discipline is awake. Your superpower's not asleep anymore. When you made your muscles burn, when you let your stomach grumble, when you tell inner cry-baby "No," you remembered your superpower.
And tomorrow, you'll remember the lesson you learned: Staying in your warm bed, not working out, giving into cravings, these things make you feel less than super. They're like amnesia. If you had a superpower, and you knew that certain habits gave you amnesia about your superpower, wouldn't you do everything to avoid those habits? Discipline is like having telekensis for your own body — you have psychic control over a physical object in the universe.
But laziness makes you forget that power. And you abandon yourself to your own fabricated sense of powerlessness. Acting like you lack discipline puts your discipline to sleep.
That's why you can't wait for discipline to motivate you. You can't wake up your discipline by watching a YouTube video. You can't wake up your discipline by getting inspired. The only way to wake up your superpower is by doing hard things that need it.
When the morning comes, it will be dark. The sun will not be there to get you up. The artificial lights in your house will hurt your eyes. Your house will be too cold. The universe will feel very unwelcoming to you when you want to do the hard thing. Your stomach won't feel good. Working out won't sound good.
Splash some water on your face, drink your coffee, put your clothes on, leave your house, turn on your favorite podcast, it's time to roll.
If you stay in bed, or you skip the gym, or you say, “Ah screw it,” to your diet, you're gonna forget that you have this amazing psychic power lying dormant in your mind, just waiting to be woken up by the right choice — by the right challenge. Or you could live life business as usual— tomorrow morning, you'll be even less likely to to remember what you’ve got inside you. The more you do, the stronger your mind gets. The more you say “No” to yourself, the more your discipline wakes up and gets to work for you.
But you’re on your own for the first 10%. The first 20%. Maybe the first 30%. You’re on your own. You have to build that initial momentum. You can’t rely on your discipline to get you started.
Getting out of bed isn't gonna feel good. You're gonna hate it. You’re gonna feel sore from your last workout and think, “I shouldn’t be here.” But when you're cruising to the gym, or getting warmed up, or putting your clothes in your locker, take that moment and call upon your superpower: “Hey. time to get up. Time to work.” You did it. Super power, engaged. You just left the shire. Time to experience the entire hero's journey over the course of your workout — you’re gonna have mental blocks that need bulldozing, temptations to quit early that need resisting, self-doubts that need rejecting. And you just happen to have the superpower perfectly tailored to break the backs of all of those voices.
When you're done, you'll have put your demons to bed. And you'll be walking out of the gym feeling super, because you remembered a piece of you that you’re so used to forgetting for the sake of comfort. You woke up your superpower that was so convenient to forget. But now he’s awake. And he’s with you for the rest of the day. Because if you just get up and work out, you can have super willpower for your entire 24-hours. So get up, let's go. It’s time to remember what you’ve got.