May Motivation: Where are you stuck?

People say that you don’t need motivation, you need discipline. I agree with this sentiment one hundred percent. At the same time, sometimes we get stuck, or feel down, and what we need is a little inspiration to lift us up so that we can recommit to being disciplined.


So if you’re in need of a little inspiration, here’s an anecdote from this past week that really helped me out. Whether you’re writing a book, running a marathon, or just trying to improve yourself, hopefully you’ll find this helpful.

My preferred form of exercise is indoor rock climbing, and the road back to my pre-pregnancy (and modest) level of fitness has been frustratingly slow. I’m still not there, and I feel stuck at the gym.

Most of what I do is bouldering. Bouldering involves climbing tough “problems” on short walls (10-15 feet) with no rope. Because the problems are short, it’s easy to climb them over and over, focusing on the moves that are giving you trouble until you put it all together and make it to the top.

I’m an okay climber. My gym has climbs rated from V0 (easy) to V10 (hard). I’m about a low intermediate, able to climb V3s and V4s.

Except almost all of the V3s and V4s in the gym right now are hard. Harder than I think they should be. I proceeded to complain about this to one of my friends at the gym, and he immediately started suggesting problems to me that he thought I could do. He walked me through one problem, a V3+, I had tried a few times weeks ago and abandoned as “too hard.”

“Where are you stuck?” he asked.
I hopped on the wall and showed him. It was about two moves in (that is, not very far). He showed me what to do.
“I don’t think I can do that. I fall every time I try.”
Still, I got back on the wall, and after a few more tries, I could do the move.
We progressed like this for a few more moves, him providing advice and encouragement, me doubting and trying to make progress.
And you know what? I made so much progress on that problem that I know that I can top it now.

If I quit complaining and making excuses.
If I keep trying the next move, even when I’ve failed the past ten times.
If I remember that it’s my bad attitude, not my bad climbing, that’s getting in the way.


Sometimes you just need someone to help you get out of your own negative head space so you can work to your potential. Ask yourself, “Where am I stuck?” and throw different solutions at your problem until something works. It might not be easy to do, but it’s surprisingly simple. At the end of the day, I realized that I was more capable than I was giving myself credit for, and I needed to stop being lazy and whiny, and commit to the hard, repetitive failure that would eventually bring me success, or at the very least, improvement.

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