Steve Chandler

Novelist James Agee wrote, "I believe that every human being is potentially capable, within his 'limits,' of fully 'realizing' his potentialities; that this, his being cheated and choked of it, is infinitely the ghastliest, commonest, and most inclusive of all the crimes of which the human world can accuse itself...."

A book called Biomarkers rounded up all the evidence that strength-training in people aged 84-96 increases their strength 50 percent in 3 months and their health radically.

For me motivation is a really exciting subject and especially because in my life I had spent so many years absolutely not motivated. 

In fact, even in childhood I really sort of took the opposite approach.  When everyone else around me seemed motivated and able to get things done and up and running and finishing their tasks, I was the opposite.  And after a while, I concluded about myself that I was missing something that other people had.  Some kind of inner drive. I thought they had some kind of sense of purpose about life that I just didn't get.  So, therefore, I would either have to fake it in order to survive-in order to be accepted in society and civilization, or just find some way out.

Well, for me the worst thing that happened, that could have happened-did happen--and that was as I got into my teenage years and then off to college and that period of life, I really took a kind of way out (without really knowing I did) and got deeply involved in alcohol addiction and rampant use of drugs and really I'm very lucky to be alive.  There was a time in my life when friends,  family,  and even medical experts were saying there would be no way I would live past the age of 35;  and so I've gone well past that now and I was very fortunate to be able to recover from that addiction.

Addiction was an artificial form of all the things I thought I was lacking.  They call alcohol "false courage" because it is. When I thought I was lacking courage, I would have a few drinks and I could do things I couldn't do when I wasn't drinking; and then in college we were passing around amphetamines to get ready for our exams and things like that, so I got involved in that, and it was a false form of motivation.

Later in the Army you had to stand guard late at night and so the Army doctors would give you Ritalin to stay awake and then later I was in language school in the military and doctors would regularly give Ritalin because the study load was so heavy that we would study late into the night when we were studying our languages. 

These artificial forms of motivation, courage and purpose (or whatever that is) are really destructive and damaging and actually take you (as everybody who has had any involvement in them will tell you) will take you in the opposite direction. Cause once you feel a little bit of a lift or a surge, you then pay for it five or six times over with detox, hangovers-just the worst nightmarish stuff you could ever have to go through.  It's just really horrific.  There's no real payoff to any of that. 

So I was fortunate to recover from all that and go through a program of recovery that started everything all over again.  It allowed me to go back over my life and eliminate the guilt, eliminate the shame, take away all the things that I had made up about myself.  That whole belief system about myself that was so negative. Now I could just start all over.

Then I met a person who became my coach who has been coaching me for 15 years who really showed me the way and that's Steve Hardison (www.theultimatecoach.net) and I'm really grateful to him. He showed me that this little thing that everybody has called "creativity"------the ability to CREATE-----was really, actually the biggest thing we've got.

It's so funny because children.....when they are born and come into life.... really tap into this thing called creation and the ability to create and they do it so joyfully, and they love it, and they spend the whole day looking for ways to make up games and make up plays and play things out. You can turn children loose anywhere.  They can play in a poor part of town among the rubbish and in an abandoned lot.  I remember when we were kids we loved the abandoned lot or a house that was under construction.  We would go play there.  And just use everything around us and turn it into something fun.

What happens with adults is that capacity-that creative muscle or creative light or spirit inside of us-starts to get dim and we start to put it away and start to operate not off of creativity but off of fear.  Now I'm afraid I won't get a job. I'm afraid my spouse won't approve of me, and I'm afraid of my employer, and I'm afraid I won't raise my kids right. 

So this creative surge and drive that we had when we were kids, gets replaced with fear-------not for every single person, but for most people I've ever met; and then it becomes rather tragic. 

People send me emails and say "Boy, I don't know how to motivate myself."  Well, if you were a child you would, but we lose it.  We lose that whole thing.  So the exciting thing for me is that it can come back even stronger than it was in childhood.  It doesn't have to be a mystery either.  It doesn't have to be something where "I don't know how to do it…I'm all confused about it….I need help with it…"  It can be something that I can access any time, any moment, and I know I can. 

Well, when I really got this-when I could really see it-I took it out and I field tested and experimented with it and it really did prove to be true.  That we ourselves are responsible for our own energy levels and our own excitement and our own enthusiasm and we can create it. 

It doesn't come from outside of ourselves, and that's the real big mystery. That's the real big switch that gets thrown. That's the massive turnaround that happens in a person's life, when they finally see how the biological computer (the brain) really works, and it really works from the inside out-not from the outside in. 

Yet, everybody's confused about it and I get e-mails like "I want to find something that inspires me.  I want to find something that excites me.  I want to find something outside of me that calls to me."  And so they are still confused about where it comes from.

Well, once I started to really see this, I wrote a book called 100 ways to Motivate Yourself, which I wrote after really practicing all these ways and meeting people who had ways to (in adulthood) get fired up again-- turn the energy switch on any time they liked and really get enthusiastic and not find their purpose, but create their purpose.  Develop it.  Create it.  Design it.  Make it up and use it for as long as it's fun and then create an even better one when the one you're using isn't as much fun as it used to be.  So this was something that became an obsession with me. 

I mean, in my mind everybody's got this wrong! 

Everybody's looking outside of themselves for something that's in there;  and it's like watching somebody in your household just walking around saying "anyone seen my glasses?  I can't leave the house until I find my glasses" and you see the glasses are on top of their head.  And you are laughing and chuckling and they still walk around "I have to find my glasses.  I don't know where I put them."  Well, the same is true with calling, purpose, all these things that people think are outside of themselves. They are on the inside and I can turn them on myself.

That's why I started Club Fearless.

Steve Chandler, author of Reinventing Yourself
Copyright 2010, author retains ownership. All Rights Reserved.

Category: Work-Life, Balance
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