What to listen to that provides motivation.
If I quit now....
âWhen I was 14 years old, I started a two week long Outward Bound style backcountry trail building/ hiking orientation/ initiation with the out-of-state boarding school my grandmother had arraigned for me to attend. It was really hard, and I quit halfway through the two week orientation. When the school made me call my mom, she, as I remember it, told me, âYou never finish anything!â I do clearly remember, to this day, being so angry at her that I vowed to finish high school, just to prove her wrong.
To this day I deeply regret not having finished the Wilderness Orientation. Everyone else in the small (100 students, 3 grades) school had and every one of them talked of the positive ways it had affected them.
But I never regretted not quitting that school! Before I arrived there for 10th grade, the last year of academics I'd completed was 5th grade. I didnât know how to take notes, write a paper, had no preparation for algebra or geometry, ever. That I made it through my sophomore year was partly through the good grace and consistent nurturing of many, many faculty, plus my determination to prove my mother wrong.
It also was the first time I understood not quitting made my life better- even at 17 years old.
So what did I do, a grateful high school graduate that summer in Seattle? I got a job that I was okay at, with and employer who was decent, worked a few weeks, decided to quit when I got bored. I didnâtâ bother to even give notice. My mom, noticing I was home during work hours, gave me a different message that day. âIâm afraid you are going to end up like me, unable to stick it out and without future prospects.â
As with my commitment to prove my mother wrong the first time, my commitment to not end up like her has been a highly effective motivator for me ever since. Somehow, I intuitively understood that nature or nurture, I was predisposed to struggle with the same issues she did, but it was not necessarily my fate.
Ever since, I gravitate toward messages that reinforce my decisions not quit. There is a lot of positive reinforcement and almost too many resources out there, but again, they have to be chosen and turned to, utilized, to work.
All of this is to share with you that I still, today, frequently, out loud, tell myself, tell John, tell my trainer, âI donât want to quit.â Trying to keep Aspiration Community Yoga on hiatus is more of a struggle than Iâd imagined, and so far, emotionally unfulfilling. Last month, hiking and snowshoeing up to Lost Lake was more of a struggle than Iâd imagined. Less than a mile from our aim, I repeated to John, âI donât want to quitâ, even while bitterly complaining about foot pain and the zig-zag effort of a visible trail being lost beneath snow. 4 months of weekly training for lateral core strength, I still am unable to successfully complete 3 rounds of 10 repetitions of a Single Leg RDL + Reach and Row. This is incredibly frustrating, as 18 months ago, I had no problem with these! âI donât want to quitâ, I tell my trainer, after losing it, stopping to reset and losing it again.
âWhy? Why not say, itâs just too hard every time I am on my edge? Because every time I stay in that margin, I expand the capacity it holds, just that little bit more. âOne percent betterâ, as DeOntÃ© Durden-Jackson cheers me on.
Progressive Overload: Building Real Strength Is More Than Just Lifting Heavier -
If I quit now it would be presuming all the life struggle endemic to my family- the pain, physical and emotional- that initially drove me wonât return. If I quit now, I would be feeding myself an illusion that I can see into my future. If I quit now, it is an abandonment of my unknown potential.