“The question isn’t who is going to let me, it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand
Invent yourself without knowing why
I am often asked how I am able to do so much. People are astonished to hear that I get up at 4am every day to workout, that I listen to 30-40 audio books in a year on a 3x reading speed, that I meditate 5-6 times a week, and that I literally work 7 days a week on my passion for animal rescue. They want to know how I am able to do all of this.
For whatever reason, when compared to their activities on a daily basis, my daily routine seems to be superior in capacity to get things done. But the truth is that my routine is something that has developed and morphed over the years sometimes without specific purpose or reason. I didn’t always have a desire to do more, but there was always a rhyme to my reason.
Start doing and stop asking how
Take for example my getting up at 4am. I used to go to bed at 10 or 11 and sleep until 6 or 6:30. When I followed this routine I found that I was always making excuses for why I did not have time to exercise; “I’m too tired.” Or “I didn’t sleep well.” Or “I’ll workout tomorrow.” I found that although I wanted to exercise and stay healthy, my will power was overwhelmed by my ability to hit the snooze bar within 3 seconds of my alarm sounding every morning.
One day I rationalized to myself that if I could get up earlier, then I would have plenty of time to work out, eat breakfast, take care of the animals and then head to work. So I set my alarm for 4am and laid out my workout clothing next to the bed for ease of dressing the next morning. I forced myself to just get going and took away the excuses of asking myself how I was going to do this. I just did it and soon it became a routine and something that I started to look forward to. The quiet serenity of the morning and feeling of accomplishment knowing I did my workout has become the energy to keep doing it day after day.
Quit asking for permission
So many areas of our lives are focused on asking others for permission to do things. We wait for others to give us the green light to join something, do something or be something. It’s not “normal” for someone to get up at 4am and work out so why do it? It’s not “normal” for someone to work 7 days a week so why bother? You can’t possibly make a difference so why are you trying?
Our ability to make a difference is tied to what someone else agrees we should or should not do. We are taught to be cautious, to wait to be asked and to stay within the lines of what has been done before. We are taught that it’s not “normal” to try something unconventional or radical because we can’t possibly know the outcome.
Invent the future
Abraham Lincoln once famously said that “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” If you want a future where animals are treated humanely and with compassion, be the one to create it. Throw yourself at the challenge without waiting to make sure you know what the outcome will be.
When you throw yourself at your vision and goals for animals, good things will happen. You may not know how or when or even be able to explain why you are doing it. But you will move the movement forward.