So, fast-forward to a few weeks ago. He calls me (not long before the baby is born) and is going on and on about how he doesn’t know how he is going to support his son and how his job isn’t paying him enough and how he wishes he had stayed in school ... blah, blah, blah ... nothing I hadn’t heard a million times before. So, he proceeds to tell me that he is going to try to join the military again ... this time the Air Force, but he is afraid they will not accept him because of this Army record. I tell him the best he can do is try and that he needs to figure out what he wants to do with his life. Our conversation goes like that for probably over an hour before I was able to get off the phone.
So, fast-forward again to this week. My brother’s baby was born a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, my nephew was born prematurely and is still in the hospital. My brother is complaining about how hard it is and how he has to drive two hours to go and see the baby (they live in a very rural area of Delaware and the hospital is an a major Delaware city), and how the commute is killing him. He then proceeds to tell me that he thinks he is going to try out for the police academy. I told him I thought it was a great idea (honestly, I thought it sucked, but I wasn’t going to derail him from pursuing something to do with his life). He constantly asks me if I think he should go for it and if I think it’s a good idea and so on and so forth. So, this is what I tell him ...
I tell him that I can’t make that decision for him, that he needs to figure out what he wants to do in life and that only he can find the motivation that he needs to succeed in life. He proceeds to tell me that he is really not that motivated but knows that he needs to do something so that he can take care of his family. I go on to explain to him that there are different things that motivate us and that what motivates one person is not necessarily going to motivate the next. For instance, some people are motivated by success, some by fame, and some just are motivated by their internal feeling of self-worth. Some people are motivated by external forces ... family, money, etc. I told my brother that his son is a strong motivating factor and that he can certainly be motivated to do what he needs to do because of his son. But, I told him that he needs to determine what that motivating factor was and then he needed to act on it.
See, basically, we can all talk about what we want out of life, what we are going to do, what we are going to accomplish, how we are going to accomplish it, and what our dreams look like. But, it is up to us to set these plans in motion. It is often fun to plan, but normally not fun to actually do. Anatole France once said, “To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act.” We are all good at dreaming. In fact, we often do it without even trying. But acting takes work and it is often an uphill battle to be successful. True innovators ... those that are really successful at what they have set out to accomplish, had to fight to get to where they are today. Oscar Wilde once said, “Anything worth doing is worth fighting for.” I explained to my brother that nothing in life worth doing comes easy and that he would need to fight for what he wanted. I don’t know if he took my advice or not. The last I heard, he is still working at Friendly’s and hasn’t even inquired at the police academy, but I have come to learn that it is his life. I can give him all the tools and advice in the world, but only he can take that information and do something with it. I liken it to a drug addict or alcoholic ... you can provide them with the tools (in the way of support groups, rehab, and the like) and you can beg, plead, reason, and persuade until you are blue in the face, but it is only when the addict finds their own motivating factor will they change their ways and come clean.
Only we can determine what those motivating factors are that propel us forward and buoy us to success. We all have something that motivates us. Now go find your own darn motivation!