I’ve been going through the new David Goggins book Can’t Hurt me and have been working on personal growth, but want to apply one concept to weightlifting. He talks about Drive vs. Motivation a lot throughout the book. Motivation WILL come and go, but being driven is something that does not fade.
Weightlifting is incredibly hard. Your mind and body take a beating throughout your training career. There are only two lifts, but most people never master either of them. Every time you think you’ve figured out the snatch or clean & jerk, something pops up that you need to fix, or another kilo is added to the bar and things feel off again. The sport is so challenging because the better you get at it, the HEAVIER the weight gets.
Everyone has experienced a lack of motivation to train, whether it be just for a day or an extended period of time. Goggins uses the example of going out for a run when it’s freezing cold to emphasize this point. When motivation hits, you get up, throw your shoes on, and open the door to start. When that wind chill hits your face and your body tenses up, your motivation can flee in that moment, and you end up back on the couch. A driven person would open that door, feel the air and run back inside to put another layer on before attacking the run. Motivation is fleeting, but drive has no escape routes.
It is easy to phone things in when you show up to train and your body feels like it’s stuck in mud. The weight feels extra heavy, and no amount of caffeine can get you ready to lift. Weightlifting is full of peaks and valleys and can grind you down. What you need to learn to do is find the drive to come in and be productive NO MATTER WHAT.
Some days you will come in and feel motivated as hell and on those days it is easy to train hard and have a great attitude. Those days are great, but the days that you feel terrible are far more important. Everyone can train when things are great, but it takes a truly driven individual to chalk up, tighten their belt, and pull on heavy weight when you have no desire to. Being driven means you apply the words of legendary motivational speaker Les Brown, “Don’t say I’m having a bad day, say I’m having a character building day!” If the weight feels great, load it up and take advantage. If the weight feels heavy and the lifts feel slow, take the weight down and perfect the technique. When your body is fatigued and achy, just start moving and don’t allow yourself to stop until you finish what you set out to do.
There isn’t much science behind being driven. It will not make you feel less sore or sluggish, it will not make the weight feel lighter. What it will do is keep you honest with yourself and on track. Nobody can outsmart this sport. If you skip out on training, cut your sets short, or neglect your technical work, it WILL rear its ugly head eventually. The days that you don’t have the energy or motivation, but CHOOSE to push forward are the days you will grow as an athlete and an individual. Doing the grunt work and finding a way to win every day any way possible will put you in the position to succeed.
Don’t wait for motivation. Commit to a pursuit of excellence and do whatever it takes EVERY DAY to fight like hell. Be driven to do something great, and you will.