“The small wins, the tiny triumphs, the everyday victories, celebrate them, they will take you there.” – Unknown
On Wednesday morning, I woke up and I did not want to get out of bed. It was one of those days when I felt overwhelmed and anxious about everything. This was made worse because I am also changing the way I deal with my ADHD so I have stopped taking my medication and the resulting side effects are anxiety, depression and hopelessness. This will pass and intellectually I know that, but I still have to deal with the side effects for a few more weeks. So I was lying in bed and I just did not want to get up.
And the reality is, I teach at 7 pm, I don’t have to get out of bed. But I also knew that if I stayed in bed, I would not be proud of myself. Yet now matter how much I willed myself to get out of bed, my body refused.
So my harsh, judgmental inner Aleks piped up; “Dude, why are you so weak? You can do better! Come on, stop being such a baby.”
This only made things worse.
I needed to get out of this loop, so a much cheerleader Aleks piped in “Hey listen, you woke up and you’re not giving up. Give yourself a high-five for that!”
As crazy as it sounds, I actually high-fived myself. Instantly, I had a burst of energy and I got out of bed and went out to the living room. Next up is my workout, and again I don’t want to work out. Once again the overwhelming sense of sadness and lethargy returned.
I looked at my workout routine with dread but again the gentler Aleks spoke “Dude, start for just a minute, and then you can high-five yourself again.” So I started and it ended up being a 24-minute workout and I was sweating and feeling great and I high-fived myself again.
I was starting to feel pretty good but next up is the cold shower. Again I’m dreading it. I got into a hot shower first and I knew I had to switch to cold but I really didn’t want to. I came up with every reason I could think of to avoid the cold shower
But again the inner Aleks spoke “Hey, you got up. You didn’t hit the snooze. You worked out. Give yourself a high-five.” So I did and once again, I felt a burst of even more energy and love. I turned the taps to cold and I did my cold shower.
Throughout Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I continued to give myself high-fives for every little win, for every little victory. A strong will is not enough sometimes. Sometimes a little love is needed, a little high-five.
There is even some cool science that supports this idea. They did a study of Navy SEALs. Only the best officers who are also elite athletes can even hope to qualify to become a Navy SEAL. The final test to become a Navy SEAL is surviving “hell week.” It is seven days of torture and sleep deprivation. Only 3 – 12 people out of a hundred survive hell week and actually go on to become Navy SEALs. Those that go into the final stretch (100 or so) are some of the strongest-willed, fittest humans on the planet and most don’t make it. Why?
It turns out that successful people are not stronger-willed or fitter than others. The people who make it through hell week, who get through the pain are those who mentally high-five themselves and remind themselves that what they are doing is important. Instead of waiting for the suffering to end, they high-five themselves during the suffering, for all the little victories.
And so today, this week, this month, as you’re struggling, why not just high-five yourself for the little wins? Give yourself enough love and momentum to get through the next 5 minutes. I love you guys.
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