What is your motivation to get out of the bed every morning?

Let’s say I woke up this morning and somehow knew that all my goals would be instantly achieved if I could just get to my chair and turn on the computer.

That would mean the potential value I hope to bring the world would be brought, received, and undeniably impactful; it would mean all my relationships would be strong and deep; it would mean I’d no longer face even the compulsion to get angry, to eat badly, to sleep little, to drink too much, or . . . to go get high.

What an incredible motivation that would be!

But today I woke up tired and somehow noticeably older than yesterday. The thought of crawling through cold to go spend hours scraping out tiny pieces of projects (with no values noticeably developed, delivered, or received) was bleak. My closest relationships felt distant, cold, and forced . . . or zanily reckless, shallow, and unhealthy. Drive-throughs, alcohol, YouTube videos, and dispensaries all felt so near and pleasant in my dreary discouraged state.

Yes, I’m working toward a particular future; but how motivating can the idea of “one day” really be?

Even though this morning I wanted nothing more than my usual slew of easy distractions and comforts, I knew the day would bleed, like all the rest, into this ongoing fabric of time and experience called my life.

Let’s say I choose not to work, connect, or grow at all this year. Well, then all the year’s misspent moments will still trickle by and be gone like all the rest.

So back to the notion of “one day” and whether beliefs in potential futures can really ever be enough of a motivation: Potential was all I had to go on this morning when I woke up cold and wanting nothing but McDonald’s, weed, and YouTube.

But my perspective on time going by made my belief in potential enough.

It’s never easy. Progress toward potential is always uphill and uncertain. But the motivation of unavoidable perspective can always push you onward and upward once you can’t ignore that otherwise your life will certainly never be as you hope.

So the power of perspective comes from knowing that the possibility of potential is infinitely better than guaranteed regret.

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