The Only Sustainable Motivation on Earth

How do you justify putting in work at the gym?

Is it what you see in the mirror? For instance, you’ll work hard in the gym because what you see in the mirror is not up to your standards yet. Or, are you able to leverage the idea of seeing your children grow old or your doctors orders to improve your fitness to do the work? Some of you, I’m sure, can justify the blood, sweat, and tears because of some desire for acceptance in your peer group.

It’s important to note that these external forces that can drive your efforts are viable in their ability to motivate. There might be an even more powerful way, however.

Think of these external forces as a finite fuel source like gasoline or coal. It’s not too much of a stretch to assume that your motivation may change if you begin to like what you see in the mirror, or when better blood work results come in and your doctor’s strict orders begin to fade, for example. Like gas and coal, these external forces are plenty to fuel great efforts, but what if I told you there was a fuel source that was more powerful, completely self-sufficient, and of limitless quantity?

Well, there is.

People with this internal, limitless drive are called autotelic. In that way, a thing that is autotelic has purpose “in and not apart of itself.” Imagine the possibility!

Imagine you come to train not for money, fame, or fortune, if you will, but because training is a completely self-serving act. The idea of self betterment doesn’t really need any justification if you think about it. It serves it’s own perfectly sustainable feedback loop of effort input and reward output.

Now, if you’ve got some specific external reason for heading to the gym today, by all means, use it. But, if you’re in this for the long haul, it may be in your best interest to find a perspective that says this training habit can stand alone as an truly autotelic act.


Logan Gelbrich




2/21/14 WOD

In 10 minutes with a partner, complete the following for max rounds:
5 Pull Ups
3 Hang Cleans (165/115)
60 Yard Shuttle