He came after me again the other day. That little creep. I was on the last half of my two mile run having already biked 5 miles as a part of my triathlon training, when he showed up. It was hot, I was sweating bullets, my legs were sore, and I felt like giving up.
Just as I began to slow down he started in on his rant. His inflection is so annoying and distinct I knew right away who it was.
“Go ahead and give up already”, he said to me in his usual smug manner.
“You can’t do it. We’re all waiting for you to fail and when you do we’ll all have a good laugh.”
At this point, I can imagine what you might be thinking. Let me stop you and state that no, there was not a little gremlin taunting me from the side of the road, and no I am not going insane. But I do hear crazy voices inside my head.
Actually, it is a single voice, belonging to that of my inner jackass. Yes, that is right my inner jackass. A character so motivating that instead of stopping, I decided to keep going just to shut him up and prove him wrong.
I can’t pin point when my inner jackass showed up, but my earliest memory of him is around middle school. Growing up I was an athletic kid but always overweight. During my rocket football years I was constantly near or over the weight limit allowed to play.
I spent many Saturdays watching my teammates enjoy the game while I had to sit sideline because the fear was that the kids who were too big would hurt the smaller kids. When I got to middle school the weight limits went away, but I still was relegated to play offense of line because of my size.
Now, there is nothing wrong with offense of line and anyone who has played or knows the game, realizes their importance. But having said that, let me just tell you that I hated it! I did not want to play offense of line, I wanted to score touchdowns and run the ball!
When I got into high school, I made it my personal goal to play running back. When I shared this goal with some of my coaches and teammates, I was laughed at. They told me there was no way I could do it.
They went on and on about how I was either too fat or too slow and there was no way I could ever beat so and so at running the ball. This of course made me angry and I wanted to prove them wrong.
With encouragement from my parents, dedication in the weight room, and their laughing voices in my head as motivation, I did prove them wrong. Come my freshman year in high school I was a starting running back and went on to earn all conference honors my senior year.
While that story is great and makes for fond memories, I believe the most important thing to come of it was the formation of my inner jackass. This character is made up of every person in my life who told me that I couldn’t do it, including those coaches and peers.
Even as of recently when someone told me I wasn’t cut out to make it in Los Angeles, a place I am moving to for a new job. When I heard this, I smiled at them and added it to my inner jackass.
I’ve started storing these things up for a time when I feel like quitting or maybe coming home. You see, my inner jackass is very opportune showing up at the times when I am at my weakest. But instead of letting him get me down, I use his words to power me through and exceed the highest expectations I have set for myself and prove the doubters wrong.
I encourage you to listen to your inner jackass, this is if you have one. Use him or her as a tool to motivate yourself when you need it the most.
If you do not have an inner jackass, I would encourage you to make one. Do this by thinking of the times when someone told you that you couldn’t do it. Then, use those example the next time you feel like giving up.
Remember, what they said and how they said it, and then how you felt when you proved them wrong.
Discussion Question: Do you have an inner jackass?