Home » Mel Robbins on Why Motivation Is Garbage at Impact Theory (Transcript)

Mel Robbins on Why Motivation Is Garbage at Impact Theory (Transcript)

In the scheme of life hitting the snooze button is not that big of a deal but here is the thing about life; none of us wake up and say, “Today is the day I destroy my life.” What we do is we kind of check out because it feels overwhelming or we check out because we’re afraid or we check out because we start listening to self-doubt and then we make these teeny-tiny decisions all day long and we don’t even realize it. Decision to not get up on time, a decision to not eat the right thing, a decision to snap at your kids, a decision to not speak at a meeting, a decision to not look for a job, a decision to not deal with your finances, a decision to not call your parents like whatever it is.

All day long these tiny decisions that take you so far off track and then you wake up like I did and you look at your life and you think, “How the hell did I get here,” and more importantly how do you get back over there and you have no idea. I was to strapped and I know from your story you felt the same way, like you knew that there was more in store for you but you couldn’t figure how do you close that gap? How do you find the power that’s in you, how do you discover your greatness, how do you solve these problems? I feel so overwhelming. When you can… I mean I would go to the grocery store and the items would scan and I would be sitting readying my excuse because there was no way that my check card was going to clear.


MEL ROBBINS: I got in this struggle with myself that a lot of us find ourselves in and that is you get trapped in what I call the knowledge-action gap. You know what to do but you can’t seem to make yourself do it. I mean every one of us is one Google search away from a list of instructions that if you follow any of them…

TOM BILYEU: That’s a really good point.

MEL ROBBINS: …it will change your life. How do you get out of your head and stop thinking about what you need to do and actually do it. In my case this stuff was pretty easy; get up on time, make breakfast for the kids, get them on the bus, start looking for a job, be nicer to Chris, don’t drink so much. Instead of isolating yourself pick up the phone and call a friend, get yourself out into the woods and go for a walk, start running again.

Like all these little things that I was capable of but I couldn’t get out of here, could not get out of here and if you are stuck that’s the problem. The problem is you are in your head, you’re thinking: That is the universal problem and it all starts with this knowledge of what to do and then you hesitate and you think about whether or not you feel like doing it. For a couple of months I was really stuck, Chris would get up at six, I’d hit the snooze and then I’d hit the snooze and then I hit the snooze the kids would miss the bus. Then every night I’d do the same thing: I’d go in bed, have ever had one of those nights probably before you started your company where you would go in bed and you are like, “All right Tom, that’s it; tomorrow it’s the new me, tomorrow. Tomorrow I am going to get up on time, I am going to go to the gym, I am going to look for a job, I’m not going to drink so much it’s going to be amazing. The new me, the future me whoa let’s do this,” right? Then you go to bed and you wake up seven hours later and you are like, “I don’t feel like the new me.”

TOM BILYEU: Who was that?

MEL ROBBINS: Who the, that’s the stupidest. See motivation is garbage, it’s never there when you need it ever. Here is what happened to me and thank you for wearing the NASA t-shirt.

TOM BILYEU: Of course.

MEL ROBBINS: It’s a really stupid story.

TOM BILYEU: It’s a powerful story.

MEL ROBBINS: One night Chris had gone to bed. I had been struggling, we still had all the same problems. I. we still had the lien on the house, still facing bankruptcy, still fighting like crazy, I was still unemployed. They still hadn’t figured out the solution yet for the business and I was about to turn off the TV. There on the TV there was this rocket launching and I thought, “Oh my gosh that is it. I am going to launch myself out of bed like a rocket ship like NASA right here and launch me out of that bed. I’m going to move so fast that I don’t think I’m going to beat my brain.”

Now here is a really interesting point, I talk a lot about your instincts and inner wisdom and we can get into this a little bit later. A lot of us talk about the fact that you have a gut feeling, but what all these research that I’ve done for the book and all the speaking that I do. What I’ve discovered that’s fascinating is actually when you set goals, when you have an intention on something that you want to change about your life your brain helps you. What it does is it opens up a check list and then your brain goes to work trying to remind you of that intention that you set. It’s really important to develop the skill and I say that word purposefully, the skill of knowing how to hear that inner wisdom and that intention kicking in and leaning into it quickly. For me my brain saying, “That’s it right there move as fast as rocket Mel,” I wanted to change my life.

I think most people that are miserable or that are really dying to be great and dying to have more; we want to change, we want to live a better life, we want to create more for our families, we want to be happier. The desire is there; again it’s about how do you go from knowledge to action. The first thing in this story that’s important is realizing that the answer was in me and my mind was telling me, “Pay attention”. Could have also been the bourbon. I mean I had had a couple of Manhattans that night. Anyway, the next morning the alarm goes off and I pretend that NASA was there.

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