I’m not much for external motivation. I believe that you have to motivate yourself, and if you don’t have the inner-drive to accomplish a goal, you won’t. But this video from Eric Thomas (aka Hip Hop Preacher) has always been a source of inspiration for me. If I feel myself getting off track or forgetting why I choose to work hard and follow my passions, listening to this speech, more times than not, sets me right.
You probably know I played DI softball during college. You may or may not know that I have exercised-induced asthma. If you’re not familiar with EI asthma, all it means is that I don’t have symptoms while resting. But while I’m working, my airways close, and it feels like I’m trying to breathe with a coffee filter crammed in my throat.
I’ve been athletic my whole life, and even though looking back, I can remember having asthma attacks as early as eight years old, my family and I always made an excuse. Anxiety, out of shape from the off-season, sick, stressed. Asthma seemed like something that happened to overweight kids, not athletes.
Anyone who’s played DI sports knows that freshman year is brutal. I had never lifted weights in any form, and I was not ready for the intense workouts. Not that it would have helped. If you have asthma, even EI, you can be in the best shape imaginable, but it won’t help. After about my third asthma attack, my trainer finally looked at me and said, “Do you have asthma?” I told her no, of course not. But a visit to an allergy/sinus doctor revealed differently.
About ten medications later, I finally got the asthma under control. Today, I still take allergy meds and use an albuterol inhaler before workouts. But long runs help strengthen my lungs, and I’m able to control the asthma without the super-strong steroids (which came with some nasty side-effects).
Ahem, is there a point to this?
Yes, yes there is.
My experience with EI asthma gives this video and speech an incredibly real meaning for me. I know what it’s like when you can’t breathe. (And just in case I’d forgotten, the concussion taught me again.) When you can’t get air, you don’t give two shits about anything in the world except oxygen. During my worst asthma attacks—the ones that took me to the ground—I would have chewed off my arm for that inhaler.
That’s how I feel about writing.
I feel it deep in my gut—a desperation. I need to write. I need to be heard. [Click to Tweet]
Sometimes that feeling can get lost, buried under daily stress. When I listen to this speech, I remember what those asthma attacks felt like, and I remember that feeling in my gut. It’s always there, burning.
While external motivators can’t give you a drive you don’t feel, they can remind you to take notice of your passions, to stop ignoring them in favor of day-to-day life.
I hope the video does that for you!
Tell me in the comments, what are you passionate about?
What do you want as bad as you want to breathe?
And is there something you read, watch, or listen to that helps remind you of that?
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