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Motivation Masters: Eric Thomas

For the skeptic, Eric Thomas’ story reads like something of a fairytale. Dropping out of high school and living homeless for 2 years, depressed and with thoughts of suicide, it took a chance meeting with a preacher to inspire him to apply himself once more at school, eventually earning a PhD in Education Administration in 2015.

ET, as he sometimes refers to himself, is no stranger to suffering – or of the value of pushing through it to get what you want out of life. Here’s a few of my favourite nuggets of his wisdom.

Pain is temporary.

Pain is temporary. It may last for minute, or an hour, or a day, or even a year. But eventually it will subside, and something else will take it’s place. If I quit however, it will last forever. – ET

Although most of us see pain and struggle as something to avoid, it’s a necessary part on the road to success. By changing our mindset, we can learn to see pain as something positive, that teaches and strengthens us. After all, for us to move forward, we must acknowledge that this version of ourselves is not good enough to get there.

Deal with the problems that hold you back.

Much of the pain in our life comes from problems that we have not dealt with yet. Whether it’s doubts about our abilities, or fear of other’s criticism, or worry that we’ll need a raise to afford lessons, our problems will haunt us for as long as we allow them to.

Only in having the courage to stare honestly at these challenges can we create the solutions we need to move past them. And once these barriers are out of the way, we can reap the rewards of success.

Change your focus.

What makes a person average is their focus. An employee who’s good, is focusing on “what will make make my boss happy?” An employee who’s great, is asking “what need can I fill in the world?” – ET

Focus in this context means the ability to concentrate on the next 24 hours, or even the next 3 minute song, without getting wrapped up in the past or future. It also refers to figuring out “why do I want this? Why do I go to the studio, when I could be at home watching tv?” As Nietzsche reminds us, “He who has a why, can bear almost any how.

Live in the future.

Human beings have something that no other animal has: Imagination. And what imagination allows us to do, is to see it before it actually happens. I need you to see where you’re going to be 10 years from now, 20 years from now. – ET

The best grade I ever got in a university exam, I did by consistently reminding myself how good it would feel to receive that A. We often face periods where it seems anything bad that can happen, will happen. But by picturing the rewards we will reap if we persist, we create the incentive we need to keep moving forward.

About the Author

Ian Crewe has been dancing ballroom for over 18 years, and has a Licentiate in American smooth and rhythm. His passion for dance eventually led him to blogging and the World Wide Web. Ian currently teaches at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.

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