There is a video of a speech Matthew McConaughey gave after receiving an Oscar for his role in Dallas Buyers Club. The video is from 2014 and there are a few reasons I watch this speech close to once a month. No, it isn’t because he’s from Texas, nor his southern accent or his suaveness. I continually come back to this video because of how he breaks down what he needs each day. In his words, he needs three things each day; a person to look up to, someone to look forward to and someone to chase. It’s that last part that really brings it home for me.
Having someone to chase is a necessity. It is what motivates us to keep trudging forward, to keep knocking on the door of our goals, but most importantly it is something that we will never catch. When we are in the gym, what are we trying to accomplish? For most of us, the answer is usually along the lines of trying to become a better version of ourselves. Healthier, happier and more fit than we once were. A lot of times when I am speaking to someone about their goals, they tend to have these definitive end goals and once they reach them they are content with what they accomplished. But, the truth is, the work is never done and it should stay that way.
Can we really ever be done becoming the best version of ourselves? There is always more we can do. Be a better spouse, brother or sister, friend and even a healthier human. Have you ever heard a doctor tell a patient “you are too healthy and you need to stop”? As I am typing that, I find myself chuckling at how absurd that sounds.
Ok, ok. So, if I am never going to be done becoming the best version of myself, why do I even bother? The beauty is in the process, not the results. All the time and energy we spend striving for this greatness that seems to always be just out of reach will come with a multitude of lessons and victories alike. This never-ending quest is what keeps us hungry for more. To add another 10 pounds to our back squat, to run 5 seconds faster in a mile or do to 1 more ring muscle up. Shifting our focus from the results themselves to the process will yield more results in the long run and allow us to sustain those results. Not just in the gym, but in life.
The best person you can chase is yourself. Not yourself today, but who you will be in a year, 5 years or 10 years. Keep pushing that needle of what you’re striving for and never settle for who you have become. The best program, coaches or equipment in the world are not enough to help you get there. There needs to be an internal driving force behind what you’re doing. What better source of motivation is there than you vs you? Something I have come to realize over the years is that we often pick someone to chase, that person who is stronger than us or faster than us. That is all good and fine, but the reality is is that they are their own person with their own motivations, values and philosophies. Instead of trying to keep up with the Joneses, forge your own path and continue chasing who you want to be.