What Lance Armstrong Can Teach Us About Motivation

A guest post by Diggy from UpgradeReality.com.

Let me paint a little picture. Allow your imagination to go to work.

It’s a beautiful sunny afternoon, you’ve just stuffed yourself with a great lunch and you’re all stretched out on your couch. Flipping the channels on your TV to find something that you will allow to steal your afternoon away. You have plenty of ideas you want to start and projects you want to complete, but you can’t get yourself off that couch and get motivated to get to work and start writing.

How Do You Find Motivation?

The answer to this question is often what stands between you (right now, far from your goals ) and reaching your goals and being successful. That reason or thing that sparks us to take action, (the carrot in front of the donkey’s nose) is what we need to find or create. Everyone has a creative genius inside of them. There just needs to be a reason to let that genius come out to play.

I think there is little more motivating than a near-death experience or a loss of something you’ve always taken for granted. Getting told that you only have one year left to live or surviving a head-on collision are examples of events that change everything. After one of these events you will focus on the things you truly care about and spend as much time with the people and things you love.

The secret to being continuously motivated is realizing why your whole focus shifts after you nearly lose something very important (like your health or freedom).

If you can understand that principle and apply it BEFORE something bad happens to you (i.e. pretend or imagine how you would feel if you indeed lost something very important), then you would truly live your life to the fullest. You will love with all your heart, work with all your energy and enjoy everything that this world has to offer you. You will see every day as a gift that allows you to be creative and share your thoughts and writing with the world.

Imagine that you only have one year left to live, would you waste it by sitting on the couch and watching tv? I highly doubt it…

Find Motivation By Setting Imaginary Rewards:

Fear is usually a bigger motivator than dreams and that is why the process of nearly losing something really important to you makes you so much more motivated to live your life to the fullest.

However, you are the only one that knows what you really desire in your heart. This means that you can use that desire as a source of motivation.

Let’s say for example that you really want to be financially independent so that you are able to travel the world and wake up to a tropical beach and aqua-blue sea every morning. If you really really want that tropical beach, it will always be on your mind. When you wake up in the morning you can remind yourself how much you want it and that you are going to do anything you have to do to reach that goal. You can find a postcard or photograph of that beach you want to be on and pin it on the wall behind the desk you work at. That way you will want to write as soon as you see that postcard.

You need to determine if you are someone who is more motivated by fear or by dreams. I am not able to tell you that. What is the thing that is going to make you get out of bed on a Sunday morning or motivate you to work late into the night so that you can achieve your goals?

The Lance Armstrong Story

I’m pretty sure that you know the Lance Armstrong story or have at least heard about it.

Lance Armstrong was a top-athlete at the peak of his career in 1996. Back then, he had just won the World Cycling Championships. He had become the first cyclist to clock the widest winning margin in the U.S. National Road Race Championshipís history. Even more, he had also signed a 2 year contract to ride with a famous French racing team for an amount of $2.5 million.

Later that year, Lance was diagnosed with an advanced stage of testicular cancer. The cancer had spread to his lungs and brain and doctors gave him a 50/50 chance to live. An urgent operation had to be arranged to remove his swollen testicle that was the size of an orange. Lance had cancer cells the size of golfballs in his lungs. Doctors and others were really not optimistic about his recovery.

Lance however, was determined not to give up and to beat his illness. He underwent the surgery and the chemotherapy and lost a lot of weight in the process. Amazingly he was declared cancer-free after he completed his chemotherapy and he went back to his cycling.

For the next 7 consecutive years, Lance proceeded to win the Tour de France. He went from facing death and having people tell him he was going to die to winning the largest cycle event in the world 7 cosecutive times in a row. At a later stage, Lance wrote that he chose overcoming cancer to winning the race. It was the former that allowed him to ignore the negative predictions that his doctors gave him and focus on his own strength and faith.

Lance Armstrong published a book titled “It’s not about the bike” which is a really inspiring and beautiful story to read. If you haven’t read it yet I really suggest you get hold of a copy.

The reason that I told you this story is that you should never give up. You are much stronger than you think and you are capable of withstanding much more than you think. Don’t allow the negativity of others to drain your life or motivation out of you, it’s not over until it’s over.

Let Me Give You A Boost:

Everyone has days where they can’t find motivation and they are a little low on confidence or self-esteem. You may not have the urge to write on these kind of days which can turn into weeks or months if you let them. Even if you have been writing for months without results and your efforts seem fruitless, then remember the Lance Armstrong story. You can be facing what seem insurmountable odds, but you can still conquer them with hard work,persistance and determination.

If you are having one of those days where you don’t feel creative, let me help you by telling you the following:

  1. You are alive
  2. You are enough
  3. You are unique
  4. You are cool
  5. Never give up

Always remember this! Now get off your butt and go and write some mind-blowing articles (Just do it)!

Diggy writes all about self improvement at his blog UpgradeReality.com. If you are looking for motivation, inspiration or useful tips to live a better life, subscribe to his articles via RSS FEED or EMAIL

A heads-up for WTD readers
Leo and Mary will run the next A-list Blogging Bootcamp, How to Create a Blog that Rocks from 13-17 February. Everyone had a blast last time! We’ll be emailing some great articles on blogging. Get yourself on the mailing list by clicking on Leo’s report below.


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11 thoughts on “What Lance Armstrong Can Teach Us About Motivation”

  • Mendy says:

    Lance’s story is very inspiring, he’s one of my heroes. He still is as motivated and dedicated today as he was when he was 25. I get tired just reading his tweets about the rides, charity events, and cancer awareness events he is always doing. This is a motivation not just for writing, but for life.

  • Ronda Levine says:

    Thank you for writing this post. I enjoy reading about the different things people do to motivate themselves and the different ways of looking at things.

  • Hey Mary!
    Thank you very much for the opportunity to guest post on Write to Done!
    I hope your readers enjoy the post!
    Keep well!

  • Lance is an incredible example of how strong the Will can be in achieving the goals we have set for ourselves. In fact, he is perhaps the ultimate guide to helping you find the motivation within. I have followed his career on the Tour de France very closely for several years, and am always amazed at how he manages to fight through and come out on top.

    Not all of his wins came easy, many in fact did not. But despite, crashes, setbacks, illness, etc. he always persevered to end up in yellow. But even more inspiring is he lives with the same intensity off the road as well. It is a great example.

    We should all aspire to write the way he rides…

  • Anne Wayman says:

    Lance is an incredible example and there are tons of others. Lots of unknowns too who simply get up every day and do what needs to be done.

    Sometimes that includes create.

    But I find I have to write even when I’m not feeling very creative – and that’s where discipline comes in… putting words on paper (or the screen now).

    Ideas are everywhere… I just have to look.


  • Farnoosh says:

    I loved Lance’s book. It made me shudder to my core when I learned of his terrible journey through cancer and recovery. It is inevitable that we will become unmotivated you are right, but we have to find it again. Perspective is a great thing but even that gets old sometimes. We *know* of all these stories and how lucky we are, it’s just a matter of remembering *that* effectively when we most need it. Sigh, a journey in progress but a good reminder post.
    I generally never post a link in my comment but this felt so relevant so allow me the exception please. My post about the wonderful unforgettably motivated Lance Armstrong:

  • Zaki says:

    Thank you for this wonderful article. I am in need of motivation to write. I know I like to express my thoughts in words. I love to interviewing people and learn about their lives. I am struggling to be motivated to do my writing course. Yet I am angry at myself for not being strong enough to over come my lack of self belief and self confidence to just do it and write. Reading this piece is helping me to get my act together. The power of focus. I will act on this. And yes, Lance Armstrong “It’s not about the bike” Is one great inspiring read! Loved it!

  • joylene says:

    This was inspiring. In the light of what people like Lance have gone through, I’m embarrassed that I’m too often overwhelmed by life, reacting like the fellow on the couch. Shame on me. I’m sticking a photo of Lance on my monitor today, and will definitely get a lot of work done. And I’m no longer using my editor for an excuse to do nothing. She told me we’d get to work after Christmas, but I still haven’t heard from her. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, I’ll take the opportunity to catch up on all the things that have to wait when we do start work. Thanks!

  • Julian says:

    Great post! It could almost have been called “What Lance Armstrong CAN’T teach us about motivation”. Answer: not much.

  • First question: Was it intended for this whole article to be in ‘Bold’ text? Ok now that that’s out of the way, here is what I will add:

    Lance’s story is one of those major cases of motivation. For most people, they are fighting quiet battles of motivation in their own homes and with their own small projects – or thoughts about projects they have not started.

    I face this challenge – and I just remind myself that I’m unique and have useful information to share and need to just stick with it. Don’t say, “I don’t think this is working.” You can say that about anything you are doing. Just get into the habit consistently and the motivation will be easier to come by. And of course, as this article states, never give up.

  • Farnoosh says:

    It’s not bold for me except for the headers, just FI

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