The Greatest Motivation

The more I recognize the reality that I could now be in the final third of my life, a new urgency is in the air.

My ongoing quest for continuous improvement on my way to becoming the best version of myself always seems to lead me to change my behavior in some way. This begs the question, what is the best way to motivate oneself to make a change in one’s behavior necessary to improve?

Today one of my favorite movies introduces what I believe is the greatest motivation of behavioral change. The story is Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol”, and I think one of the best adaptations of this classic Christmas story is the 1951 movie starring Alastair Sim.

I can remember watching this movie when I was only 12 or 13 years old one night when I was all alone. To be perfectly honest, to this day scary movies are not my favorite genre. But rather than admit to my brothers and sister that I was afraid, I would watch movies that would give me nightmares, and this one was no exception! When I first saw the ghost of Jacob Marley with all of his rattling chains

I knew I was in trouble.

As Scrooge settles into bed for the evening, he is suddenly awakened at midnight by the ghost of Christmas past.

Although I was startled by this first ghost I was hardly frightened.

Then comes the ghost of Christmas present

and this ghost was bright and cheerful and I found myself entertained and relaxing without any fear. Little did I know that I was being lulled into a false sense of security in preparation for meeting the real star of the movie, the ghost of Christmas future.

Why do I call the ghost of Christmas future the star of the movie? Is he not the catalyst that finally motivates Scrooge to change his behaviors the very next day, positively altering the outcome of his life? This behavior change allows him to impact the world around him in a whole new and exciting way!

I have renamed this character COD, he is your Checkout Date, the greatest motivation!

Tony Robbins, the well-known speaker/motivator, author and coach, has made it his life’s work to study human motivation. He believes that most human beings are motivated by one of two things – pleasure or pain –  and the most powerful of these two is pain. He feels that the vast majority of people will be more motivated to avoid pain, than to gain pleasure. Scrooge is a great example of this principle in action. He changed his behavior to avoid the pain of what COD was showing him about his possible future.

The elephant hunting philosophy is all about becoming the ideal person you would like to become in each of your seven life arenas (physical, mental, spiritual, career, family, financial, and social). 99% of the time, it will require each of us to change our behavior in some way to help us come closer to becoming this ideal person. I believe that COD is the greatest motivating force, allowing us to realize that we only have a limited amount of time to accomplish our purpose for being on this planet. Although this is true for all people no matter what your age, it is especially true when you find yourself in the final third of life as I do.

A sure sign that you are either in your final third of life or at least approaching this stage in your own life is the increase in the number of weddings and funerals within your sphere of influence. Out of these two types of events, it is the funerals that are impacting my world more than the weddings. Three of my close friends during this past year lost their spouses, and another one of my high school classmates passed away. The thing that got my attention with these particular funerals was how close my actual age was to the four people who died. (I say actual age because the calendar says that I’m 61, but I tell people that I’m only 39! You are only as old as you feel!)

On Halloween this year at a networking event in Libertyville called Freedom One

attendees were encouraged to come dressed in a costume as their favorite movie character, so I came as COD!

As I slowly walked up to the front of the room to introduce myself, you could hear one of my favorite songs playing loudly over the speakers “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult.

My advice to you is simple but powerful, like the lyrics in the song say “Don’t Fear The Reaper” –  let COD motivate you to change your behavior for the better.

A key element to becoming the best version of myself at this stage in my life is staying relevant in all my life arenas during the Final Third.

Matthew Berrafato

“The Elephant Hunter”