Do what you know will make you better, so that you won’t regretfully look back on what you could have done.
Chris Farley’s portrayal of the sadly charismatic motivational speaker Matt Foley is one of my all time favorite SNL sketches (along with Taran Killam’s Buford Calloway Weekend Update, and the Fey/Poehler Palin/Clinton debate). I love his catchphrase “… living in a van down by the river!” It’s ironic, it’s frightening, it’s hilarious. And for the longest time, I’ve used it as an actual motivational prompt.
Get your stuff together, or you’ll end up living in a van down by the river! I’ve even used it as a marketing mindset for Text Request. Get Text Request, and don’t end up living in a van down by the river. Use our product, so that you’ll succeed. For me personally: work your tail off, so that you won’t have any reason to regret not doing X to get ahead.
There’s a similar phrase I keep in the back of my head at all times. “Do what others won’t today, so you can do what others can’t tomorrow” (Jerry Rice). In all of this, the point and the actionable step is to do whatever extra it takes to get ahead, to become successful, to keep yourself from failing, to avoid living in a van down by the river.
Fear is a driving force in this mindset. Is that bad? Is the fear of letting your talents go to waste wrong? Isn’t wasting your abilities one of the biggest crimes against humanity? Truthfully, it’s an admirable motivator!
Ultimately, we all want to be successful in our own way. However you string it, that means going the extra mile. To reach whatever goals you have or to help someone else reach their full potential, you have to put in the necessary effort, whether you really want to in the moment or not.
Do everything in your power to make yourself the best [whatever you want to be], and don’t end up living in a van down by the river!
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