Take Hold Of The Flame

by Danny Kavadlo on July 18, 2017

FREAKSHOW Danny Kavadlo

Recently I received an email from a friendly fitness follower. This is what he asked: “Hey, Danny, how do you stay so motivated?” Well thanks for asking! But the truth is: I don’t!

That’s right. I don’t.

There is a fire burning deep within me. It’s in you too! This fire makes me move, helps me survive the night and execute what I must. But this fire is not motivation. There are days when I wake up and I simply don’t know what the hell.

  • How am I going to pay my bills?
  • How can I be a better man?
  • A better trainer?
  • How am I going to feed my son and go on another day?
  • And those damn pull-ups…. When can I find the time?

To evoke the California thrash band Suicidal Tendencies, “How can I laugh tomorrow when I can’t even smile today?”

Sometimes I’m terrified—not motivated at all—but very afraid. Yet somehow, I keep a roof over my head. I work. I cook breakfast. I pay my bills and take my kid to school. And, yes, I do the damn pull-ups. But it has nothing to do with motivation.

The fire within is dedication.

If I waited for motivation to strike, I wouldn’t do much of anything. My mortgage would go unpaid. My bathroom would be filthy. I’d go days without showering. I certainly wouldn’t work out half as much as I want to or need to. It’s not that I’m lazy—it’s that I’m real and I acknowledge the fact that tasks take effort.

A fire burns deep within us all, but it’s not motivation. Take hold of the flame!

A fire burns deep within us all, but it’s not motivation. Take hold of the flame!

And I’m NOT sorry to admit, as I type these keys on a rainy Friday morning, that I’m not motivated at all. Instead, I’m accountable. I said I’d write this damn blog and I’m doing it, whether I feel like it or not.

The fire within is discipline. 

We live in the hash-tag generation, kids. Everything is #motivationmonday or #flexfriday. Well, Danny’s here to tell you that’s a bunch of jive! Do not wait for #motivationmonday! Do not wait for motivation any day!

These slogans are designed to inspire, which of course is a good thing. I’d never deny that. But motivation comes once in a blue moon. It’s the great, white whale of lore—an incredible beast to behold—but don’t base your life on trying to capture it, or your life may pass you by. Discipline is accessible every day, while motivation comes and goes.

A fire burns deep within us all, but it’s not motivation. Take hold of the flame and shout at the devil!

A fire burns deep within us all, but it’s not motivation. Take hold of the flame and shout at the devil!

You do the things you choose to do because you care. You do the work every day, whether you’re motivated or not, because it’s important to you. Be leery of #inspirational memes from people you never heard of (or even memes from me.)

The only truth is the truth that takes place in the real world. Virtual reality is not reality and social media is not social. Do not count on others to motivate you. Be determined and take care of what you must.

The fire within is determination.

Are you “motivated” to brush your teeth? Do you jump up and say “Hellyeah! It’s teeth time!” Or are you dedicated because it’s important for your quality of life? Are you “motivated” to pay your rent, or do you do it because you don’t want to live on the street and eat out of a trash can? Are you “motivated” to go to the DMV when you have to renew your license?

You see where I’m going with this, right? In the end, motivation is overrated. It’s an illusion. The fire within comes from you, not from any external force. It’s your own dedication, discipline and determination. And the flame is strong.

So stand up, calisthenics brothers and sisters, my family and friends! Be strong, and take hold of the flame!


Danny Kavadlo is one of the world’s leading authorities on calisthenics, nutrition and personal training. He is the author of several best-selling Dragon Door titles including GET STRONG and STRENGTH RULES. Danny has been featured in the New York Times, Men’s Fitness, and the Huffington Post. He is a regular contributor to Bodybuilding .com and TRAIN magazine. When not working one-on-one with clients in his native New York City, Danny travels the world as a Master Instructor in Dragon Door’s internationally acclaimed Progressive Calisthenics Certification. Find out more about Danny at www.DannyTheTrainer.com

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