The GOYA Principle

I heard about this one on a podcast recently. Unfortunately, I can’t remember whose podcast or which episode–I listen to several episodes of a number of podcasts every day, and I’m not very good about taking notes–but the principle stuck with me.

You may have heard of this principle already. It’s the cure to a number of excuses we all make:

  • I don’t have enough time.
  • I don’t have enough money.
  • I’m too old.
  • I’m too young.
  • I’m the wrong race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.
  • I don’t know enough.
  • I don’t know the right people.
  • I don’t have the right degree, or certification, or license.

The truth is, for most of us, most of the time, these are nothing but excuses. The GOYA principle gets us past all of them. It gives us that little motivational boost we need. It helps us move toward our dreams, even when we don’t feel like it.

The principle is simple. Most of you have already figured it out.

GOYA: Get Off Your Ass.

[Writers, designers, programmers: you can change off to on if you want, as long as you understand it’s not a license to stay in front of the TV. Put your ass in your chair, pull it up to your desk, and create something.]

Excuses come from fear. We make them because we’re afraid to do something hard, but we need a better reason than it’s too hard and I might not be able to do it, and I don’t want to fail. So we use one of the excuses above, or something similar, and that helps us justify our unwillingness to try.

Here’s the thing about fear: it doesn’t go away when you avoid what you’re afraid of. In fact, it gets stronger. The only way to make it go away is to push through it. But pushing through fear seems like a lot of work. Courage seems like a lot of work.

Slogans, mantras, and affirmations help us there. For some reason, courage is easier to find when we have a few words to fall back on. That’s why we tell ourselves things like go for it, or just do it, or carpe diem. They remind us to do the things we fear.

GOYA works the same way. It’s a little more vulgar than carpe diem, but that’s a good thing for some of us.

It reminds us of what’s important to us. Watching another episode of The Amazing Race might be less important than doing (or finding) the thing we were put on earth to do. And if it’s not, you can DVR it for later; spend an hour chasing your dream first.

Get off your ass and make something important happen before you give up on your day. You don’t have to do everything today, but you have to do something.

You are worthy of that. Give it to yourself.

I've been a soldier, a dreamer, a working stiff, a leader. A husband, father, example (good and otherwise), and now a survivor. I write about courage, because courage is what enables us to accomplish the impossible. If you draw breath, I love you. If you love in whatever way seems best to you and want others to love in whatever way seems best to them, I am your ally. If you believe someone is less than you because they do not love the way you do, I oppose you. If you see someone as a threat to be abused or destroyed merely because they do not look like you, or love like you, or worship like you, I am your enemy. I am a joyful and courageous man. And I stand with you who love.