Skip to content

March 9, 2010


4 Tips for Iron-Hard Relentlessness

So um, let’s call this little hiatus of posting an Olympic break, shall we? :)

Talking about Olympics, it was a pretty amazing event. Even more so, I think, from a Canadian perspective! (Yea I’m biased, so what?) – 14 Gold Medals, are you kidding me?! And 26 medals total! Congratulations to ALL the canadian Olympic athletes.

One special mention, of course, to Joannie Rochette and her hard-earned Bronze Medal in Figure Skating. In case you’ve been living under a rock or gone at a trip to Mars, you probably heard about her tragic loss and how she overcame it, STILL going out there and giving her best. TWICE.

She was an inspiration to all of us, and a brilliant example of relentlessness. (I like that word, “relentlessness”. Sounds smart, doesn’t it?)

So, how can we use this inspiration and become just as relentless? Here are a few tips:

1. Find out what you want; set a goal

It seems even just this part is like the Holy Grail for many people; yet it is only the beginning. Some will have the luck of finding their calling early, others struggle with that for the rest of their lives.

I’m one of the latter. If I could I’d do everything in my reach. But in the end, you know what counts? That you make a choice and STICK to it, if only long enough to accomplish something with it. And don’t be afraid to tackle many projects at once, if your inner self calls for it.

At some point if your mind changes and you want to try something else/new, don’t fret and make that change. You have to be happy with what you’re doing.

However, don’t confuse that with “not feeling like it today”, or “I’m waaaay too tired” or “I had a bad day”.

In any case, your age should make no difference in your choice. You want to do something? DO IT.

When you find out what you want, set a specific goal.

2. Peel the onion

Now that you know what you want to do, and that your goal is set… ask yourself: Do you really know why you want to do this? What exactly is the true reason?

So maybe you’d like to play piano. OK that’s cool, but why?

Oh, because you like the sound and feeling of it. Why?

Because it reminds you of this specific song you like. Why?

Because it calls back memories from your grandmother and how she used to play for you as a child… etcetera.

… see where I’m going? This technique is called “peeling the onion”; Ask yourself WHY until you get to the deep-down bottom of it.

You may become emotional. It is very possible that you’ll cry. This is a good thing. Knowing deep down why you want to do something is one of the best ways to keep to your goals. Also, you might discover many things about yourself and bring your self-understanding to a whole new level.

3. Go to War

As you start acting towards your goal, you will soon realize that there are no shortcuts. It most certainly won’t be easy. Otherwise why would you have to set a goal for it?

But it doesn’t matter, because by now you know you truly want it, and why you do. Therefore, look at the road ahead and face the obstacles, known and unknown, that await…


Face forward like a raging bull, roaring like a lion, screaming “FREEDOM!” like Mel Gibson in Braveheart, I don’t care how you do it, BUT DO IT.

4. Keywords

Some days you just need that emotional push to drive you forward, because energy is lacking or you head is filled with stuff or you just don’t feel like it. It happens to the best of us (that even means me!).

A remarkable tool that can help in these situations, aside from the preceding point, is the use of keywords. We say keywords, but it could be either a word, phrase/sentence, or even a song, an image or a specific scene you’ve lived.

What matters is that you associate a particularly strong feeling to this key. The emotion could be intensity, just as well as it could be happiness, concentration, laughing, or deep calmness.

As you can see, keywords can actually be useful to pretty much all areas of life.

When you feel something strongly, become aware of it and register a keyword to go with it. Then at any time that you need it, bring up that keyword.

I guarantee you’ll be surprised by the effect.


To conclude, here is how Craig Ballantyne, a renowned fitness trainer, put it recently:

Research show that for 75% of people their biggest regrets in life are the things they didn’t do in life…not the things they did.

So…”Go to the effort. Invest the time. Write the letter. Make the apology. Take the trip. Purchase the gift. Do it.” -Max Lucado


Now… what are YOUR tips?

  • metricjulie

    I love this!!

    My favorite is number 3. If you can’t find it in you to GO TO WAR, like, EVER, well you need to review step 2. If you can’t continue on to step 3, go back to step 1.

    I think I mastered some Relentlessness myself last fall when I broke up, moved and quit my job. I have NEVER looked back since. Haven’t had time to.

    There is no time like the present, and the present is WAR.

  • Mathieu

    Thanks Julie! :)

    It’s true, going to war is the meat of it. It’s where you step on obstacles because you got no time to lose hanging on them.

    Fight well :D

  • Andy Dickinson

    Really great post Mat. I like how you have reframed the headings to personalise and make the age old task of achieving your potential relavant. Thanks for sharing.


  • Mathieu

    Thanks Andy! Doing my best :)