Need Motivation? Look to Your Ancestors

Updated 27th Jan 2013: My Nan slipped away just after the new year. She was 93, the only grandparent I ever knew, and we were close.

At Christmas when I was a child she used to say to me with a smile and love in her eyes, “you don’t know how lucky you are.” It would be many years before I understood what this meant.

Life Motivation


There are few things that give me the same kick up the arse I need when I’m unmotivated or pessimistic about things than when reflecting on the lives that my Grandparents and Great-Grandparents led.

All the comforts of the 21st century make it easy to forget where we came from. Sometimes we just need an attitude shift, some reminder to put things in perspective.

Think back to when you were told stories of, or try to imagine the different lives yours would have had. Compare with how comfortably we are living now.

Anytime I think something’s tough I just think about my Grandfather and his father. Both coal miners. Neither of them saw daylight during winter. The area they worked and lived in is said to have been the inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘Mordor’ in The Lord of the Rings.

My grandmother, 92 this week, the youngest of 9 siblings, shared this great anecdote from her childhood.

“My father used to go into the mine with his bread and butter sandwiches everyday. When he came home, black as the ace of spades, he’d share a little piece of those soot-stained sandwiches he had saved us from his lunch. If we were lucky, they were banana sandwiches and those were the best banana sandwiches I ever tasted!”

That right there gives me the power to know I can do anything.

This is not extreme in any sense. I’m not trying to make them out to be heroes. That was just life, a life that was really not so long ago. I’m sure if you look into your family past, you will find examples not too far from this one. Anyone involved in one of the world wars, or any other war for that matter? Asked them what life was like at that time? We’re obviously genetically made of dealing with tougher stuff than the circumstances we’re used to currently living with.

Things in Perspective

I’m sick of hearing people give me chat about how they can’t do it. Frankly, to suggest it is down to the gods of genetics is just plain rude to all the obese people that worked hard and got slim, and all the skinny people that busted their nuts and packed on some lean muscle. Can’t is a load of horse-shit. The latest research backs this. Let’s be honest, these people can’t be bothered. If they took a moment to reflect on the lives of their ancestors, they would see they can do pretty much anything they set their minds to. And I hope you have realized that you can too.

The “genetic argument” does not make the case for why we are helpless. Rather, it makes a truly compelling case for why our destiny is in our hands.

If you’ve tried in earnest before and failed, I’m not talking to you. I applaud your effort. If you’ve tried and not succeeded, all that says is the way you tried was not optimal. It does not say that powerful options and smart choices do not exist. They do. Let’s find them. Commit to designing your best life and commit to living it. I’ll help any way I can.

All the information you need is here, written out in great detail, but you’ve got to meet me halfway and bring the right attitude to the table.

In or out.

Either choose to make the change or don’t.

I’m good either way. Really it’s fine. But please don’t sit on the fence & complain. People don’t want to hear it. Especially this guy.

Thanks for reading.

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About the Author

Andy Morgan

I am the founder of, this is my sincere effort to build the best nutrition and training guides on the internet. Some readers hire me to coach them, which I've been doing online, via email, for the last six years. If you're interested in individualized, one-on-one nutrition and training coaching to help you crush your physique goals, let's start the conversation.

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