The cookie jar strategy is a strong way to increase your motivation when things seem at their worst

It's not cookies we put in the cookie jar.

The name Cookie Jar Strategy isn't what you probably think it is. You will not be giving yourself a prize for good behavior. No. This strategy was designed for those terrible times you feel you cannot go further. The pain, whether physical or emotional is excruciating.

The idea was invented by David Goggins, a Navy Seal, who many believe is the toughest man on the  planet. His exploits are truly amazing. There is a lot we can learn from David and you will read his name in other parts of the website. 

So what is the Cookie Jar Strategy? To begin, let's hear it from David Goggins himself. (Warning, the language will be very raw.)

"What do you say to yourself when life is kicking your ass? When you keep failing at the things you truly want? This question was asked to me.

Once again this isn't for everybody. I thank God for testing me again. I go back to what I call the cookie jar. The cookie jar is a place in my mind where I put all things bad and good that shaped me. Some people try to forget the bad in their life. I use my bad for strength when needed -  great lessons learned.

In that cookie jar, I pull out whatever I need for the task at hand. I've been called a machine, but to be brutally honest I was a below average man. So to answer your question, what do I say to myself when life is kicking my ass? I say you haven't worked hard enough!

You know when you are working hard, because you dread the next day. You dread it because you know that day will also suck because you are going to work just as hard.

I know one thing about the human mind. It's very similar to making a sword. A forged blade is created by heating the metal in a fire and pounding it into shape. I have forged my mind the same way. I put myself in the fire, pulled it out, and pounded my mind into shape.

My race has only one runner and there are no fans. Only I know how to get to the finish line. Some life lessons will push us to the limit of our greatness.

Sometimes You must sit alone because people will never understand your journey. In a world where people are so connected, it's growing harder to find the courage to sit alone. Sitting alone means to follow your heart and only your heart! Stand tall when life is kicking your ass. Visualize how you want your life and don't stop until the picture in your mind is a reality"

So how does David actually use the Cookie Jar Strategy? He uses it to remind himself how tough he really is. When he reaches into his 'cookie jar,' he doesn't find Oreo cookies. No. What he might pull out is how he had to go through three Hell's Weeks in trying to become a Navy Seal. And finally succeeded.

Most people going through Navy Seal training fail. So when David is in a bad place, he goes into his mind, he reaches into the cookie jar, pulls out something to help him remember just how tough he really is.

He actually asks himself, "Who else would go through three Hell Weeks to become a Navy Seal? And then finally make it all the way through? No one else." He reminds himself how tough he really is. Remembering that situation increases his motivation to succeed in what he is doing now. It becomes the tipping point.

How about someone else who uses this technique, though he doesn't call it that is Dwayne Johnson, one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood. He was a famous wrestler for WWE before he became an actor. And you may think he had it easy. I mean he's big with a great physique. Well, keep in mind their are other men built like that who hasn't had anywhere near the success Dwayne has.

Here is Dwayne talking about what he did before important moments in his life. (Like David Goggins, the language is raw.)

"You guys know that the thing that has worked for me is to remember the hard times. So, and I'm sure you guys all have your processes, and again, I'm going to tell you what worked for me.

So, before a big movie comes out, before, back in the days when I was wrestling with WWE, a Wrestlemania match, anything big that would happen, I would always take a moment and I just reminded myself, all right, I was evicted when I was 14. We were kicked off the Island. We couldn’t live in Hawaii and had no place to live. A lot of shit happened.

Then, when I moved to Nashville, I was arrested multiple times by the time I was 16 years old. I remember that. If I was playing on this team, before I laced up, before I got on the court, before I played in these big games, I would remember that. And it allowed me then, to be present, in the moment, and understand, Holy Shit, this, the stuff I have around me right now, this is the shit that I dreamed of when I was a kid." Via "Dwayne Johnson - The Wake Up Call | One Of Most Compelling Speeches!" If you watch this movie, don't forget to come back to this page.

Each time a person uses the Cookie Jar technique, like David, like Dwayne, they are developing their mental toughness. Which means, the next time a very difficult time rears its ugly head, there is a better chance for a successful outcome.

How about you? Why not use The Cookie Jar Strategy to help you get past tough times?

You likely haven't been through three Hell Weeks like David, or been evicted and arrested like Dwayne, I understand that. But you've been through tough times and come out the other side. You didn't quit.

So when times are tough, reach into your cookie jar, pull out a tough time you conquered and realize you can win now even though you are feeling weak and want to quit. You can succeed now when without this technique you might have given up. You've succeeded before, you're ready to do it again. This is mastering motivation at its highest level.

It's been said that humans use only about 40% of their potential. I believe that is true. So often we give up too soon. Perhaps, for you, by using the Cookie Jar Strategy or one of the other strategies in the Toolbox you can rise above 40% of your potential. Perhaps far above 40%. In so doing, your life would be far greater than it otherwise would have been.

What if the Cookie Jar Strategy is not for you? In that case, there is a whole toolbox of techniques, philosophies, and strategies to make a major change in your life over the next year, five years or even ten years.

Those years are going to come no matter what you do. So, the real question is where are you going to be? Don't change and you will be right about where you are now. Look at where you are. You want more of that? Then choose a strategy or philosophy and start changing your life. Perhaps the Cookie Jar strategy is the one you need.

You might like these

Go to the top of The Cookie Jar Strategy.

Go to the Article Index.