What motivates us? I suppose the answer depends on what we are doing. In general, I assume most people are motivated to do the basic things in life because of their family, friends or partners. Some of us are motivated to go to work because we love it; most of us go because we need the money.
Beyond the general, everyday life, what motivates us? The other day, I saw a story on the news about a girl who’s not even out of high school yet who has written a book and has a movie deal. Once upon a time, the ‘Amazon Warehouse’ was little more than a garage and now they compete with. Now, they are a major competitor of almost ever business. Amazon is the Wal-Mart of the internet. Where
Lately, I’ve wondered if the motivation that causes people to go above and beyond is different from the motivation that gets us out of bed every morning. I imagine it has to be different, because these motivations work against each other. For example, I am motivated to earn money so I can go out with my boyfriend without relying on him to pay for everything. In short, part of my motivation is to spend time with the people I love.
The motivation that drives me to write this blog and work on my novel is the exact opposite. These aren’t activities that make me money and they certainly don’t make life easier. On top of it all, they require me to sacrifice time I could be spending with friends or with my boyfriend.
Perhaps that’s the reason we stand in awe of people who manage to accomplish these huge dreams. The sacrificial motivation they needed to get there required them to sacrifice time with precious people. Working against every day motivation, they worked without pay, without guarantee of success and they succeeded.
I can’t help but be jealous of those people. How did they accomplish such a feat? Didn’t they have to buy groceries or do laundry? Did they simply get used to living in disarray. You need only to ask my parents to know I am no stranger to a messy room, but certainly there’s a limit.
Through a few Twitter conversations, I’ve found I’m not the only one with questions about sacrificial motivation. More specifically, I’m not the only one with a huge amount of interests bidding for my attention.
As I’ve moved into adulthood, I’ve made friends who demand my attention (and I love them all). Gone are the days where I hung out with these friends in a classroom five days a week. Gone the weekends where I am left alone. I don’t know what they see, but I’m apparently in high demand. It’s fantastic to be wanted, but it means most of my solo hobbies fall off my radar. In fact, for a long period of time, I didn’t engage in a single one of my hobbies.
When I finally decided to give this book writing thing a shot, I discovered my muses were lost. As I sought out inspiration, I found my muses were simple, greedy beings. They lived within my book shelf and video game consoles.
My muses are nerds. As I rediscovered each one of them, I realized they were each an essential part of my writing process. My pen could not move without them.
This year has been an exercise in balance as much as motivation. I cannot do everything every day. For a while, this plagued me. Weeks went by between writing sessions. Months went by with no more than one book being read. I made myself sick with exhaustion trying to fit it all in. This week has been particularly tiring, and yet I feel like I’m finally finding my balance.
Perhaps there is a day in my future where, having mastered sacrificial motivation, I will be the one making other dreamer jealous.
Do you think there is a difference between typical motivation and the kind of motivation that requires sacrifice?