Cafe Witness

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Motivation Burst

The trickiest thing about motivation is harnessing it.

So often, I spend days -- or weeks, months or, in some extreme cases, years -- harboring ideas or glimpses of things I'd like to do, or should do, but which I never seem to get around to. It always seems like these ideas need "further gestation."

And then, suddenly, something comes along and forces me to take action and -- out of nowhere -- I enter the ring and come out swinging.


Job's done. Case closed. No more procrastination.

Where did that sudden burst of motivation come from?

Home Cooking

The most obvious example of this behavior is housecleaning. I can stare at the piles of misplaced items all around my apartment and KNOW they should be put away. But it takes a phone call from a friend or family member -- "We thought we'd drop by tonight..." -- to get me off my ass and into homemaker mode.

Suddenly, dishes get washed, papers get recycled, furniture gets rearranged and laundry gets washed, dried, folded and hung up... usually in just a couple hours. Visitors have no idea that the place looked like a homeless man squatted here mere hours ago.

And, of course, as soon as I'm done, I'm thinking, "This wasn't hard at all. Why the hell did it take me THIS LONG to do?"

Leaving the Nest

Half the reason I don't pull the trigger on an action is because I don't consider it to be ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. I lull myself into a false sense of security. I become complacent with my life as-is, even though I know it needs to be improved.

"Sure, those piles of books belong on a shelf somewhere, but leaving them out won't kill me... I should go play Madden instead."

The problem with this type of thinking is that it justifies my excuses. And once I start justifying excuses for little things, I start doing the same for big things. It's a snowball effect, and it leads to a massive amount of NOT getting things done.

If I applied that same "burst of motivation" in housecleaning to whatever business, social or creative endeavors I'm putting off, I could probably clear up my hundreds-of-items-long to-do list in a reasonable amount of time AND have a blast doing it.

Odds are, so could you.

All it takes is the strength to say "yes" to that tiny, flickering flame of motivation in the back of our minds -- the one that says, "Hey, wouldn't it be a good idea if you did this?..."

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