I’ll try not to make this too incomprehensible but since that’s the way these thoughts are presenting themselves in my brain right now, I can’t promise it won’t.
I’ve been thinking a lot about motivation lately because of ‘you know what’ and a couple of other events recently have made me consider it from other angles, adding to the missmash of electrical signals backfiring in my head. Here goes.
I am self motivated in general. I don’t know why this is, but I rarely feel like there’s no reason to get up in the morning. It helps to be a dreamer and to try and turn a few of those dreams into something more concrete. Leaving Canada was one of these ‘dreams’, as was coming to France 15 years later. Most of the great rides and bike trips I’ve done in France was because I either had an original idea (unlikely) or latched onto someone else’s and made a run for it. Even my bike tour company was the result of me motivating myself to think of ways I could stay in France, continue riding and make a little money to boot. I’ve never had much trouble doing this for most of my life.
Until now of course. There’s something weird going on at the moment and it has to do with the uncertainty of the future. Dreams are all about looking forward and working on them ‘now’. Temporarily at least, this is becoming more complicated because the ‘future’ part has been taken away from us. I can’t plan a bike trip with much motivation for this summer when I’m not sure that I’ll even be allowed to do it. It’s for that reason (and the fact 44|5 Cycling Tours doesn’t have any clients till at least August) that I’ve turned to apartment renovations – definitely not a ‘dream’ of mine but I can gather a little bit of motivation even if I don’t like doing this kind of work and I’m not very good at it either.
My wife has little trouble with these Groundhog Days and makes her little lists of things she needs to get done and usually accomplishes them. Mini steps like this are not for me and even when I make a list I often can’t understand what I meant by the words I wrote. I could do it, but I don’t operate like that so I don’t.
Victor Frankl, Auschwitz survivor and psychiatrist, wrote a book I’m really glad I’ve read several times: Man’s Search for Meaning. Essentially, he comes to several conclusions about ‘meaning’, one of them being that even in the most horrific of circumstances and with virtually no hope of making it through, people can find it. There is always ‘freedom of choice’ even in the most dire of situations and applying meaning to even the most trivial aspects of life is one of those choices.
It all sounds very Buddhist and maybe is the reason my Japanese wife has so little trouble with it! Anyway, there are a few takeaways for me at least when thinking about this book. One is that what we’re living through is peanuts compared to war. Another is that I wonder if other people have naturally shortened their vision a little during this time and have started to look at stuff closer to them. I’ve been cooking and baking more and have been blogging like crazy. I’m also reading more and the apartment is spotless! It all helps, according to Frankl.
Back to Motivation
This was the last thought I had on motivation and it doesn’t really flow very well in this article, but what the heck.
A friend of mine is a great motivator. For as long as I’ve known him he has been the guy who is always pumping you up to do this or do that. His ideas are impossible to contain within himself and he’s not the type of guy to keep them to himself anyway.
So he doesn’t and you know how the story ends. If you go to see a motivational speaker you might feel like you do when you left the cinema after seeing Rocky (or Rocky II, III, IV, etc. depending on your age). You feel like you can change the world, or at least yourself, but this motivation from outside dissipates as fast as it took to watch the movie. There are exceptions, obviously, and I joined a dojo after seeing Karate Kid back in 1984. That actually did change my life.
Which brings us full circle and back to how we are getting our motivation these days. I imagine that most of you still have work and that keeps you going, but I am pretty sure that many will be going through what I am to varying degrees. I’m sort of curious to know how the ‘non dreamers’ (you practical types) are doing. I suspect you’re dealing with it better than those of us who have their head in the clouds.
Okay, that hurt my brain more than it should have. I’m going to vacuum the floor.