Sunday, October 7, 2012

Motivational Advice from a Stone

I've heard all sorts of motivational advice - uplifting, inspirational, encouraging, self-esteem bolstering. Well, this post isn't about your self-esteem. The weak cannot handle this post. The weak also won't become best-selling authors or lauded illustrators, or anything strong-willed people want. You have to be strong-willed to accomplish something in life. Dreaming just won't cut it.

the actual stones
I'm always on the lookout for motivational tools that I can get behind, something that can nudge me in the right direction without being a drill sergeant about it. (Strong-willed people really fight against drill sergeant motivation.) I'd seen those pretty inspirational stones for sale before, but usually they cost more than I wanted to pay. So, when I found one at a thrift store for fifty cents (maybe even twenty-five) I picked it up. It was black and shiny and said "DREAM" in lovely white serif font. Now, I knew that a rock really couldn't inspire me that much... unless perhaps I kept it around my work area and looked at it all the time. So, I decided to set it in front of my keyboard and hope it would inspire me.

It was a lovely thought, but I didn't feel as inspired as I hoped I would. Eventually I realized a stone with the word "DREAM" on it, wasn't going to make me productive. I needed another word. I had to find another stone! I trolled Ebay (another wonderful way to spend a potentially-productive writing day) for such a stone, and eventually I found one. It was mottled white and said in no-nonsense depressed san-serif, "CREATE". This was it! I was sure that this stone, paired with my 'Dream' stone, would help me to finally see my goals through.

Guess what? It didn't. I still have those stones sitting in front of my keyboard, nudging at my conscious mind to DREAM and CREATE, but they mostly just make me feel guilty for not doing it.

Stones cannot do what I really want, and that's stir up the impulse in me to accomplish something. I'm a horrible procrastinator. I'm not proud of it, and try to combat it. The best advice I have for anyone like me is to just do it. Whatever it is. Right now. As soon as you think of it.

Don't write it down. Don't plan it for another day. Right now. Do it, or you never will. 

I seem to work best spontaneously. I spontaneously clean, spontaneously cook, spontaneously write. Eventually I'm going to have to teach myself to do these things on a schedule, but a little rebellious spark always balks against restraint, against control I feel I've lost. The cure to that is to latch onto the thought I get when I spontaneously do something, dwell on it until it's a raging desire to accomplish that goal, and then have at it. Encourage yourself, remind yourself how fun whatever you want to accomplish is, imagine the goal finished and how great it will look/feel/sound/taste.

I can't manage my job, my obligations, my creativity, without making them fun, without thinking how much I love whatever is before me. Eventually, I've found that the love I used to imagine is real and the desire to accomplish the goal is a driving force. I couldn't stop it if I tried.

We are not stones, and the impulse of creativity/productivity is not inert. It is motion. It is fire, and it pulls and pushes and makes you very uncomfortable until you take action. So take action now. No amount of gentle, happy words telling you how great you are can beat that.

(motivational music)

1 comment:

  1. You're right! I'm also one of those people.. I've to do things as soon as the thought occurs, otherwise it's just not going to happen.


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