Saturday, April 30, 2011

(Appropriately) Passionate Motivation

I’m involved in a business that I intend to transition into, gradually getting out of my current occupation. So far, I haven’t done very much to propel myself toward what I say I want and, being a reflective person, I examine myself fairly constantly to try and figure out why that is.

I suppose any time one endeavors to make a significant and substantive change in ones life, one needs to overcome the inertia imposed by the comfort of complacency. Be that as it may, I find it troubling how long I’ve remained effectively motionless.

It could be caused by one or more of any number of things. Faith in the business I’m transitioning into, for example. I’m certain this isn’t the main problem. There is one particular aspect of the business that has me curious about it’s effectiveness in the current economy, and the direction I fear it’s going, but it’s not a serious concern that would prevent me from moving forward.

It could be fear preventing me from moving forward. I don’t deny periods of fear - mostly due to the unknown, of course - but I really don’t think that’s had a paralyzing effect. It’s reared it’s ugly head from time to time, but I can get past fear. I’m not afraid of fear.

Laziness is another suspect in this mystery. I absolutely have times when I’m lazy. More times than I wish to admit. But laziness just means you don’t feel like doing something, and, for whatever reason, you allow your feelings to dictate your actions. It’s simply a matter of discipline. Just steel your resolve and the laziness goes away. that’s not what I’m experiencing.

The next two possibilities are somewhat related, but also somewhat distinct. Motivation and passion. My motivation is the thing I’ve mentally attacked the most in this search. But motivation has two components. We all think of the internal component - do we feel motivated, and thus, act on that? But there’s a definite external aspect to motivation. There are external reasons that should “motivate” us to action. Just because we don’t move, doesn’t mean the external motivation is not there. We only act when we’ve internalized the external!

Viewed in that light, I have plenty of motivation. There’s a lot about my life (and that of my family) that I would love to improve.

That leaves passion. I’ve often commented about myself that I have myriad interests, but no passions. I’ve said that there’s really nothing that I feel passionately that I must do. I’m actually not sure that’s true, the more I think about it.

I feel passionately that I need to help people, in general, and families, in particular - and this business I mentioned does just that.

I feel passionately that I’m supposed to learn what it is that God wants from my life, and then to do it - and that may also be this business.

I feel passionately that I’m supposed to provide for my own family - again, this business has the potential of meeting that goal, as well.

I feel passionately that I need to be involved in my son’s life as much as possible. This business, done correctly, could free up much time to that end.

So, what’s the problem? Why am I standing still despite having both motivation and passion?

As an exercise, I was given the task of creating a “Dream Board” or “Dream Book” - basically a collage of things that are important to me for both a direction in life, and what I’d like to attain in life. If wealth were to be my lot, what would I want to do with it?

Some people are very motivated by money, and in my opinion, this exercise is largely based on that reality. If you know what you want, materially, out of life, the idea is that having a reminder ever-present to which you can refer, will keep your efforts on track and help you attain your goals.

Well, this project was quite difficult for me. Firstly, because, as I said earlier, I have very diverse interests, which results in “wanting” much. I began by gathering images of most of my interests, and proceeded by carving away the more trivial items to get to a core group of things that I’d really like to have or achieve.

Another reason this was difficult for me is because my nature is truly a dichotomy - and it always has been. It’s always been very difficult for me to reconcile my disparate desires, and this was certainly no exception.

What I mean by that is that I absolutely have material desires, but I also have a very strong desire to discover and obey God’s plan for me. I don’t necessarily think that the two are at odds with each other. I think God wants us to prosper. When we prosper, we are better positioned to give back and help those that need help. I have no problem with Christians being wealthy. I don’t even have a particular problem with wealthy people living like they’re wealthy. There’s a certain propriety to that. But I don’t know if that’s meant to be the destiny God has in mind for me.

If I were wealthy, there are a lot of charities and causes that I can readily think of that I would contribute to and advance the causes of. I would do what I thought God wanted me to do with the resources He gives to me to manage. I would also enjoy the wealth and have no problem doing so.

The problem I have is with the wanting first and attaining second. I have a problem putting material things on my wish list. I just feel that it promotes getting to your goal for the wrong reason. I know others don’t have an issue with this, and that’s fine, but I do, and I’m finding it difficult to get past.

How I’ve proceeded thus far is that I’ve created my “Dream Book” beginning with how I will improve myself and my family relations, then how I would help others. The end of the book is where I’ve put my material desires. At least, in this way, I can mentally say, “And if I ever get rich, this is what I would buy for myself, after these other areas are addressed”. But I still struggle with it.

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