The Cold Penguin

expanding the box

Motivation is powerful and fleating

on August 12, 2013

Most blogs probably start with an introduction to the writer and the writer’s world (at least I would guess).  But that’s not my style.  I’m going to hop right into things and I’m sure you will find out bits and pieces about me throughout this blogs lifespan, which may be several days or several years.  Most likely the timespan will be somewhere in between.  Well, because, as the title says, motivation comes and goes, ebb and flows, and is unreliable to a fault.

Most humans suffer from difficulty finding and maintaining the appropriate amount of motivation to succeed in varied aspects of their life, from weight loss and athletics, to education and career, to even finding the right mate.  There are moments will you have so much drive and determination to reach your goal it’s all you can focus on, while other times you are so unmotivated your actions derail or almost derail all your motivational progress.

I woke up after a very unrestful sleep this morning filled with some motivation.  That is a funny feeling – just having a bit of motivation.  Not so much to take all my attention, but enough to keep me from destroying any of my previous efforts.  I guess this is what most would call the normal amount of motivation.  The just right amount of motivation for the average person to be slightly below, slightly above or just average in all or most aspects of their life.  And that’s a great thing.  But it has not been my norm for quite a while now, so I’m adjusting to the norm. 

The past several months, I’ve found myself either being overwhelmed by so much motivation that I can’t gather my thoughts and actions into a logical pattern or so under-motivated that the couch becomes my very best, and only, friend. 

That’s one of the things this economy and job market can do to you.  You give and give, and then get tired of the rejection, so you just give up.  (Tidbit #1 about me: I’m currently a job-seeker.)

While the normal world is working, I’m searching for a job or trying to fill my time in a productive and cost-effective way.  How do I do that?  Well, not very well for one thing.  But mostly I exercise, run errands, clean, read, watch television, and of course check out all the latest job posts on various websites. 

I keep getting advice from my husband (fact #2: I’m married) to be aggressive.  And in his field, aggression pays off.  Cutthroat business is not my style.  I do my best to “sell” myself, but not become that annoying person who ignores the “No Phone Calls.” post on most job ads and call until I receive an answer.  In the hubby’s field, that’s ambition.  In my world, that’s bothersome, not paying attention to the rules, and just rude.  So we do butt heads a bit when talking about the job search.  It frustrates us both and can leave us both unmotivated to discuss anything job related. 

Hmm..frustration leads to a lack of motivation.  Perhaps I’m on to something here.  Frustrated you are not getting an interview and what do you do?  Spend less time sending in resumes and filling out applications.  Annoyed that the dog just won’t sit on command?  Consider him/her a “stupid” dog and learn how to adjust to their non-sitting ways.  I can think of a zillion examples in which frustration leads to demotivation.

So is there a way to avoid frustration?  Absolutely not.  Is there a way to better deal with frustration?  I’m sure there is.  Generally I take a little break.  Not a long one – but just a little.  Maybe a week off of applying for jobs, or a few days off from trying to teach the dog to sit, and then jump back into it with renewed motivation.  (As a side note, I do have a dog *#3* who is an excellent sitter).

Taking breaks from things is not my style.  I once took a “work personality test” and scored incredibly high on the Focus category.  When I get into something, I zone in and work and work until I perfect it (or come as close to perfect/finished as I can).  For the most part, I hate things left undone.  (There are a few exceptions – ask my husband how much he is annoyed with me leaving papers/mail all over the house and not properly filed.)  I hate the unknown.  I want things settled.  I’m not patient and am somewhat scared of the future.  So when I don’t have a job lined up, or I don’t know when the dog will ever sit, it eats me up inside.  The questions of when? where? why? how? fill me up with anxiety and a lot of worst-case and bad-case scenarios.  So I just have the desire to either fix it fast or get scared and don’t do anything.  Either path I choose, it’s not the best.  I’m either doing nothing, hoping that the fix-it fairy will come down with her magic wand and make everything better.  Or I’m grasping at straws, anything will make things better, right?

Well sadly there is no fairy.

And anything will not make things better.  I have a habit of jumping from the pot to the frying pan.  Mainly because of this pattern I just described.

I believe I’m on a path to something right for a change, but I don’t know how long and bumpy this path is going to be.  How many lessons do I have to learn along the way?  How many ups, and more scarily important, how many more downs, do I need to experience to get to my correct destination?  And really, can I at least have a glimpse at my final destination because I have no clue what it looks like!  My fear of the unknown, not liking things settled, and impatience make this an incredibly anxiety-producing and just flat out frightening prospect.  But I try to hold on to the belief that something wonderful is coming.  And try to hope it is coming sooner rather than later.  That way, the bumps are a little more tolerable.


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