Are you focused on a goal? What the vision you’re aiming to achieve? How do you stay motivated?
Motivation can be like quicksilver, there seems to be plenty of it, all shiny and ready to put to use but just when you need it most you reach out to put your finger on it and it all slips away.
Some folks have a single-minded focus that enables them to finish something in style and move on to the next thing without missing a beat. Others live in a scattershot world with so many options that nothing ever quite crosses the finish line.
If you’re like me, you’re probably somewhere in the middle. Ideas are a dime a dozen, the challenge is to decide which ones are worth the effort. It’s one thing to have the lightbulb moment that can change the world, executing the plan to completion is another.
With almost anything you can imagine, taking the first step is half the battle. Arriving somewhere ready to participate is the easy part, convincing yourself to get up off of the couch and out the front door is the challenge. The struggle is real!
Conceptualizing something may seem easy, but in fact, its not. It’s actually a nerve-racking process that can drive you crazy. You can think about this great accomplishment you’re capable of making until you’re blue in the face. Meanwhile, someone else gets it done.
Doing The Thing might seem monumentally difficult when you’re mulling it over in your mind, but the fact is the energy shifts as soon as you take the first step on the path and dive into the process. Dreaming and doing are diametrically opposed.
It’s important to be clear on the difference between What-You-Are-Doing and Who-You-Are-Being. If you can get the two to run on parallel tracks then you’re well on your way to having your head and your heart in alignment.
Once you take the first step towards your Goal of Choice you’ll start to notice something interesting. If your goal is a good one, (meaning that it’s a good fit for you and the World is waiting for it), then doors will open and opportunities will emerge that you never would have imagined.
In other words, if you wait for the airplane to be completely built, you’ll never learn to fly. It might seem crazy to build it while you’re flying by the seat of your pants, but somehow that’s the way our non-linear universe seems to operate.
On the other hand, if your Oh-So-Awesome-Idea is thwarted every turn of the way, at some point you may decide to make the smart move and reconsider. Like the proverbial poker player once said, “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em.”
Starting something is generally fairly easy. Finishing is another story. For every artist, writer, or musician with a track record of prolific output, there’s a dozen more with a long trail of unfinished projects behind them.
It’s as if there’s some sort of metaphysical anti-completion energy that gets stronger and stronger the closer you get to the finish line of your most lofty goals. In The War Of Art, Steven Pressfield gives this force a persona and a name: Resistance.
Resistance rears its ugly head every step of the way and masks itself in dozens of disguises. The many-headed Hydra shows up as Distraction, Drama, Self-Destruction, and more. Entertainment, Ennui, and Existential Dread are never far behind.
According to Pressfield, the trick is to fall in love with your process and make a habit out of toil. If you wait for your Muse to ride in on a wave of inspiration, Resistance will find ways to trip you up every time.
The Ninja Move is to Clear the Field. Show up every day and prime the pump. When you prove to your Muse that you’re willing to create an opening for genius to arrive day after day after day you’ll find your elusive Muse making an appearance when you least expect it.
So while lofty ambition and Big Hairy Audacious Goals are great fuel for the starting line, what gets you past the checkered flag with flying colors is a willingness to keep your head down, show up day after day, and simply make just a little bit more progress.
When it comes to motivation, the parable of The Tortoise and The Hare isn’t far from the mark. You may not be in a race to finish your Great Work, but as long as you’re steady and stay the course Resistance doesn’t stand a chance.
Much love and massive encouragement till next Monday!
Director of the Dance First Association
Publisher of Conscious Dancer Magazine