Looking for Motivation

Chapter One

Guest Contributor: Shawnna Downing

Looking | Photo by Saeed Mhmdi

Looking | Photo by Saeed Mhmdi

"If it is important enough to you, you will find a way. If it is not, you will find an excuse."

We all have to drag ourselves out of bed in the morning, whether youʼre Bob Dylan or Matisse, Michael Jordan or Tony Hawk, Diana Ross or Salvador Dali. We all have the opportunity to wake up and get to work. There is no tangible difference between the heroes we admire and ourselves; weʼre all human. And yet we have an incredibly one sided perspective. We see them as moving in the world finished and complete, doing and creating the things we dream of while we see ourselves as struggling and not yet where we would like to be. What we donʼt see or consider is the process or the journey they took to get there, complete with failures, rejections and fears. We often find ourselves asking how did they do it? Or better yet, how can I?

Motivation doesn't come from a magical place, Iʼm not even sure itʼs something you work at. It seems to be that motivation is both fact and fiction. Itʼs the story we tell ourselves, itʼs the stories we tell to inspire each other. But itʼs the story that comes after something has already happened. As for the how, the how is the process, itʼs the waking up and dragging ourselves out of bed, anybody can do it.

But there is something meaningful to be found in the why we do something. Itʼs what sets us apart. Itʼs something only you possess. Itʼs the desire you have or at the very least your willingness to do something. Itʼs your curiosity. And itʼs the reason it doesn't matter who you are. Anybody can be curious, but nobody is curious in the same way you are or sees the world the way you do. You are here, you are the reason, so now what?

You probably wonʼt be able to change the whole world or at least you canʼt change it all over night, but whatʼs one thing you would like to change? Whatʼs one thing you would like to see? Itʼs time we took a moment to reflect, ponder and wonder why weʼre here and get specific; what does your personal version of the world look like?

Thatʼs where our motivation comes from. So often we donʼt do anything because weʼre afraid. Weʼre afraid of failure, of getting it wrong, weʼre afraid that weʼre not talented enough or not good enough. Even if weʼve gotten it right in the past, whatever it is - a design, a piece of music... - weʼre afraid it wonʼt happen again. We are afraid of not only the failure but that we are phony, that we are fake and that in truth we donʼt know what we are doing.

The truth is that everyone feels this, on some level or in some way. No one has it figured out - no one knows what theyʼre doing. The success stories we hear, see or have even experienced ourselves, arose from not only pushing outside our comfort zone but also from the magic of synchronicity that happens when you show up. You start. Anything worthwhile is going to be difficult, we have to stop acting so surprised by effort and hard work and to not be embarrassed by it. Our self-worth, self-love and self-respect are not tied to getting it right or to getting it wrong. Participation and persistence are really all there is. You show up as you are, as you are today, as flawed as you are, you show up.

And if whatʼs holding us back is that we arenʼt good enough then we must accept ourselves as flawed individuals and have some inner confidence in the process of improvement. You will get better if you start, and if you start you will begin to answer the question “why am I here?” You may never fully discover the answer, but if you ask, you will have the experience of a lifetime. We all wake up and then have to drag ourselves out of bed in the cold morning. Donʼt wait until you know who you are to get started. If youʼre here, youʼre ready and thatʼs enough.