After busily castigating myself for the last few days for doing basically nothing, I started to wonder how much of anything that I do is purely for me.
Not to say that I’m in any way an altruistic martyr that only does things for others. Probably most of what I do, ultimately benefits me. That said, when I’m the only person that holds me accountable for my behaviour, I inevitably behave poorly. I’ve never really been one of those people who are motivated intrinsically (from within).
On the plus side, as a parent, I’ve been accountable to my kids for the past 21 years. That made cooking, cleaning, budgeting, shopping, communicating and generally getting out of bed, something that I did for other people. Downside? The little buggers went and grew up on me. They are increasingly independent (a good thing) which means that my day-to-day actions have little to no impact on them. Who cares what I do or when I do it? Not them, and not me.
In place of being a parent, I became a university student, which means that twice a week I am required to get up early and go out. It also means that I have to read/learn enough to pass my assignments. In this sense, I am held accountable by deadlines and tutors. As part of the course, I also need to log 25 hours of work placement, so I volunteer. For this, I am accountable to multiple extrinsic sources: the organisation; my tutor; and the families I will eventually be supporting. If I don’t do what I’m supposed to do, I’m letting people down; disappointing them.
I love to write – or at least I think I do – but can never find the motivation to do so. I once completed a novel (or at least part one of a trilogy). It had a beginning, a middle, and a satisfactory cut-off point which was arbitrarily called an ‘end’. It was, for me, the completion of a goal I’d had since childhood. It also signified the loss of something to aim for. That story now sits in a file and remains unedited. It is no great work of literature. I’m not even certain that it’s readable.
I do know that I’ve written more material in the past 26 days than in the preceding two years. For that, I am grateful to this thing we call blogging. Because of you, the readers, the followers, I am held accountable. Even if that is only in my own mind. It still makes a difference somehow.
So Thank You.
What motivates you?