On January 10th of this year I finished writing the script to a feature film that I felt not only passionate about but excited to share with the world. A script that as I wrote it, I felt that I was definitely going to bring into production almost immediately. I have the necessary tools, connections and resources to make it possible (at least at the independent level) yet here I am well over a week into June and I'm still yet to bring it out of the pre-production stage. The passion for the story still exists, as does the desire to share it with the world, it's the motivation that seems to be missing, and that's the part I'd like to focus on.
What Exactly Is Motivation?
Webster's online dictionary defines motivation as the condition of being eager to act and/or work; or alternatively as the force that causes someone to do something. (1) At times motivation can be easy to come by, a couple of common examples where this is often the case -although not always -are the motivation to play a favourite sport, to pack for an upcoming trip or even to have sexual intercourse. Whether these specific examples apply to you or not, we all know from experience that when motivation does exist, things just seem to not only be that much more enjoyable but they often tend to go a lot smoother.
The Role & Power Of The Mind
Our mind is a powerful tool. Not only does it help us to comprehend, react and exist within this game that we call the human experience, it also often serves as the hub for some of the most creative things that we both think of and create in this world. It should come as no surprise then that the mind more often than not plays the biggest role in determining the level of motivation that we have towards each and every task that lies in front of us.
As awesome as the mind can be, it can also be incredibly crippling, especially if we let every thought, story and past experience that it is capable of bringing up almost instantaneously impact the level of motivation that we feel. To help illustrate this I am going to once again refer to my current example of the feature film.
On the surface, the feature film is a cool project that I am excited to share with the world.
My mind at one level definitely agrees, especially since it played quite an integral role in helping to create it.
At another level my mind also had this to say:
(1) Feature films are no easy project. It's going to require months upon months of work. Are you sure you want to get yourself into that? (2) Even at the independent level movies can be very expensive to make, I don't know if you should spend what you have to make it... what if it turns out as poorly as some of your first short films? (3) You're going to obviously have to get other people involved to help make this thing, what if it just doesn't turn out? Then you not only let yourself down, but you also let all of them down AND you wasted their time to boot! (4) You've got so many other things already on the go, you should probably stick with them, they come with a lot less risk.
To many of you, I'm sure that quite a few of these mind thoughts actually seem quite rational and worth considering in my decision making process, and you're probably right. But why does what is rational so often seem to be so de-motivating?
The Mind Is Afraid Of Change
If there is one thing I've come to realize as of late -and many great authors such as Eckhart Tolle regularly allude to it -it's that the mind is afraid of change. The mind fears it because it doesn't know if it'll have the same power and even more so control over the new version of yourself that comes as a result of being open to and embracing change. The truth is, change is a wonderful thing and if you ever find yourself doubting that, just remember that even what you are used to and comfortable with now, was once new to you and required a level of change to adapt to and incorporate. Was it really so bad?
Simplification Is Key
When faced with having to do something big that you are struggling to find the motivation to do, simplifying the task to this moment can often be the most empowering thing. Rather than letting the mind project out into how much time, energy, commitment and so many other things it will require over an extended period of time, simplify to what is happening right now. Give all of yourself to the step that is required right now, and deal only with the next steps when their time comes.
The mountain always seems the steepest and the most difficult to climb when we stand right at the base of it. But once we get ourselves going, focusing and giving all of ourselves to each and every step along the way the mountain not only becomes less and less monstrous, it also tends to be conquered a lot quicker and easier than our mind could have ever anticipated.