Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Search for Motivation

I have admired my daughter's discipline throughout her life, but especially as she has applied it to practicing her cello. I struggle with myself daily to be more disciplined and productive. Leo Babauta at Zen Habits says:
"...if you think you don’t have discipline, you don’t need it. What you need is to commit to your goal or habit and fully motivate yourself...

...I think that most of us believe that discipline is something you either have or don’t have — some believe you are born with it, and some,... believe it is something you can develop as a habit. But what exactly is it we’re talking about when we say the word “discipline”?

If I wake up early every morning to run, do I have discipline? Most people would say that I do. But, as someone who regularly wakes up early, and who runs frequently (not every day), I can testify that I for one do not have discipline. I am anything but disciplined, and never have been.

So how do I explain my ability to wake up early, and to run on a regular basis? Simple: I have adequate and varied motivation. I get up every morning, not out of discipline, but because I really want to — and have tricked myself into doing it. I get out the door and go for a run not because I’m super disciplined, but because I really want to."

I know Molly has a hierarchal series of goals that motivates her. Long term, she knows she has to reach a certain skill level to have a viable career as a musician. Short term, she wants to be first chair or win the concerto competition, or not embarrass herself at her recital.

Leo also has a list of 'motivation hacks'. I have found only a couple of them helpful in the past. Scott Young has another 20, with some overlap. I can read all the lists I want. It won't do any good if I don't PRACTICE.

Just for fun:
Friday we enjoyed the Chad Fisher Group at the Arts Alfresco event at Aldridge Gardens. Many in the audience brought drinks and dinner. The jazz and the atmosphere made a very pleasant evening. Next on their calendar is a performance of Shakespeare's "A Comedy of Errors" by the Park Players. Check it out--we will!

I watched "Hero". A beautiful movie in the vein of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", it's about the attempts of four assassins to kill the first Chinese emperor, Qin, during his bloody and ruthless campaign to unify the country. My husband found it slow, but I loved the use of color and the choreography of the stylized combat. For all the conflict, only a few tiny drops of blood are shown--unlike in my husband's beloved action movies.

Nothing produces such odd results as trying to get even. -Franklin P. Jones

Those who are incapable of committing great crimes do not readily suspect them in others. -Francois De La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680)

A single moon
Bright and clear
In an unclouded sky;
Yet still we stumble
In the world’s darkness.
- Ikkyu (1394-1481)

The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say, "The children are now working as if I did not exist." -Maria Montessori, educator (1870-1952)

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