Monday, June 29, 2009


I must say that I find myself very moved by Mark McGuinness lately. This post about motivation during recession got me thinking about things and I do adore anyone who can get me thinking - which is a rather expansive thing to say if you think about it but that's fodder for another post .....

I tend to agree with what he says about the four fields of influence but find it fairly difficult to keep them all in focus all the time - I always did struggle with balance. Accordingly, motivation for me has always been whichever way I can find a balance and a sense of getting something done. When I am balanced and thusly satisfied, I am creative.

Of course there is also the issue of having so many things to keep balanced in one's head that one forgets some of them. This has necessitated a constant litany of repetition for me - this perpetual mental drone list of things I am reminding myself about and then (hopefully) ticking off. The mental noise got so loud that my creativity was eventually stifled by that too, well, my productive creativity anyway. I became incredibly good at creating mental lists and organisational skills with regards to them which is an artform to be sure (anyone with a bad memory will tell you so) but which is incredibly energy draining and for which artform one can never find reward really because all that there is to show for it's creative outpouring is that vague sense of unease when you aren't 100% positive that you got everything done that you should have.

A new way had to be found because my brain became cluttered and just like the mantra about the need to declutter your physical space so that you can think, so too the mantra which is applicable to decluttering your brain and creativity.

"The Way" (my own version of "The Secret" - :)) was identification of the areas from which my intentions sprung or my "influence zones" to quote Mark McGuiness again, and then writing those down - soul searching stuff I must say. Once that was written down, I split my zones into the fields of focus or what I like to call my "life areas" (lots of goal achievement stuff having been read - :) again) such as work, home, relationships, health etc etc and then turned each field into a number of points on a list each point being something that I thought was out of sync or capable of improvement (improving is after all a form of creativity) in that particular are of life interest for me.

I then turned each list into a sort of neverending to-do tasklist which I colour coded and put into Outlook (my most adored organiser EVER) I keep "The List" handy and amend it and add to it as new thoughts and imbalances cross my mind. The point is though, that the TICKING off on the list has become the motivator ie, today, I ticked off 5 things that I knew I had to do to succeed and keep balance and the knowledge that SOMETHING has been achieved then IS the thing that constantly keeps me motivated.

It's a bit like an Gratitude Journal except I call it my Success Journal. What works better than knowing that something is working to cause one to want to keep on working on it? What could be a better motivator? There is nothing that moves me more than knowing progress is being made and if I have no place to keep track of said progress, how do I move or motivate myself? Where do I derive that knowledge?

I truly believe that this is what has kept me sane during my emigration, during this horrendous recession, during my jobhunt, during my new marriage (yes, I even have a task list for that), during my transition to being a "domestic technician". After all, I think we all really just want to do the very best that we can at whatever we are doing and knowing that we have the tools to achieve that, is motivational. It's a lifestyle. There is that saying: " It's not the circumstances but the man which makes the difference". Applied to this topic, the ability to self motivate, to create the tools you individually need to do so, is a vital life skill for success during any times, good or bad.

Friday, June 26, 2009


I was most inspired by this Mark McGuinness post I read recently

There are so many readables about how patience and persistence are much more reliable than luck and logically and mentally, I get that. Do I, however, want to stick to the same goals for 20 years like the protagonist in the Shawshank Redemption? He had external circumstances driving him. I imagine that if I was unjustly imprisoned or starving or desperate in some other fashion based on an outward circumstance, beyond my control, to a certain extent, I might be able to find a much wider stubborn streak than I usually do now but the fact is, I am not thusly faced.

My husband and I discuss this all the tine. He wins arguments because he outlasts me he says. I say he wins them because his goal is to win whilst mine is to have the debate and be heard. We have different goals in other words and different motivators and mine being the easier one, requires less stubborn effort than his does.

That then brings me to my next thought on the subject, should we celebrate one track mindedness? Society seems to celebrate the idea of being a specialist, of dedicating decades to one line of study or career until you are the best or damn near close to it. I question that ….. Is it truly such a laudable thing to be so stubborn that you are unable to change perspective according to circumstance and/or character development If one is such a stubborn soul, does it not make change, even change for the better, a whole lot more difficult than it might be for someone a whole lot more malleable of spirit such as a me?

Now, it is true that I can be convinced to do crazy things because I try and keep an open mind – the very antithesis of being stubborn but would a better idea not then be to acquire as much knowledge about a given topic as possible AND to keep one’s mind open for any further input and last but not least, then be able to adapt accordingly?

Some would call this flying by the seat of one’s pants but it is still flying and if I was stubbornly clinging to my belief that humans couldn’t, I wouldn’t even be able to do it and I certainly get to fly in a whole lot more directions than I could if I believed that I had just one migrationary path to follow. In other words, I tend to think of stubbornness as being noble only sometimes and I find it very difficult to distinguish when those occasions arise.

I am absolutely sure that being stubborn and one track minded was magnificent in the Shawshank Redemption for example but I am not so sure that I admired it in say an Ahab or a Scrooge or a Hitler or an Amin.. On consideration, perhaps it’s their goals I didn’t admire which means then that it isn’t HOW one pursues things that that the collective we really care about, but WHAT they are pursuing – the end justifying the means and all that.

I have personally never been able to find a solid foundation in head, heart or spirit for that adage and I think I feel the same about stubbornness though I do adore a success and admire anyone who finds it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I proudly, o SO proudly, purchased my refurbished and most beloved Dell laptop three years ago and have, like a benevolent and beaming mommy, been through battery, charger and memory chip (due to overheating of the battery because of the charger) crises and survived them one and all. I have not only survived with my Dellie in fact, my adoration has increased over the years. Imagine my horror therefore, when it began it's flagging and gasping a weak ago. I pressed my fingertips to it's fevered battery location, it ran a temp, I placed my ear to it's innards, it hummed just a little too loudly. All in all, Dellie was indicating that he/she was once again ailing (we call vehicles and boats she - what do we call PC's?). I begged, I pleaded, I scolded, I nagged ......for a week ..... my pleas fell on the selectively deaf ears of my husband and Dellie hung more and more and for longer and longer and the reboots became more and more frequent.

Finally, in a moment of pique on Thursday last, I hovered anxiously yet slightly irkedly over him/her as he/she sluggishly rebooted FOR THE UMPTEENTH TIME and drank a glass of water to soothe my tortured soul (one would not want to eat and put weight on ON TOP of one's angst about the failing Dellie). As the internet connection FINALLY came "alive" and I flung myself into my chair to send some mail, I actually, despite YEARS of care, knocked my glass of water onto the keyboard and Dellie DIED - and I mean INSTANTLY! I phoned my bored engineer husband, I googled wildly on his laptop, I dug through all of our books -I desperately sought advice on how to resurrect.

Turn it upside down and fan it was the main line I discovered and that is precisely what I did. Dellie lay in state on the dining room table,upon the best and fluffiest towel in the house, being fanned gently like an Egyptian pharaoh for the 48 hours all sources had indicated was obligatory if even the slightest hope of resuscitation was to be held. Of course, I fretted over the dearth of work being done and the amount of e-mail that was probably building up but I knew that I had to do whatever it took to bring dear Dellie back to life.

It all worked!! Dellie was reborn, just as slow, just as hot and, just as overworked and hangy as ever. I sighed, I clutched myself and eventually, after an absolutely ENORMOUS nag, prevailed upon my husband to dig out his old desktop (old as in not as speed of light fast as his current one) and put it together for me. My teen wailed and wept of course as she had been in possession of it before and it had been removed until her disgusting grades improved -which hasn't happened as yet of course hence the availability.

We set it up, we plugged it all in, I began to move things onto my removable hard drive and became deeply concerned about transferring my e-mails which were in excess of 3 gigs of data which the transfer wizard couldn't handle. We finally bought some special transferral software and received the activation code on Monday morning whereupon I rushed to complete the transfer. I finalised it all by moving my Foxmarks and Outlook settings over and lo and behold, a new child was born.

What can I say? Years of unfaltering loyalty, of devotion, of doing WHATEVER it took to keep Dellie alive and now, I have speed, no hanging, so much productivity that I literally blaze a trail of light as I work. What I wondered, possessed me to cling so fiercly to that laptop that had been slowing speedy me down to slug pace? I suspect it has been about the known and fear of the unknown - the usual reason to be clingy.

The lesson or moral of the story? Blind loyalty is always .... Always..... ALWAYS stupid because it prevents one from even trying out the new often. I am downloading e-mails in a tenth of the time. I am able to run 20 apps at once. I can sit on more than one website at a time and last but not least, I have 250 gigs to play with instead of 40 with a buggy removable hard drive extension. I sincerely hope I've learnt my lesson and won't be so hopelessly devoted next time!

Last but not least, the disgustingly graded teen sits with the paint dryingly slow Dellie - a fit punishment to be sure!