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Progress and Motivation

Therapist has told me that it is possible to both be satisfied with who and where I am --

-- but to also attempt to achieve my dreams.

And I believe that to be true. You can be happy in yourself, and unanxious, yet still strive for more.

The two philosophies aren't mutually exclusive.

I'm not satisfied with the way things are, so I want to change them. I want to move.

But I can also learn to be happy with what I have, right now, today.

I've been thinking lately about what motivates people to work hard.

For some, it's fear: I.E., my shitty editing professor.

For some, it's guilt: I.E., the director of one of my films. I felt obliged to be involved in her project because she is such a nice person, and could be a great reference for me.

For some, it's positive reinforcement: I.E., my amazing editing professor. But he would tell it to you straight. He wouldn't butter you up, but he would tell you if you did well.

Fear is the shittiest motivator. It motivates ALL of us, but in unhealthy ways. It creates overanxious freaks. It creates heart attacks at 40.

Guilt is also a pretty bad motivator. Because I can't dedicate my life to someone just because they are kind, or I feel like I owe them something.

Positive reinforcement has been shown in studies to be an excellent motivator. And I believe it is. But you can't sugarcoat, either.

I've also heard this phrase: progress is the best motivator.

And I can see how that would be the case.

Positive reinforcement can encourage you to chase compliments -- to be at their every beck and call, to NEED that "atta boy" just to make it through the day. And that's not healthy, either. I cannot hang on every word of someone else's opinion. I've done that, and it's bad news.

But PROGRESS as the best motivator, that makes some sense.

Progress says: it's okay if your art is bad. You won't die. You won't get picked or panned, and you owe nothing to anyone.

You do or do not. You make progress, or you do not. No progress = definite failure.

You make progress, and you fail, and you learn. Then you fail some more, and eventually you succeed. Your heroes are just people who have made way more mistakes than you have.

8:18 pm - Monday, Apr. 17, 2017


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