What is it that stimulates growth? Or change? What is motivation and drive?
I recently read a book that I will not name because I really disliked it. I read on average one hour at night, more sometimes. This book, which I thought would be a commentary on culture and current events was actually more like a self-help book. I am not a fan of self-help books. I find that they latch onto certain circumstances and if the reader does not fit the mold, they are less self-help and more self-righteous. Sometimes they are fantastic and broad enough to cover a lot of ground, but some people want things more specific to them. Or, they want extremely broad topics (which I like) and it’s more open to intuition and self-reflection.
This one discussed the downfall and negative nature of being busy. It emphasized why we should not need to be busy all the time, so to drop the full-time work, drop the volunteering, cut back on exercise, don’t take photos for social media, focus predominantly on things that make you happy only, like hobbies (but then don’t take them so seriously that you are driven to excel at them). Excellence is the downfall of this generation (millennials and forward, which I am part of). Ugh.
Growth is trying something new. Growth is looking at all the things you do and maybe adding a new addition. Whether that addition is a new family member (human or pets or plants), or a new hobby, or about a new academic course, it’s about expanding.
Change is replacing something. Running doesn’t work for you anymore? Start swimming. It’s not about dropping the concept of fitness entirely; it’s about finding something that suits you more in this moment. Maybe change is dropping fitness for the previously mentioned academic course.
Motivation is the desire to be doing something. Not a “runner” at all? Start small. Pick what you want to gain from it (empowerment, fitness, getting outdoors, even losing weight if that’s what get’s you going) and go with that. Go with what you want to gain and keep that reason, that desire, in mind.
Drive is pushing a little further. Running 1km today? Try 1.1km tomorrow. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to have that drive to go faster or further. If the motivation was the empowerment, you can use that drive to put yourself in new places, new challenges, new experiences.
I started swimming recently. I am really bad at it, but currently I am better at it than I am at running. A few weeks ago, I could only do 8-10 laps of a pool. Then I was able to do 12. A couple days ago I did 15. That’s 750metres. If I compare it to my running, that is still less than 1km and a massive drop in what I used to do. However, it is growth. I will keep swimming even when I am able to run again because I enjoy it. It is change, because it will mean less time running to accommodate time in the pool. I am motivated by the difference in the fitness experience, and I am proud of myself for even just one lap. The drive? My drive is to keep adding laps and start doing them faster, because that is the kind of person I am. I’m not competing with anyone else; I’m just trying to do more each time than the last time.
That is where the book dissatisfied me. It’s easy to justify leaving behind all of the things that might be scary or challenging. It absolutely is and I would never criticize someone for not wanting to run or swim because it’s daunting to them. At the same time, I would never judge someone who chooses to do all the things or add things or try to do things to a different degree.
I know I focus a lot on the things that we can do. Please know that if you are choosing not to do a single thing that I do, I will not think less of you. I will be there to support you if you want to learn to run or swim, and I will also be there if you want to have potato chips for dinner and spend the day watching horror movies (which I did 4 days ago). Just don’t let anyone push you to do more in the peaceful life that you love, or make you pull back from a full life that you love.