Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Motivation to start something new

Starting a new business is exciting, but overwhelming just the same. There’s a lot to manage and learn, and many expectations to fulfill. Feelings of excitement in a new endeavor are often shared with anxiety – and sometimes that can really slow you down. So how does one motivate to move forward and embrace something new?

There’s a ton of resources in the motivational, “self-help” category these days. Some of it is downright hokey and a lot of it is just a rehash of age old wisdom. There is nothing new under the sun, Ecclesiastes 1:9-14. But I think the value in all this is in the reminding. And in many cases you can find very practical suggestions to action. The trick, I think, is in finding the words that move you.

My latest find in the motivational category is "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin. I haven’t finished yet, but in general, I can say that Ms. Rubin’s book suits my style. Rubin, a writer, wife and mom in NYC, albeit with a pretty sweet life, was going about her daily routine when she was struck by the question - Am I Happy? So began a year long effort to apply various happiness strategies to her life systematically on a monthly basis.

So, why does this book speak to me?
• First off, I agree that those with a positive outlook are not easily thwarted by obstacles. Though it may sound trite, working on happiness sounds right. It may help the rest of life flow a little easier.
• Secondly, Rubin did a lot of homework here, from Plato to Thoreau, to the great religions, as well as scientific research and current trends in positive psychology. For me, if you’re going to argue something, please back it up.
• Finally, "The Happiness Project" is a readable memoir peppered with relevant quotes (and I like quotes!) that remind one how to turn a situation. One example relates to Rubin’s frustration when her husband doesn’t pitch in with the housework (well, at least not up to her standards). Sounds silly, right? But these are the things that actually lead to arguments! Here Rubin quotes the twentieth century English writer G.K. Chesterton, “It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light.” Yes, thank you. I am reminded. Try to keep your focus on the great things about this special person in your life. And the not so great… well, nobody’s perfect. Great words to remember if you're fussing about your own shortcomings, too!

What’s really working for me right now is a phrase from Rubin’s chapter on parenthood - “The days are long, but the years are short.” I mentioned this one in my book club the other day and there was a collective “Ahhh”. From the viewpoint of a parent, of course, it really rings true. Remember to be patient; those kids will be off before we know it. I also hear in those words a gentle reminder to move forward. Don’t dwell on the “what ifs” – time is passing. And yes, some days are really overwhelming with a lot of loose ends flying around. But that’s just life and we need to get it going while we can.

So even though it is the middle of January and not an otherwise auspicious day, today I'm posting this blog, moving forward, crossing one thing off my list... How about you? Where do you find motivation to start something new?

Victoria @ Quote Palettes ™

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Lao Tzu

“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” Abraham Lincoln

1 comment:

  1. Not bad article, but I really miss that you didn't express your opinion, but ok you just have different approach