Motivation – the Train that Never Arrives

“We always have time for the things we need to do,
But never enough time for the things we ought to do.”

I have been waiting for the right motivation all my life. I have created many stories and characters in my head.  I’ve been dreaming of the day when I would finally finish my masterpiece. Then it hit me: Will I ever get it done? Where is my Motivation? 

Thinking is not doing. I know this. The above quote is from a friend and mentor who warned me about this nearly forty years ago. Still, it has taken me a very long time to truly understand what he was trying to express to me.

Why does motivation arrive for what I need to do and not for what I ought to do? It’s because writing, with the aim of publishing, is a risky business and the survival instinct in humans is all about reducing risks. Do I want to stand out from the crowd? Sure, I do. But, only in theory. Just thinking about how it will open myself up to public criticism makes me want to stay in bed all day safely hidden under the blankets.

This fear of risk-taking is the same reason why so few people do anything out of the ordinary. They fear starting their own businesses or speaking in public. It’s so much easier to simply keep our heads down and do the things people expect me to do. Mowing the lawn or washing the dishes may not be pleasant things, but they are familiar things to do, comfortable things. But when I up my pen – ink or digital – to begin something new that fear begins well up in my chest. To make it go away, I begin to look for the things I “need to do.” The fear subsides, but the desire to write continues to gnaw away in my heart and mind.

Motivation is never going to arrive. At age 61, I know that now. I must push on without it.

I wonder will it get easier? Will obscurity be my future? If so, I am afraid of nothing. Will fame cure that fear? Doubtful. Most famous people say celebrity status only made all their insecurities worse. What if the worse happens and I’m humiliated? Well, I’m old enough to have been there already – so what am I really afraid of? I think it’s a phantom fear and that’s how I must think about it to continue on.

How will I do it? I have thought about it a lot these past few months. And now when I start to recognize that terrible, debilitating fear of the risk welling up, I try to take courage and push that fear away.  I must concentrate on what I want to write. I must dare to make time for my art and do it regularly. Lastly, I remind myself: I need to do what I ought to do.

On the Gladiator Games in DC this Week

Two big fails:

1. Men shouldn’t use their virginity to defend themselves. They can defend a woman’s honor, but not themselves. Just don’t do it. It’s not a good look.

2. Women, by the age of 53, should know what “exculpatory” means. Which explains why she provided the names of witnesses who didn’t back her up. Besides, that, naming your “friend” before asking her? Doesn’t say much about your friendship.

If I were advised to do either of these things, I would have told them to go to hell.

I am back

So after a long break, I am working on some new stories.  I am also reworking this website.

I’m not sure of my posting schedule at the moment, but I will try to not be a stranger to my own site. 🙂

The Mind of God: The Promise of String Theory

 

There is a Russian proverb which goes: If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.

I was thinking of that saying these last few weeks while I try to find time  to write my stories (a full time job in itself), blog, draw, and experiment with my new camera – all while holding down a full time job. Then there are the children and the grandchildren – all of whom I want to spend more time with.

Not willing to give up on any of these rabbits, I’ve also been doing a lot more reading.  Which brings me to the subject of my current read: Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory and the Continuing Challenge to Unify the Laws of Physics by Peter Woit.

I’ve had this book for a long time and started to read it several times. Unfortunately, it brought back such conflicting emotions about my college days (where I earned a Bachelor of Science in Physics and a minor in Computer Science) that I kept putting it down. In those days, I felt confused over the material we were learning. We studied a great deal of mathematics that we were assured would help us with post graduate studies, but seemed to have nothing to do with science. I was never a stellar student to begin with and I left the university feeling depressed about it. To be fair to myself, I had a lot of personal troubles at home which left me with limited time to concentrate on my studies. Still, I felt that I had no future in Physics since I felt lost in the last year or two, where I began to pick up Computer Science courses. Here, I easily excelled (thanks to the Physics and Mathematics courses).

Mr. Woit did Post Doc work in Physics, but eventually switched over to Mathematics. The  reassuring part of the book for me was that he felt the same confusion as I (and many of my classmates) felt as an undergraduate.

It’s very hard for people who don’t have a firm grasp of Calculus to follow current ideas in Physics (it’s hard for people who do, too, unless math is a natural talent). He writes about the split in the physics community over how to approach modern physics. Having reached a point where we are limited in our ability to observe smaller and smaller particles directly, do we abandon the old methods of science where we insisted that the theoretical research match up with experimental results or do we abandon that approach in order to explore theories that are more elegant and interesting, but do not match reality?

Continue reading “The Mind of God: The Promise of String Theory”

We Will Be Gods: Can Humanity Live Forever?

With the death of Stephen Hawking this week we are reminded of his warning to humanity that we must colonize the universe or face extinction. The reason we must leave Earth is that staying here is too risky for humans. Asteroids, a sudden burst of solar activity, or our own self-destructive behavior threatens the human race at any moment. The idea is that we leave the nest, Earth, and spread out into the universe increasing our survival chances.

This idea was certainly a popular one among Baby Boomers. We grew up with Science Fiction stories about humans populating the universe and eventually evolving into immortal beings. This was a comforting idea for children who grew up in the Cold War era where the fear of sudden nuclear annihilation was constantly lurking in our young minds. Naturally, we looked for ways to overcome that threat. But, is this really the future of humanity or an unrealistic belief system built on an instinctive human desire to defeat death? Is all that is necessary for humans to evolve into gods is to give us enough time?

Elon Musk seems to believe that space travel is the right path for humanity. I don’t doubt he’ll have many volunteers ready to commit themselves to a suicidal flight to Mars. But, why are they volunteering? Is it for adventure or for a mythological future they believe in?

I’m all for adventure and pushing the limits of human achievement, but I wonder at an effort that promises so much about a future we can’t possibly know.