We all need a little motivation to get us through the day. To get us to that step class at the gym. To get us to write today. To do the laundry or clean the bathroom.
Guilt has worked well in my life as a motivator - if I don't clean the bathroom the next time I have people over it will be gross and I'll feel like crap. But it isn't always available.
I recently had a conversation with a friend about whether I'm motivated by the carrot or the stick - the goal of being a size 8 again or the fear that I'm gonna gain another five pounds to get my rear to the gym. After some serious soul searching, I've come to the very disappointing realization that I'm definitely motivated by the stick.
The fact that there are rewards when I finish this book (namely payment for my work) doesn't motivate me nearly as much as the possibility that I'm going to be late turning the book in and gain a reputation with my publisher. Until that possibility is eminent...I can procrastinate with the best of them. Some people like to morph this into, "I just work better under pressure." It's a lie. The pressure isn't the motivator, the fear of failure, the potential repercussions, these are what motivate us stick people. We just have to wait until the stick is whistling at our rears before we really fear.
I had myriad carrots dangling before my nose to get this book done early. I had plenty of time to make that a reality. Did I do it? Well...yes, I probably will do it because I'm almost finished with the book. Could it have been done long before now? Yep. I couldn't feel the heat of that stick swinging behind me yet.
The thing is, I don't just do this with my writing. I do it with everything. Why do laundry on Saturday morning when I could wait and do it Sunday night? What's the stick? If I don't do it then I don't have clean clothes to wear. I did it in school. Why write the paper today that's due next week when I could read a book instead? To us stick people, there is an endless supply of time and tomorrows.
It's taken me a very long time to come to grips with this aspect of my personality. I'm absolutely certain that it bugs the hell out of the people in my life. The question becomes, is it something I want to change? I'm really not sure. So far, it hasn't caused me great pain or suffering...I might just have to take the stance that if it ain't broke don't fix it. Until then...
So, are you a carrot or a stick person? Do you wish you could change to the other? Is there anything you routinely procrastinate on?