Thursday, August 17, 2006

Ponderation about Motivation

On my drive to work, I started pondering motivation. What drives people? Since I was driving to work, I started thinking about all the other folks around me driving their cars to work. What motivated them to get up, primp, jump into their cars and get going? Never mind WHERE they were going…that's irrelevant. Assuming they are going somewhere that pays them to be there each day. Why do they do it?

That skinny guy eating a granola bar in the Grand Cherokee…what's his motivation? A family at home to support? Aging parents that might depend on him soon to pay their bills? Or maybe that trip to France that he's always dreamed about?

The chubby black lady driving the bright yellow (ouch, my eyes!) Mustang…what's her motivation? Paying for gas on her sporty car? Just getting the bills paid? Or is she working towards a greater purpose? Does she dream about changing the world someday?

What compels us to wrap our lives around a job? Money, of course, is key. But the money is simply the middleman. Money is simply a means to an end.

Money (and by "money" I mean the pieces of green paper that we exchange to buy goods and services) is worthless taken at face value. It's paper, people. Ah, but it's important paper. It REPRESENTS. It represents our end goals….food…clothes…iPods….pedicures.

If we gather enough of these green pieces of paper (either physically or virtually) then our dreams can get bigger. A new car. New house. New boobs. A new product or service that will change the way the world operates.

But do we all think about this during the average week? Do we stop and think about WHY we are going to work? Or do we just do it because everyone else is doing it? Because we have nothing else to do? Because we think it's "expected" of us? Because we are too lazy to come up with another method?

I don't have any answers to these questions. And just when I started really getting my thinking going…I arrived at work. And I had to go in because, hey, what else am I gonna do?


Cagey said...

I think most people go to work because they have NO CHOICE.

dorothy said...

I am probably the best person to start this conversation with, because I have thought exactly two years of my life (solid) about this question, and more specifically why I go to work. Which is why I'm doing what I'm doing in my free time - so that eventually when it all works out, my work will be something that makes me feel like me, instead of just something that makes me feel really f*cking tired and pissy all the time.

Goofy Girl said...

Ah, but we always have a choice. Free will is always an option. Lots of us are just to chicken to test it.

mboardman said...

We have freewill and choice, yes, but its not all laid out in front of us. I think alot of people feel trapped. You start out not knowing any of the wider concerns, you get a job or two to support your need for gas, food, beer, and rent. That slowly turns into one of the dumbest and oddest creations Ive ever heard of - a "career" and in the process of making that pursuit less monotonous, you pair up with someone, maybe have kids, buy a house, whatever. All these events serve to make you feel more "fulfilled" because everyone else is doing it too. You're told these are levels of success, and thus happiness. Its reality, at least here in the west. Then when you're tired of the never-ending process of paying and earning, and escalation of material needs and wants, you cant get out. Not without being very brave anyway. You're right C - most of us are chicken. As we get older, we are less "able" to consider giving up comforts of life. Stability for you, means the same for everyone else. Living on an island isnt the answer either. Im not sure what is. Remember our conversation about 5 years ago on this point?

mboardman said...

I also agree with Cagey, whole-heartedly. We are all caught in a system, a system of control. The Matrix. Im serious. Its not in the future with lots of guns and tight vinyl bodysuits, but its a form of control. Uh-oh, trash man is here I need to go.....

Me said...

Good post. I am having lots of motivational issues as my job is super-sucking, so I've been thinking about this too.

I kind of agree that everyone has a choice, but some choices are really no choice at all. A couple of years racking up debt while "working for myself" made me realize that work and a steady paycheck is a GOOD thing (even if the job isn't).

I go in in the morning because I choose that stress over the stress of not being able to pay the bills. Because my family depends on me. Because we choose not to change our standard of living.

I just have to wonder, though, if I'll regret these choices. I wonder if the stress will put me on bedrest or have a long-term effect on my baby. If these what-ifs were a reality, my non-choices might suddenly become options.

So, maybe motivation is inherently a combination of choice and perspective?

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