February 2013

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I’ve been thinking a bit lately about motivation.  In part, I suppose, because that is part of my job these days.  I should be keeping my techs motivated to do good, accurate work.  It’s tough, though.  I suppose I try to just be fair and lead by example, and maybe I haven’t gotten much further than that with it right now.  And that’s institutional motivation anyway.  Everything is different when working within an organizational framework.  One needs to consider corporate culture.  Ethics.  The law.  It’s complicated.

Shouldn’t personal motivation be simpler?  Sometimes it doesn’t seem so, but I’ve been keeping at it.

I really got my ass kicked in broomball Thursday.  It was a good night, let me be clear.  I got my first assist, and I had some shots on goal–even if they weren’t great ones.  But man did I push myself.  I was aggressive and kept pushing.  In the second half, I started to go too far and felt it immediately.  I was playing wing, and I could feel their defense getting tired.  I scrambled like mad on a few back to back plays, sprinting harder than I had since basketball in high school.  I rotated back to the bench a minute later, out of breath and panting like I’d just gotten run over.  My breaths came so deep and hard, for a second I thought I would hyperventilate.  Right there, mortified in front of these teammates who are still very new acquaintances to me.

Things cooled down. I caught my breath, and in the end we chalked it up as a somewhat successful loss, as for the first time this season we were playing with some real teamwork and putting pressure on goal.  I spent the next day completely laid up.  I’m getting old, man, I can’t keep doing this.

And yet I do.

I’ve been striving for discomfort lately, and from it I’ve been finding a new reserve of self motivation.  It’s tough when you’re in your thirties, and so many things in life seem to be on…. I want to use the phrase “cruise control” here, but instead I think I’ll say schedule.

You live by the schedule, you die by the schedule.  You have a career–an organization and a set of peers that have daily expectations and challenges for you.  You have a home–a never ending set of responsibilities and projects.  You have a family–where do I even begin with that one?

You live by the schedule, you die by the schedule.

It’s easy to lose your motivation when locked into a circle. A routine that can seem as meaningless as it can directionless.  I’ve taken to the inconveniences to break it up and keep me moving.  The problems, the challenges.  Too many people let go and let the schedule make all the decisions for them.  I mean, it’s easy.  I can’t even call someone lazy for simply checking in every day and meeting those tasks of career, home, family.  After all, there are many who fail to even do that.  Those destined to wipe the schedule clean and start over.  Once, twice, maybe again and again. We all know a few of those folks.

It’s tough, but I’ve been at it in little ways.  Playing in a more competitive broomball league is just an example.  It’s hard, it’s kicking my ass, I have no idea how successful I’ll be, and yet I’m keeping at it.

I woke up today sore as fuck and yet as refreshed as ever.  Decided to hell with stopping by the office on a weekend (I had planned to go in).  Today I’ll set my own schedule.

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The older I get the more I seem to fall back on simple truths. The kinds of truths that we choose to believe and hold close. And for me one of the most important is this: be a lover, not a hater. In fact, let those damn haters hate.

It’s lovey dovey Valentine’s Day, and the world–especially the internet–is showering us (itself?) with a hearty salt and pepper mix of affection and cynicism. The lovers gushing, the cynics growling. Me? I’ve got a hot date with an ice rink tonight, so you won’t catch me doing much of either. While at this time last year I was getting smashed on Leviathan with my then girlfriend, the lack of either this year has not dampened my spirits in the slightest. In fact, I may have actually been asked out once or twice this week and politely ignored or misinterpreted such invitations. There hasn’t been anyone on the radar lately who has caught my attention. Well, not who’s single anyway.

But enough of that.

I’m pumped for tonight. This winter my love affair has definitely been with winter sports. I’m playing in a full ice broomball league this year, and the competition level is higher by a manifold set of notches. You might not think there’d be much difference between half ice and full ice, but it almost feels like a different game. Like the difference between put put and real golf. It’s a long, fast horizontal game. Lots of sprinting. A lot more contact. And real, actual strategy.

Fear not, I’m accustomed to dating the cold ones.

The first couple games I wasn’t sure what to make of the competitiveness. At first of course I liked it. No dumbed down casual league rules. Folks on the ice are actually trying to pass and make real plays. But as we lost two games, the flip side quickly began to show. My teammates freaking out over missed plays, goals, and losses. A mad, wide-eyed, “C’mon guys! We gotta get back in this!” I play sports in my free time to have fun first and win second, so we seem to have different ways of looking at it.

But I think they’re starting to get through to me. In a good way. And fuckin A good, this is what I wanted. All week, I’ve been obsessing over my Thursday night game. Thinking about how much sleep I get. How many minutes of practice I can sneak in before the game. What my sticking is going to be like. Hell, even what I’m going to eat today so that I don’t cramp up. I want that win.

The drive feels good. Something that I’ve been missing lately for sure. Feels like once I got my promotion last year, I settled in and started to get comfortable. Once I get comfortable, I get lazy. This seems to be a theme for me. But self improvement is also a theme, and I’ve got a very determined opinion about which of these I want to win out.

So let’s see a win tonight in broomball. And if not a win, then at least some good aggressive play and perhaps even a goal.

I was going to write about skiing here, but perhaps I’ll save that for another post. Here’s a picture from Seven Springs, where I just went this weekend with a bunch of folks. Loads of fun, and I’m definitely getting better. Can’t wait to hit the slopes again this week.

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