Unorthodox Sources of Motivation

Posted: October 11, 2012 in Self-Deprecation
Tags: , , , , ,

Nobody has ever accused me of being mundane, Orthodox, or conventional.  Let’s get that out of the way before I commence the crazy.  Things that get the hoi polloi all sorts of fired up tend to make me yawn with disinterest.  That could be due to my history as a wry cynic, or that I have a severe allergy to propaganda– and most motivational techniques come across as just that.  Cheers and chants (with a handful of noteworthy exceptions) tend to annoy me.  Mission statements and similar concepts of that ilk are met with the same disdain as political campaign ads.  In my less than humble opinion, and you can feel free to quote me on this–  “Motivational speech without mechanics or substance to back it is just propaganda in pretty clothing.”

Of course, there are also the personal sources of motivation– money, success, progress.  These dangled carrots, to me, feel like intangibles– especially if they are coupled with repeated indoctrination with circuitous motivational speech.  Now, some of you may be slapping your foreheads and saying, “What did you expect?  Have you not worked in sales before?”  (The answer is:  not like this, nope.)

Luckily, my company is legit-- and not unscrupulous.

Go on YouTube and look up Alec Baldwin’s “motivational” speech from this movie. Welcome to my life. The major noteworthy difference is: my company doesn’t tolerate dishonesty (unlike the one in the movie).

Some people are motivated by having a figurative (or literal) gun to their head.  Yeah, I’m motivated by the need for a paycheck– and certainly motivated by the concept of being fired.  However, that said, I’m more motivated by the promises I made to several friends– that I would personally handle their affairs and needs when it came to life insurance.   That promise upgraded the proverbial gun (usually a pistol) to full-sized naval artillery.  Forget spattering my think jelly on the nearest wall for an art student to critique, I’d end up a smoking crater.  This kind of motivation is less of the high-energy type, and more of the grim determination variety.  I cannot fail them, end of story.  Luckily, it’s in my 100% Italian/Sicilian genes to be stubborn enough to beat a cat in a staring contest.

Right about now, there are readers attempting to do this.

I swear, this will not become a habit.

No, I will not degrade to utilizing only Cheezburger memes– but the point had to be illustrated… right? Stare at the cat and quit judging me.

How’s a jaded, easily-frustrated, misanthropic, cynic like me supposed to get actually fired up?  I mean if the allure of the almighty dollar sign isn’t enough of a carrot, and I’ve got my promise standing in for the main guns of the USS Missouri (pointed at my head), what’s a guy like me do?  Sex is a fantastic motivator, but I’m going to marry Cortana– so I’m not worried about attracting tail (although trying to ensure that she never needs to work is another excellent reason to keep my nose to the grindstone).  Is it through study, inspirational reading, meditation, praise, or reprimand?  Bitch please.  It’s all in the music.

85% of my colleagues are younger than I am, and this includes both of the guys higher than I am on the food chain.  I’m only 32, which makes this even more wryly entertaining.  They can preach all they want, but it’s hilarious when someone 4 years my junior tries to browbeat me like I’m 23.  Sorry, kiddo, you can either address me like a man– or you can be ignored like a child (albeit with a humongous allowance).  I don’t get motivated by rhetoric, and their choices in music are about as demotivating.  I’m a dyed-in-the-wool metalhead, and they’re listening to a ton of club music, hip hop, and rap.  My love of the Kool Ade has allowed these blasphemies to my musical cannon bleed into my psyche, and I’ve found myself listening to Skrillex.  That’s another sidebar entirely, in fact, it’d probably have been better placed as a side-effect like in the last edition.

No, my motivation comes from a much more powerful place– the heartiest bowels of all that is Metal.  Yes, that capitalization is intentional.  When I was plodding forward a month and a half ago, four weeks into a no-business/no-paycheck binge, I found the elusive gasoline to dump on the embers of my confidence.  That jug of gasoline came from the lyrics– and the infernally majestic orchestration– of a song entitled Gateways.  Although Dimmu Borgir‘s diabolical masterpiece, as a whole, spoke to me– it’s this specific passage that woke up the indignant narcissist inside:

“The rebirth is nearing completion
As we slowly awaken from slumber
To receive the light that shines in darkness
The light that shines forevermore (forevermore)…

Be the broken or the breaker!
(Be the Giver or the Undertaker–)
Unlock and open the doors!
(Be the Healer or the Faker–)
The keys are in your hands:
Realize you are your own sole creator
Of your own master plan”

For those of you without the benefit of an English background, or a background in poetry, we’ll take pause and let you really appreciate what I took from this.

This guy gets it.

You see a mosh pit. Like the dude on the surfboard, I see opportunity, energy, creativity, motivation, and innovation.

So I came up with my own master plan, and started working on it.  I got mad, because I realized that although I’d been pitched with smoke and mirrors– it’s all on me, and I’m not gonna fail because I didn’t take the opportunity and run with it.  So, needless to say, when I’m on the road– stuck in my box at the office– or trying to push my pace into overdrive…  cue up the metal.  Gimme that sexy Viking Metal– because (as Amon Amarth would tell me) “Valhall Awaits Me.”  Throw on that PM5K, because you know “It’s Riot Time.”  Cue up some FFDP and feel completely “Bulletproof.”  Just as DragonForce says, “Through the fire and the flames, we carry on.”  The message is pretty universal– in front of unstoppable odds…  clench your fists and let your soul loose a war cry.  Die if you have to, but never go down without putting up a fight befitting a fallen god.

Interestingly, it’s the same stuff I listened to while training for the Tough Mudder.  No matter what’s on the stereo when I pull up to an appointment, I’ve always got a smile on my face– and a healthy attitude backing it up.  The punchline:  this life insurance agent derives his immediately positive energy from death metal.

Unplug.

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