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motivation

The gods of motivation

As you may have noticed, dear reader – I’m back from a long hiatus! I recently published my first blog post in SEVEN MONTHS, after finally being motivated to get back into blogging. What elbowed me in the ribs, you ask? This:

blog comment

I regularly read a few blogs, but BugBytes is one of my favourites. This gal is absolutely hilarious, and one amazing writer! A couple of other blogs I read regularly are FotogFoodie, Outdoor Voice (who <AHEM> hasn’t posted since APRIL, but is nonetheless hilarious), Leila’s Life of RileyKAON Photography, and Life Takes Over, and I seem to have enough time to read and comment, but obviously don’t make enough time to write. Julie’s comment served as an elbow in the ribs: GET GOING.

Then I wrote [two] [posts], and already have a few more planned for next week! The world works in mysterious ways…

This morning, some more motivation arrived from the universe. I logged in to check on my stats and see if any new comments needed to be approved, and I found this:

200-likes

I hadn’t really been keeping great track of things, and after a seven month break, I wasn’t expecting anything as exciting as a shiny graphic with the number 200 on it! Apparently, I was on the cusp of breaking 200 likes just before I fell into the abyss of laziness. Obviously that isn’t such a huge thing (Clearly I need a larger readership!), but what a great thing to see when I just got started again. They like me! They really like me!

I’m motivated to make more entertaining posts, and keep the ball rolling. This is unlikely to gain me fortune and fame, but if I can make a handful of people laugh and smile, it’s worth it! So thank you KSUJULIE and UNIVERSE for elbowing me in the ribs.

I’m out there, Jerry, and I’m lovin’ every minute of it!

Here’s what I’m thinking…

A friend and fellow blogger came to me last week with a dilemma. She’s a stellar writer, but has been struggling with whether or not her Blog has value. And then something happened….

Here is a recount of her question, and my answer. What are your thoughts?

Rebecca writes:

As you may know, I have been toiling away at that blog of mine. Blogging does not come easily to me. As of this morning I had 65 blog posts and 9 followers. Two and a half months of hard work and only 9. I feel a lot of despair over that little 9. (Yes I know how silly that sounds. It gets worse) My ex decided this week that he would start a blog. The man is at times illiterate,has no grasp of phonics or grammar and cannot spell but he’s going to blog anyway. He’s blogged a total of 4 posts and already has 10 followers.

Here’s where my anger comes in. I feel that blogging was my thing. I made a big, life-changing deal about it. Developed a concept. Made a year long commitment. This isn’t something that I deem trivial. And now I feel like my thunder has been stolen. And a little like I’ve been slapped in the face. I feel like my ex and his blog have made a mockery of my hard work.

I think I’m being childish and would like to get over it. But I feel hurt by it. I need an impartial view on it. Right now I just want to vent about it in my blog, how unfair I think it is. And part of me wants to quit because if no one is really reading it, part of the fun has been taken away. I still talk to my ex and don’t want to resent him even more than I already do.

If you want to have a look at his blog… http://out-side-that-box.blogspot.com and thanks for listening.

Here’s what I’m thinking:

Aha! Before even venturing into the world of blogs written by exes, I have a few words of wisdom (if you’re ok with calling it wisdom).

If this was me – my initial reaction would be the same as yours. I’d be thinking What the hell – blogging is MY THING. Is he trying to make a mockery of me? How dare he?! Etc., etc.

Then, after that – I’d probably consider the following…

Maybe he knows about your blog…. which leads us to: IMITATION IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF FLATTERY.
If he’s writing a blog because he knows about yours, it only means that he thinks it’s an awesome idea. Who’s awesome idea? YOURS! Therefore, I can only deduce that he thinks you are awesome, whether he’s willing to admit it or not. 😉 (Monkey see, monkey do!)

Who gives a bucket of squid how many ACTUAL followers you have? Consider this: I have only a few subscribers to my blog, but ZOUNDS more people actually read it. I don’t rely on that little “followers” number, because it’s incredibly inaccurate (and depressing). I’ve had random unexpected comments from the web-universe and had no idea they read my blog. It’s like cockroaches – if you see one, there are 100. Same goes for comments and followers.

Conversely – your ex may have 10 followers, but think about this: how many of those people actually read each post? Are they actually getting anything out of these posts? How many of those people actually pass for human? Oh yeah – and WHO CARES who reads any blog but yours?! 😉

Let’s get one thing straight. What you have to say is IMPORTANT, INFORMATIVE, and FUNNY AS A FLYING PENGUIN. Keep doing it! Try your best to remember your goal, and don’t let anything keep you from it. In the grand scheme of things – your ex’s blog is just another whiff of stardust in this web-universe. It should not matter to you who follows or reads or comments on his blog – UNLESS his blog is important to you and offers you something of value 🙂

The only thing that should matter to you is the awesome effort you put into your blog, and how you feel about it. Are you proud of your blog? (Insert YES here). I AM! So who gives a rotten jellybean if all of your exes start blogs and have ONE MILLION followers? Your blog will still be your blog 🙂 CONTINUE MAKING IT AWESOME!

So toil away, dear writer. You are doing an excellent job. Try your best not to let your ex (or any other “writer”) distract you from your goal. The thing that matters most is YOU. The only thing you can control is YOU. #1 on your planet is YOU (and sometimes your kid.. but really, if you are on an airplane – they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first and I think that’s a pretty valid measure that you are indeed #1).

Why not try turning things around. Subscribe to his blog for kicks, and read it for squirts and giggles. You can start by silently chuckling at the sub-par spelling and grammar. Eventually that will get old, but that’s part of the process. You never know – he might have something interesting or valid to say. Take those nuggets of value with you and throw the rest in the trash (or the compost, if you’re environmentally conscious). Use his crap to fertilize your garden!! 🙂

In almost every situation, our initial reaction (before we take time to THINK) is a childish or negative one. This is the way it goes.

So take your breath,
and refocus on the important stuff,
YOU.

Virtual farming vs. real life?

I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday (on MSN,  ironically – virtual talking) about virtual farming. We were joking back and forth about people who spend so much time working on these virtual farms, planting virtual crops, waiting for them to virtually mature, “buying” virtual decorations for their virtual environment, and feeding virtual animals.

What is it about virtual farming that keeps you hooked? You feel compelled to finish harvesting your entire crop before it withers, and then have to replant in the field – to maximize your growing time, of course!  Once you’re done this three-step process (a hundred or more times over, one for each plot that can be planted on), you have to make sure you harvest all the trees on your farm. After that, don’t forget to feed your animals, and make sure they are properly fenced in. Then you notice that someone has left you a gift! You open your gift box to reveal several gifts and decorations you can use around your farm. Once you have placed and used these gifts, you notice that there is a blank spot on your farm, and start building a new barn, or perhaps a chicken coop. For that you need items from friends – so you make a few requests for items. Lastly, you realize how bare your cabin looks, and plant some flowers around the front, place a bench in the yard, and decorate with a nice topiary. Ah! Your work is done – time to get something done in the real world… but wait! your crops are ready to harvest!

What is the cost of spending time in this virtual world?

Imagine you are sitting in the living room waiting patiently to put on a movie as your friend or sibling or mom is busy farming. “Can’t you do that later? I’m ready to watch the movie” you grumble. “Just a few more crops and I’ll be right there.” Forty-five minutes later, you are probably frustrated enough to start the movie without them, and have finished eating all the popcorn.  It is here that the seed of resentment is planted (pun intended).

As I was chatting with my friend – I joked about the virtual animals, and how it’s difficult to leave without feeding them because you feel guilty starving these poor virtual animals. I imagined the following scenario: a husband walks into the living room, where he sees his wife on the computer, feeding her virtual animals “Honey, have you fed the cat?” he asks. “Hold on,” she replies “I just have to finish feeding the pigs and then plant some crops.” No doubt that virtual animals have taken precedence over real ones on many an occasion! What about YOUR cat? What about the real tasks we have to accomplish in life? Why are we SO motivated in farm-land, but not in real life?

Another issue we raised in our chat was: what if you are a closet farmer yourself? You can’t admit it to friends and family, because you have already made your stance on virtual farming known, and admitting your dirty secret would only be followed by the unbearable ridicule of your fellow farmers. SHAME!!! Have you ever wondered how many people out there have anonymous accounts and are playing alongside friends and family – unbeknown to them? I guarantee you this is happening somewhere in the world of virtual farming!

Needless to say, I fall into this virtual farming category myself. I like to take a break from work or spend fifteen minutes or so when I get home making sure that my virtual farm is running smoothly. Several times, I have left my farm for days, weeks, even a month or more… but eventually I do come back and restore order. I plant new crops, feed my animals, check the coop for eggs, and go apple-picking. I realize that this is a “virtual” waste of my time… but it’s definitely fun.

How do we translate this motivation into real life? It’s virtually the same thing! If I pop in this load of laundry now, it’ll be done in 45 minutes. That means I can feed the cat, tend to the garden, and have just enough time to fix up the decorations on the house. Once that’s done, I can put the clothes in the dryer and start a new load of wash. Is it less enticing because we don’t earn virtual farm bucks when we finish a load of laundry??

Food for thought 😉

Forget regret – or life is yours to miss

The only one who can make you happy is you.

When we feel like crap we tend to think about what is missing from our life, the things we have done wrong, opportunities we have let go by, regrets we hold on to, and so on. But we often forget…. that the only time that counts is now. Sure, we may have screwed up in the past, but it’s in the past. The only thing we can do is take a lesson from our mistakes and apply those lessons to our present (and future!). Forget Regret!

The only person who can pull you out of the abyss is you. Sure, you could be “inspired” by the weather.. A friend could give you a smile and maybe that’s all the motivation you need. But when it comes down to it – no matter what inspiration or motivation is coming from where-YOU are the one that has to make the choice to be motivated and inspired 🙂

My plan is to begin practicing (among other things) a present state of mind. I cannot change my actions from the past, I can only learn from them. Dwelling on my past or regretting things will not help anything. This energy would best be applied to making an effort to have a fantastic present and future!

And when I see a beautiful landscape, hear a funny joke, get licked by a puppy, or smell the scent of the changing seasons – I will accept that inspiration and use it as FUEL. This fuel is too valuable to let pass by!

So don’t forget – you can choose to be happy 🙂 You can choose to be inspired. You can get past the things you cannot change from your past. The mind is a powerful thing – learning to harness that power takes our whole lives!

Seasonal slump?

It’s harder to wake up in the morning. It feels like you are not getting enough sleep. It’s difficult to stay warm. You want to stay on the couch rather than make the effort to go outside. Inviting friends over is more exciting than going out to the movies. Motivation is low. Lethargy is high. You seem to be eating lots more than you did this summer. You feel blah…

Yep, that describes me to a T lately 🙂 You?

winter-blues
Image from: 1x.com/photos/macro/9912/

Seasonal blues? It definitely could be. Many people who are normally fantastic go through this almost every year. It is an unexplainable thing – and most people say “oh, it’s just the seasons changing.”  I definitely get that feeling that I should be hibernating.

So how do you beat the winter blues and blahs? Try some of these ideas:

  • Regular exercise – do something small 3 or 4 days a week, and you will feel an energy boost!
  • Watch cravings – when you’re feeling bored and cooped up, sometimes you eat for no reason. If you’re really hungry, try a healthy snack – or mix carrots and Doritos for balance 🙂
  • Try a multivitamin! I hear D3 and other vitamins can help you be metabolically motivated
  • Sign up for a new class or activity. Just knowing that you have something on your calendar to look forward to can be motivating enough!
  • Book a massage or day at the salon. Being pampered might help you feel elevated from peasant to royalty
  • Pump up the jams! Crank up the radio or your favourite playlist. Music is an amazing mood booster!
  • Make a list of people you should call – and CALL THEM! If you’ve decided to bundle up and curl up on the couch – might as well be productive and talk to some old chums
  • Create something. Paint, draw, write, bake – anything creative. You’d be surprised at what you are capable of!
  • Turn on the lights! Watching TV in the dark? Light can lighten your mood. Better yet – get some sun 🙂
  • Make plans! Don’t watch the Saturday Night movie alone on the couch – see what’s new in theatres and invite a friend!

There’s lots of things you can do to stay out of hibernation and keeping afloat above the winter blahs. Try even one of these things and you might feel better, and soon enough you’ll be throwing on your snow pants and going out to play in the newly fallen snow.. it is coming you know 🙂

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