As night sets in on a cold Sunday evening in Shenyang, a young man faces the biggest challenge of his weekend. With only 8 hours and 2o short minutes until his alarm brings the start of another week, Joe must attempt… to get some sleep!
Ok, so this isn’t the start of an epic novel or a Hollywood blockbuster. I’m sure you are all in fact disappointed at the sheer mundaneness of this posts opening paragraphs. After all, where is the challenge in getting some sleep in before work? Well, for those of you outside of a big Chinese city, you may not be aware of the plague that has infested Shenyang today.
Yes that’s right! Those exciting colourful explosions in the sky that most Brits see once a year at an organised event far from any residential area. China is different!
Since the Chinese New year festivals began, there’s been a number of fantastic individual displays of all sizes, all over the country. A particular moment had me in hysterics when some fireworks on a street corner in Nanjing sent my friend jumping 3 feet in the air in shock. But this evening the whole city decided to let loose and set off every firework in China (there are a lot).
It’s been a tremendous sight to behold. Lights flashing across the cityscape, followed shortly by thunderous crashes and a sharp jolt to your body. The city’s lights extended into the dark night sky mingling with the few visible stars. Bursts of lightning reflecting off buildings left right and centre, urging you to find the source. It is quite a spectacle!
However, as pretty and exciting as they are, they immediately lose their awe when set off 20 floors below, exploding “conveniently” 15 feet from my bedroom window!
After months of absence, in which tumbleweed has bounced clumsily across the barren wasteland I once published my whimsical worldly views on, I’m back. You may ask; “Where have you been Joe? We’ve missed you!” or perhaps more likely; “Oh, you were missing? I didn’t realise!” Either way the reasons for my lack of posts are not as you’d expect. It’s not because I have been far to busy to keep up to date with this, nor that I have had little or nothing to post about.
On the contrary, I have so much free time and I’ve had plenty to talk about. I’ve visited fantastic places, Beijing, Shanghai & Nanjing. I’ve enjoyed good company at football matches, KTVs (Karaoke clubs), bars & restaurants. I’ve had new experiences and even gotten a tattoo! Am I posting about any of this today? No! (More posts to follow) Today’s post isn’t about the abundance of adventures, it’s all about a lack of motivation!
Ironically, just now writers block set in, and I was halfway through reading another blog post before I realised I was actually just being lazy and procrastinating. So what is it that keeps us motivated? What gives us drive? What pushes us to be better, work harder, or write something from time to time?
Is it this guy?
If only, truth is it’s all on you. Or in my case, me! (I have absolutely no credentials in this area whatsoever, and any advice should be taken as complete B******t! Unless it works! In which case, right on! 🙂)
So what lessons in motivation have I learnt lately. Well, here they are:
- Know what you want – Slowly ambling by with not a care in the world can be great fun, but you never get anything done. I’ve learnt this with running in the past. Figure out what you want or want to achieve before you start thinking of how to get there. It’s a lot easier to stay motivated if you have a set target. – Joes targets: running-10k, 1/2 & full marathon distances; writing-get freshly pressed (please help); money (I’m greedy)-own income generating assets offsetting all outgoings. – You can see some of these are long-term goals (I’m not likely to offset all my outgoings without a job in the next 5 years) and some short-term. So the way you deal with them should be different.
- Develop a plan – I’ll use running as an example. Any avid runners out there will most likely have a training plan, and this is different for each one. My Dad is a triathlete and Ironman (Go Dad!) and his training plan differs greatly from mine as a runner, as I don’t currently swim or cycle. A plan is there to keep you guided down the right path. The wrong sort of training could mean you are not ready for the race you are preparing for; in just the same way, the wrong kind of plan can ruin your chances of achieving your goal. This is very demotivating, and brings me neatly onto my next point…
- Get educated – Education stops when you leave school, college or uni right? I’ve found out recently this is untrue! Who knew?! Probably a fair few of you, but how many of you actively seek education you may need? I have the kind of personality where if I’m into something I get really into it! Despite having only been running for a few years, I’ve read all sorts on the subject. Subscribing to magazines, going on websites, reading books, watching programmes… All this has accumulated into a healthy knowledge of the sport. Enough so that I’ve managed to help at least one friend out on a few occasions (He’s now outrunning me. Damn you Carl!). All this research has only made me enjoy it more, and knowing what I am doing helps keep me from making mistakes and losing motivation. Putting this research into other aspects (money) has shown me how f****d I am if I don’t start to develop a plan. So education can save you as well as motivate you.
- Get out of bed – Sometimes, despite all this, you just want to curl up and go back to sleep. In fact…
Just kidding! I’ve had far too many wasted mornings, and these come back to haunt you. Wether it’s an essay that you’re 2000 words short on all for the sake of an extra few hours in bed, or bonking (hitting the wall) at mile 20 of your first marathon because you missed you last long training run a few weeks before. Sometimes you just have to ‘bite the bullet’ and get on with it! More often than not, once you’re actually getting on with things there can be no stopping you!
Time to get on it!