Tag Archives: motivation

Telling Lies in the Hope that They’ll Soon Be True…

Lies. After hearing this word, or being a victim of them, or having them come out of your own mouth, how do you feel? What feelings are associated with not telling the exact truth? Chances are, just naturally, they tend to lean towards the negative end of the spectrum. Even without knowing the complete story, we usually do not take kindly to lies and have an unflattering impression of the person doing the lying. These reactions don’t allow us to consider potential underlying reasons that the person has for stretching the truth. This information could prove valuable to better understand the other person and may even be turned into positive use.

That’s why I found refreshing the Globe and Mail article that offered another perspective and interpretation on reasons why people may lie or exaggerate. I particularly found enlightening one suggestion about how “lies” could actually reflect what the person is trying to achieve, or a goal to be obtained.

The article helped remind me not to jump on somebody, and too quickly form a negative impression of someone, when they lie. It gave me insight on how lying can be seen as part of the process towards something and that we should think of ways on how it can motivate.

With this in mind, would you be willing to forgive and understand some of the lies and exaggerations I’ve provided on various sections of this blog? Heheheh…..

-Patrick Law

Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under Working

Not Just a Degree in Football…

There was a great article this morning in the Calgary Herald about the intelligence and smarts of certain football players. You can click here to read the full article. It helps debunk the common stereotype we often have of jocks that they have gifted physical and athletic attributes, but are lacking substance upstairs. I still remember the expression used to make fun of an introductory Geology course in university. People called it “Rocks for Jocks” because it had a reputation of being easy and the class was filled with student athletes looking to get some easy marks, or just hoping to get by.

But, as mentioned in the Herald article, take a survey of any football team, and take a look at the student athletes combining school with athletics across our campuses, and we can see that there are many examples of abilities that transcend the playing field. Already sports, in itself, is such a valuable education for learning leadership, teamwork, adversity, pressure, training, practice, and perseverance skills. With smart players, they are more likely and able to apply and transfer these skills in other contexts in the community, business, and education world during and after their athletic careers.

In the Canadian Football League, especially, with the salary being relatively low for professional athletes, knowing and learning about what players do outside sports makes them more in touch with the common folk. I think an athlete’s true power and influence comes when he/she is able to motivate not only other people in the same sport, but when someone who is totally in a different field gets inspired to go beyond limits because of an athlete’s example.

-Patrick Law

3 Comments

Filed under Sports and Fitness

The Danger and Importance of Expectations

When stuck in my own vicious cycle of procrastination for a long time, sometimes I get so habituated into the comfort of delay and using rationalizations automatically that they do not seem unreasonable or give off any warning signals. I find that in these cases, watching others, and their various manifestations of procrastination can then help give reflection on what I do myself in other contexts.

When seeing another person put off doing something for the wrong reasons, and diluting life in the process, we obviously are aware how counterproductive these behaviours can be. Maybe this can stir within us the action to change these very same behaviours that we display ourselves but have chosen to ignore for so long.

I was talking with a diligent student about her portfolio assignment. Her first set of entries are due later this week and we were discussing ideas about how to present it creatively, emotionally, symbolically, and in a way that shows evidence of work and experience, as well as progression of improvement and reflection on what the student learned from her experiences.

Throughout our discussions, the student was very animated and showed emotion and depth when telling stories from her childhood that she thought worthwhile to include in the beginning part of her portfolio to show how they influenced her thinking of today. We then thought together about possibilities on how to present it on the pages. Various images, drawings, and photograph suggestions came up, and the student was enthused about the creative potential and how meaningful this project is.

However, her tone changed when talk started focusing on the specific deadline and answering some of the required questions given by the teacher. She decided to give up on themes of presentation and style, and creative story telling, and instead decided to give short answers to answer directly, or maybe just do a traditional essay format. I encouraged her to try combine some of her previous ideas of pictures and symbols along with the traditional writing method, but she was reluctant.

Her reasons knocked me back a bit, but also woke me up to some of the fears that people have. She admitted that the teacher encouraged creative thinking and use of other material to supplement answers for the portfolio project. The student, from our previous discussions, obviously enjoyed creative work and finding, and interpreting meaning from stories and using pictures as symbols and metaphors. Despite all this, she reasoned that “I can’t put in extra pictures and other materials for this first entry. If I do, then the teacher will expect that I will always put in extra, and what if I can’t in the future? I better just do it safe and directly, and just get it done.”

Suddenly I realized, if this student is saying something like this, then in classrooms all over the world, many students are thinking similar thoughts and a lot of potential is being stifled. The grip of fear and worry can be so strong that a student may avoid producing something that is meaningful by focusing on the future expectations of others. Attention is taken away from current content to hypothetical implications. Furthermore, maybe even more tragic, is that many of us see high expectations as negative and something to fear. If a teacher expects to see creative thought and critical thinking in unique forms, then that can push the student to keep pushing her thinking in future projects.

Unfortunately, for those who struggle with anxiety that may lead to procrastination and putting off tasks, we seek out safety to avoid expectations.  While there is a feeling of danger in others’ expecations, and our own, they are also places and new heights that we can reach within that are not possible without expectations.

-Pat

Leave a comment

Filed under Procrastinator Diaries (Pat)

Pushing Against the Weight of Comfort

After reading electrongasman’s comments to a previous interview on procrastination, some images suddenly popped into my mind. Perhaps they are metaphors? Maybe pictorial representations of the procrastination themes and struggles? Of course it’s open to interpretation, and I’m not even sure myself, but I’ll give it a try even though words may fall short of what I’m seeing.

There’s a boulder out yonder. It’s a hot and humid day. Within the vicinity, many people are kind of wandering around aimlessly. Suddenly, a particular person approaches the boulder and starts to lean on it. Oh gosh, that looks so good.

Within minutes this posture starts to draw the attention of the wanderers. It looks so relaxing, so comforting. Then 2, 4, 7, a countless number, took up the leaning position with sighs of immense relief when reaching the most desirable degree of recline.

And so it goes like this as time passes. And the time did pass, as evident by the distant position change of the sun. Still no movement, no stirring, as if life is more than momentarily forgotten. Not true, not true, not true. Someone moves. Maybe not yet in body, but certainly in mind. Somebody thinks about the stiffness of it all and has a small inkling to push. Just a small one. This thought is quickly quashed when considering the immense weight of the boulder itself, combined with all these people leaning against it. The person decides against pushing.

Incredible stiffness. Somebody goes beyond an inkling and into a strong urge, desire, a constant pulling to push. No. The impossibility of the potential results in only a slight repositioning of the current pose, nothing of significance. In fact, more than a few people want to push, but dreams seem to die whenever one steals a glance at a neighbour.

Finally. Finally. Finally. Someone has the vocabulary ‘catatonic’ in mind and instantly ignores whatever else and, my gosh, pushes. Oh gosh! What heaviness! The excruciating pain on the pushing person’s face! The agony! The hopelessness as all the efforts did not even register to those still leaning. The boulder remains inert and, if anything, moves slightly backward against the pusher, as if rebelling or conforming…I don’t know which.

However, all that pain, despair, and oncoming feelings of regret, just as quickly brightens into epiphany when another person decides to join in on the pushing. The boulder does not move. Most of the others are still oblivious with their leaning. It does not matter. They push, push, push. And, during intervals of recovery, look at each other in the face and grin with such appreciation and understanding that surely moves something more than boulders.

Then, a few others notice and…well….it could go either way. What do you think?

-Pat

Leave a comment

Filed under Procrastinator Diaries (Pat)

Can I Get Another Set of Eyes to Look at This?

Hello. I am Pierce. I’ve been away. Doing what? Living out and piloting another idea for this procrastinator diary post. That’s my modus operandi. Have an idea. Go away. Leave. Disappear. Not write. Not write. Again, not write. Be left in peace with my procrastination. So, I can play out my ideas. Put it in action. Do some experiments. Come back. And, write.

Here is what I found during my time away. That, ironically, my isolated time spent alone has not been very productive. There was no urgency. There were no other set of eyes. There were no threats of evaluation, feedback, or witnesses to give evidence that I was living. Nobody noticed. Honey, telling people what I did during the day does not have the same effect as showing them directly what I do as they watch me.

This result and realization surprised me. I didn’t know. Look at me. I’m ashamed. I’m not as tough, insensitive, nor oblivious as I thought I was. Look at me. I’m writing. I’m working. Look at me. I need you. It’s so hard for me to say, but it is. God, I need people.

Is it so that I am not as intrinsically motivated as I thought? Funny. During this time away, I got more accomplished in two hours in the evening with all kinds of people buzzing around in the home and not much done during 8 hours of silence during the day. Is it the people I need or the sense that time is running out in the day?

Maybe I do need the pressure. Both with time and with people. So, for my next hiatus, can I test this out by throwing myself into an audience at every opportunity? Have an open house accompany me wherever I go?
However, if I end up getting the eventual stage fright, and don’t go through with this, procrastinators of course always have a backup plan to avoid being thrown into the social fire.

I’m already hard at work conjuring up which imaginary eyes to permanently engrave into my mind, so that daggers threaten to rain upon me at my every move. And just in case my imagination fails me, I’ve been drawing numerous eyes so intense that they need not other bodily features to disclose the identities they have provided for eternal history. These eyes ranging from all time will be placed all over my wall in case I try to waste my life again. On one upper corner example, from Zeus to Sisyphus to Medea to Kafka to Plath to Thurber. With these eyes giving me attention, how dare I not take risks to go deeper!

-Pierce

Leave a comment

Filed under Procrastinator Diaries (Pierce)

When Choosing Not to Read is More Difficult than Reading Passively

Do you ever feel guilty not reading enough books or watching enough movies, or just simply not having enough knowledge?

Do you ever get in a slump or hit a phase where you cannot get through and complete a thick text or sit through a whole series?

Sounds like we need a short cut! As with other short cut posts in this category, I am not suggesting these methods be used for a life time solution. The short cut is more to temporarily relieve your mind of heaviness and burden, and just to lighten yourself up for a laugh. You can call it justification, call it rationalization, call it distortion, or bending the rules, but it’s just a way to put the focus somewhere else rather than coming to the conclusion we won’t make it to heaven every time.

Didn’t finish reading or watching something? Take a short cut. A big time short cut. Sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes try just not reading it. Next time someone chastises or admonishes you for not keeping up with what everyone is keeping up with, you can say you didn’t want to lose your own creativity and individuality. In other words, you purposely didn’t expose yourself to the material because you were afraid to be influenced by the interpretation of others; you were afraid of your ideas simply becoming a paraphrase of what you read or watched.

I know this short cut won’t hold water over the long term, and it goes against the quote of “standing upon the shoulder of giants,” where your own creativity and accomplishments depend on understanding and studying those greats that come before you, but sometimes, sometimes, can we please be allowed to get a little pleasure locking ourselves up in a small space surrounded by four walls with nothing accessible. No books, no manuals, no prescriptions, no top 10 lists, and just see what we come up with.

Teacher? This is why I didn’t do this particular homework assignment? Well, this particular teacher didn’t give me a zero, but actually made me do a mini-experiment and follow through on purposely locking myself in an area for a prolonged period of time without access to any reading materials or other media. She predicted that in those circumstances, the games and ideas I come up with to prevent insanity will still come from materials I read previously. Though I may create, spin, and interpret differently, I am still dependent on others, even when all alone.

Gosh, so the short cut didn’t turn out all that short after all. It may actually be more difficult to right up front put on a stance of not reading something rather than just reading and accepting something passively. Hmmm…not reading actually means reading critically? You still have to read it, to argue why we shouldn’t read it or shouldn’t be influenced by it?

By the way, she’s one of the best teachers I’ve ever had, and one who influenced me into making use of the short cuts into something more.

-Patrick Law

3 Comments

Filed under Short Cuts

The Effects of ’24’ on Procrastination

“The following takes place between 10 and 11 AM.”

Hi, I’m Dawn, and I went dark recently. Sorry for taking the expression from the popular series “24.” But, it’s relevant because it’s a major reason for my disappearance lately. At least that’s my story, and I’m going to stick with it and carry it out as far as it can go.

By the way, can’t help but notice how quiet it has been here lately. With the blog name being ‘Procrastination Post’, are we spending more time in the ‘procrastination’ phase rather than the ‘post’ phase? I’m as guilty as anyone. While Sheri mentioned in her post about a lightning bolt, I don’t have as good a reason for my invisibility. But I will say that I took some time away in an honest, though perhaps unproductive, effort to deal with my procrastination. How? I watched DVDs!

I know, I know, television watching perhaps does more to aggravate and exacerbate procrastination than anything else, but it wasn’t any old plain kill time thing I was watching. I was watching 24! And I was watching Jack Bauer – perhaps the one person who is as far away as procrastination as you could get. That’s right! I’ve been away these days, busy watching 24 to try to instill a sense of urgency in my life via watching other characters operating under intense circumstances where every minute is life and death.

Can there be anyone tougher than Jack Bauer? Not only does he survive repeated torture, and various extreme methods of interrogation, he has to immediately recover with no down time, put it aside, and focus on the moment for the very next crucial task. There is little time to mourn failure, unsuccessful missions, deaths, because something of higher priority awaits. And in situations where everything seems important, he needs to prioritize and constantly sacrifice things that will cause pain.

I just finished watching a scene where Jack Bauer had to make one of those impossible decisions to choose between killing his friend (a member of his own team) or letting his friend fulfill personal revenge against a terrorist who is needed alive by the US government. Jack Bauer killed his friend. Would a procrastinator be able to choose in such a scenario? Would a procrastinator be able to act in a scenario 1000 times less intense?

Am I just plain silly and stupid to be even referencing a work of fiction, a character who is not real, to spur motivation? Will 24 make me write more, write better, write consistently? Will it help me write more urgently to save or change lives? Or am I exhausted just watching the show, feeling as if by watching I also participated in urgent action and overcame procrastination? Then the empty feeling comes after when realizing all I did was watch, and acted upon nothing. Do most of us sit and contemplate on the backs of a few whose actions determine the course of a country? I don’t think I have done anything for my country except think about it.

Then again, if we tried to live our normal lives like 24, would we die of stress or have other health complications? But maybe it’s worth it to feel so alive, so significant, and immersed in activities of impact? Or can I request to have 1 hour out of every 24 to be that intense? I guess what I’m looking for is some guarantee on time, some extreme risks with a safety net, but once I place a contingency on the moment, then I may as well be procrastinating again.

I’ll have to disappear again, and try to engage in 24 a little bit more effectively. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Actually, if successful, I won’t have to let anyone know…as significant change will be evident in itself without digging for minute details.

-Dawn

 

2 Comments

Filed under Procrastinator Diaries (Dawn)