What Motivates You?

In the world of the unspoken, the place where the heart speaks in your voice, or touch, or perception of what is really going on, motivation is the last word, the sum of all that has happened, and is destined to happen. What motivates you is complicated. What motivates you, you may not be conscious of. What motivates you separates you from the next person, no matter what your circumstances may be, no matter who you are. If you aren’t motivated, then someone else is motivating your moves, making you mediocre, or magical or a mover of merchandise according to what motivates him or her, or his or her wife or who knows who or what or how if you don’t know yourself.

It’s daunting sometimes to contemplate the combined force of so much motivation. The like-mindedness of such and so many men will raise an armed force and send it across the globe to wreak havoc and destruction. The pursuit of an answer to a question will pave a path of understanding that will destroy old ways of life and create new ways never before imagined. The desire for wealth will fuel an entire entertainment industry devoted to selling the products of the highest bidders by maintaining a massive mesh of mush-brains who will march to the melody of the cash register ringing, consume corporate cookies and give birth to shoppers.

Deep in the heart of a newborn consumer probably lies the motivation to love and be loved, to matter, to make a mark on the world and in the minds of men. Mostly when you sing, or paint a picture, or act in a play, or write a poem or story, or dance across the floor, for the first time, you do it because you are inspired. Your motivation comes straight from your soul. But then you or someone else discovers that you have talent and the drama begins. Right away your motivation will determine your destiny.

Do you seek fame, fortune or technical superiority? Are you motivated by a deeper understanding of your craft and the ability to move the minds and hearts of people? Are you going to that audition for a national television show because you want the attention, or just because you think it’s the thing to do? It may be that the thing to do is not what you’re being told, the thing to say is what is not being said, the thing to see is the unseen, the thing to sing is the unsung story, the place to go is where no one has gone before.

Did you audition for your local community theatre because you want to be involved in theatre no matter what, or because you think you’re not good enough for something “better?” One motivation will result in enrichment, the other will continually erode your self-confidence. Motivation is what we’re made of. If you’re in it for the money then you’ll either make money or drop out. If you’re in it for fame, you’ll become famous or drop out. If you’re in it to be better than everyone else, you’ll be better, but you won’t move any mountains.

We are all artists and creators, shaping our lives out of the materials we have at hand. It is our choice whether to create for better or worse, and in the end our motivation for our creations will determine how we feel about them after we let go. Those of us working in the arts struggle against many forces that threaten the continued existence of our organizations from day to day and week to week. It is important for us to recognize the need to work together to continue to provoke depth of thought, compassion, understanding and the imagination in our youth among the elderly, and in our most valued institutions. We can help each other by reminding each other what our motivations are when we are assailed by the detriment and distractions of our daily lives. Here’s to greater understanding, peace and poetry.

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