How to handle a fading enthusiasm

Big yawnphoto © 2006 Björn Rixman | more info (via: Wylio)

What do you do when your enthusiasm takes a plunge and it threatens to affect your productivity and efficiency?

If this is a regular thing with you, if you are demotivated more often than you are motivated, then you may have to rethink your reasons for pursuing this goal. A goal is supposed to make you happy , if it can not do that, it needs reconsideration.

On the other hand, your lack of enthusiasm maybe an infrequent and passing thing. Nevertheless, it is still a concern because it effects your work and may cause you stress. These are times when you have to carry on, in spite of your mood. It’s how you tackle these lows that determines how good you are going to be on the whole.

Result oriented discipline Vs Showing up.

I think ‘showing up’ is the most important thing to do here. You have to keep showing up, no matter what. This is not to say that you have to force yourself into consistently giving the same output, that is impractical and trying to do that doesn’t go well with the natural force within us. When your enthusiasm is low, you just have to show up and do whatever you can. This has a two-fold benefit – One, you don’t accept defeat, you don’t yield to your mind’s tantrums and keep it disciplined and, Two, you still get some output out of yourself and continue production. It is easier to speed up your production than it is to bring it into motion from a complete halt.

Discipline, to me, is keeping yourself committed to something, showing up every time, not beating yourself into getting constant results. A lot of people believe in the second definition, i.e. discipline means getting exactly the same result everyday. Some claim success following this strategy. I won’t argue against that but I do believe success is sweeter and easier when you just do your part of showing up. Let the life force do the rest. If you have taken up something you love, sooner or later your passion and interest will return and you will find yourself working just like before. You may even do more than you did before, sometimes, more than you had known you could do. This is because it is not you who are doing the things, you are just a witness. It is the life force that is expressing itself through you, and the life force is infinitely powerful.

But if what you do is something contrary to your passions, interest and natural aptitude, you will find yourself more and more distanced from what you are doing. Fear might set in. You might start wondering what would do, if not this. This might lead you towards the second definition.

If you believe that success comes from constantly working hard at something, against your wishes, for long periods of time, you are more likely to give credence to the second definition. If you believe that you are just a medium and it is the life force(or the Universe or your Inner Partner.. whatever..) that is working through you, you will find the first definition more appealing. People claim success through both and I don’t say that either is right or wrong. I have personally achieved success through both, but I have enjoyed success more when I just acted as the witness to it.

We are not robots who can give the same output in a given time, every time. Our enthusiasm, vigor, creativity vary on a day-to-day basis and over our lives. While it is prudent to be disciplined with what you do, being too hard on yourself for not getting expected results can be counter-productive. Try to direct your life force in certain direction but don’t try to control it’s pace. If it wants to rest for a while, allow it some rest, if it wants to try something else for a while, let it. And, if it says, it no longer wants to work in the same direction, don’t deny it or ignore it, consider what it is saying and decide accordingly.

Just show up and do whatever you can. I start writing whatever comes to my mind. It may not make sense at all in the beginning but eventually, it does. Soon my creative juices start flowing and I pick up my regular speed.

Keep your creative spirit alive

A dip in enthusiasm is, depending upon how you look at it, a helpful thing. It is an indication of what is troubling your enterprise.

It is indicative of lack of creativity. You get bored with sameness. If you don’t do something new and different often, your life becomes dull. Doing the same things in life, over and over, is like death. Sameness is Death, Change is Life. Change! Keep trying different things. You can do the same thing differently or you can do different things. Never let your sense of creativity and adventure die. Try and experiment, this is how you learn, this is how you have fun. If you settle into comfort, for fear that the spirit of adventure might cause you hurt, you will deny yourself life. The road to great joy will run through valleys of sadness and despair and agony, but that will only sweeten the final result more. It all depends on how you look at it.

*****

Here are some other, simple steps to handle fading enthusiasm.

1. Seek company of those who do the same activity. Get into the company of those who are doing the same thing. Usually you start feeling like doing something right away. They can share and appreciate your troubles and offer valuable advice. Call it the right vibes or whatever, but the company of like minded folks will fill you with motivation, confidence and direction.

2 Do something small and tangible. Take an instant, tangible step towards your goal. When I am not in the mood, I might just comment on some blog(commenting is a marketing strategy). It takes just five minutes to read a post and comment on it. It makes me feel good and lifts me out of the rut.

3 Promise yourself a reward at the end of the task. I might allow myself a movie if I sit through for a certain time.

4 Surprise yourself. Do you like giving surprises? Have you felt good receiving and giving it? Well than give yourself one! Why wait for others to surprise you? If you are not particularly inclined to work a particular day and if there is something you badly want to do, on the spur of the moment, allow yourself to do it.

CAUTION : You know when it is not a surprise and when it is becoming an excuse for avoiding work. Don’t make it a habit or an excuse. You will know it in your heart and will not be able to enjoy it fully. It will leave you with a feeling of guilt.

5. Prepare in advance for such occasions. I do it by writing a lot when I am in the mood I write and keep some extra posts. I keep these, ‘for emergency’ posts for days when I may not be in the mood to write.

6. Read something motivating. Read some motivation stuff. You might get the necessary push to get back into action.

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