Today’s guest post comes from B.K. Filson, otherwise known as my father. He is the managing editor at the Saskatoon Express magazine and wrote this article for use in their October 2010 issue (“Motivation takes you places”, p. 3)—and for use on this blog. It is reproduced here with permission.
Why include an article on motivation on Real Life Artist? In the words of the writer, “I think it has a lot to do with creating art. You can quote me on that”.
There’s something about autumn that makes you willing to go back to school, to get back at ‘er, to pick up where you left off in the spring. Maybe it’s the harvest you sweated over mentally, then physically, for so long. Maybe it’s just because everybody else is getting back into it. Like a squirrel on espresso or a woman before labour, you feel an ineluctable urge driving you to an imminent goal. That’s motivation.
If you have to drag yourself to do it, then it’s not motivation. If you have to trick yourself to do it, it’s not motivation. It’s as if motivation is not anything you can go out and order from the menu. If you find yourself doing it, finally jumping in the freezing lake and not just thinking about it, but just, surprisingly, doing it, then motivation got you. How? It doesn’t matter now because you’re already doing it big time. It can’t be forced. It just happens.
Without it, you’re just going through the motions. I don’t really know how to get motivated. All I know is that it’s the key.
When you find yourself, for example, flying to Beijing for what seems like no good reason, with the thought What the heck was I thinking? blaring in your head, it is at that moment that you are confronted with the undeniable power of motivation.
It is greater than reason, impulse or even the animal instinct. Motivation causes people to follow their intuition even when it goes against their common sense, to do something against their own tendencies when a burning necessity overtakes them and even to sacrifice their lives.
I think motivation is not something we can call up, it is something that wells up within us. There must be something deep within us that invited it in.
Why WAS I flying into Beijing? Nobody asked me to. Nobody paid me to. I wonder if anyone really wanted me to. As the plane flew over the hutongs and high rises, and we landed, all my reasons for going seemed as flimsy and rejectable as the garbage strewn in the airplane aisles after the 12 hour flight.
Barely able to stand after such a long sit, and yet standing for a full hour to get through customs, then another to find your luggage and the right shuttle bus in the oppressive heat and humidity, the lack of a good reason nagged me but somehow didn’t really bother me.
Motivation eventually provides a reason. For now, it is just a tidal wave of certainty that carries me on.
Maybe it was over my first bowl of noodles and bean curd or maybe it was the casual and consistent friendly helpfulness of the one hundredth Beijinger, but the feeling that I was doing the right thing flooded my being.
Not that I really understood why yet.
I’m sure the reason will come—gift-wrapped and obvious.
For now, I’m just amazed where motivation can take you. Filing from the Beijing Book Fair, I wish you all the best.
B.K. Filson is the managing editor of the Saskatoon Express magazine. He is also a poet; Angel Ruckus was published in 1994 and a second book is imminent.