Sustaining Momentum

enthusiasm

It seems fitting that I write about enthusiasm at this mid-way-into-the-year point, because I have nearly lost mine on several occasions and maybe I’m not alone. I tell you, listlessness caught me by surprise. Me, who began the year wishing all Happy New Momentum, why would I not want to show up in my life?

I read interviews of smiling photoshopped people, who say because they are doing what they love and are paid for it, they bounce like springs and chuckle like old couples in love. Meaning that if a square peg found a square hole, he would have discovered the centre that defies gravity. Hmmm, I want to ask them, what happens on days when they wake up but do not want to get up? Or are they from Mars?

When I meet people who have arrived at the place where I am going, my question will not be, how did you get here?  It will be, now that you are here, how do you intend to stay here?

I’ve been digging in my childhood memories for a time when I did not feel like going to school or playing. Here is one—my mother would wake me up at an ungodly hour to get ready for school and I would pull my wrapa over my head, pretending to pray. But ten annoying minutes between sleep and wakefulness was just a blip on my bright day. Of course, memories lie. Nevertheless, they are proof that I can craft stories from sketches of the lacklustre days I have endured this year.

Still, I wish that three-year old who leaps out of bed and heads for his toys, putting one Lego brick on top another, could articulate the reason for his energy. Has he learnt to expect pleasures scheduled into his day by his parents? There was that awful year in which I looked backwards for so long I turned into a pillar of salt. To the degree that salt has value, I was a valuable monument but I did not think I had anything to look forward to, rooted as I was to one spot.

Was it not the other day that an eight-year old came up to me and declared, “I’m bored,” as if I am a boredom-reliever? My first instinct was to suggest things she could do. But I caught myself.

“What can you do about it?”

“I don’t know.”

I continued reading while she shuffled her feet and then kicked at nothing.

“I’m bored,” she said, tugging my sleeve.

“What can you do about it?” I asked, softening my voice.

She began to list the things she could do, like play with her brother. She calculated the constraints she faced; he didn’t want to play. Then she examined her other options. I thought, good girl! It’s never too early to learn to take responsibility for your own enthusiasm.

If you think starting is hard, try finishing. Vision leaks and passion wanes due to disappointments and even successes. I am responsible for my enthusiasm—finding it, understanding it, jumpstarting it, feeding it, and protecting it. It’s really up to me.

©Timi Yeseibo 2015

Has your enthusiasm taken a dip? How did you recover it?
Share a quote that fires you up if you have one. Here’s one that makes me laugh and then move…

If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.
– Vince Lombardi

 

 

Photo Credit:  Wokandapix/ https://pixabay.com/en/run-running-sport-fitness-healthy-750466/

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66 thoughts on “Sustaining Momentum

  1. Timi, you’re not alone in this sinking boat but let me throw you a life jacket – step away from it all and observe what your mentors or like-minded people are doing and draw inspiration there. Then look back on what you’ve accomplished and hopefully that enthusiasm will resurface. I’ve not blogged for weeks just because I couldn’t be asked to. But the more I read about what’s trending or crazy news stories or see funny things around me I feel a spark within – it’s probably tough thereafter to blow (self-motivate) and make fire. I know you’ll pull through. You have to 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Timi!
    You just reinforced a belief I feel strongly- the power to articulate and change begins with Mr and remains with me till I choose to exercise it.
    Thank you for that. On a lighter note, how have you been?

    Like

  3. Hi Timi 🙂

    In my own experience, enthusiasm has been related to purpose. I lose the former when I lose sight of the latter. I’ve been working on one thing for three years straight and have said sometimes that I’m exhausted. What picks me up again all the time is seeing where I’m going and why. Sometimes the destination itself is not inspiring enough for me, it takes remembering why I’m heading there to pick up again. Sometimes too, it takes prayer to see why again.

    Your observation with children is interesting and rather educative. They rarely are in need of encouragement, are they? They seem to be ‘on’ right until they drop. It’s beautiful when you think about it. I think that the reason is that life is a simple affair for them. Worry is alien to them and everything is really a source of amusement and wonder for them.

    Adulthood brings a sense of futility and frustration ordinarily. We are harder to amuse and more impervious to awe. We are kind of cynics so we spring leaks and always need a new kindling of enthusiasm to stay on the road. Perhaps we could learn something from children. But what exactly we can learn has often been mis-accounted.

    Children, contrary to the popular idea, have expectations of life. They expect everything to be fun and filled with wonder. Since nearly everything is new to them, that’s not such a hard order to fill. It only gets tough as they grow and find that there are fewer and fewer things that are so new.

    So we don’t really grow away from what makes children so filled with enthusiasm everyday. We just become less curious. We start to calculate the cost of discovery and education and eventually give up on both and start looking for ways to forget the natural yearning we have to learn and discover the wonders of life.

    I think the cure will always be in daring to ask why. If you know what the point of something is and it can appeal to you, you will very likely stay fired up all the time. Truth be told, life really is less a journey to a specific destination and more an exploration, a journey of discovery, an adventure. It might take knowing that someone is going to look after you and correct you and show you when you’re getting it right to have the courage to take the journey though.

    PS. I have missed this place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So, purpose, prayer, childlikeness, curiosity, wonder, awe …. you’ve taken these on your journey of discovery. We get jaded after a while, it isn’t easy to sustain focus for 3 years. I wish you God speed. Thanks for sharing what you’ve observed along the way and how you’ve maintained momentum.

      I like asking why, followed by, is it worth it?

      It’s nice having you here! 🙂

      Like

    1. I guess if I was one of the kids, I would have asked why. 🙂
      Sometimes, people say, “There’s nothing to do!” Perhaps what they mean is that there are things to do, but none of them catches their fancy.

      Thanks for sharing Marje.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. And “Boredom is in the eye of the beholder,” makes me smile.

      I normally say I’m as bored as I let myself be. All I have to do is pick up one of the books on my coffee table and read. But lethargy can be a dangerous thing ….

      Like

  4. Loved the inspiration! Thank you. So easy to forget that when the spark wanes it’s often about igniting it within. So easy to sometimes think it is outside of us rather than in. (I’ve been away from the blogosphere and just starting to catch up so will be visiting more than once in the next few days.)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. There is a natural ebb and flow in all of life – us included. Our ego mind wants the continued highs – enthusiasm – and resists the lows. When it notices we are lacking, it focuses in and reinforce this. When we get into a rhythm of ebbs and flows, ups and downs and highs and lows … It all becomes okay and we don ‘t get our thinking stuck in any one place.
    Go with the flow …and pause to check in with your inner compass. Knowing that enthusiasm will return when we get over our limited thing about what’s wrong with the world, and embrace what is right and wants to expand and shine.
    Great conversation! Thank you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I definitely learned in high school from my then really great boyfriend in his words to me: The horizon is never reached but I see you up ahead, seeking it with your special glow ahead of you and a trailing rainbow behind. I remember crying with these gifts in each part of his message. He has a fantastic wife he met at Stanford University and has his PhD while improving environmental situations using his knowledge, Timi.
    I believe in Jill and Nancy’s messsges, “Go from here to here” and “Enjoy the journey.” In honor of my first boyfriend I will change horizon to. . . “Seek your bliss.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sustaining momentum…

    Well, i’m in a mid-year funk, if there’s such a thing as that. It means work bores me, as just about everything else does now, and old attractions I put to death early this year have begun resurrecting again– and tailing me like zombies.
    As far as blogging is concerned, I figured dusting the webs off some old post and rescheduling them will suffice for now, until i’m done reading this great book and putting the things its reminded me of into words. i hope that counts for sustenance.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Uju, if the great book relieves your boredom and gets you moving again, maybe it is sustenance?
      Reading is one way I get ideas for blogging.
      I’m realizing that learning how to get one’s groove back is a very important skill.

      Like

  8. Oh my enthusiasm takes dips all the time. Sometimes I let it have its way with me, sometimes I find something interesting like music, novels, the internet to boost it, sometimes I sleep it off, at other times I fight it till I win.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Eby, you sound as if the dips don’t catch you by surprise and you know how to jumpstart you enthusiasm. Wonderful! That’s where I hope we’ll all be. Do you have any quotes that fire you up?

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I liked “Just show up.” I like to say that “Perseverance” is the little old ladies marching song. A lot of times when someone I don’t really know asks me how I am today, I answer, “Persevering.” I get some very good responses to that. That may be the same thing as “Just show up.”

    As always, Timi, I’ve enjoyed your post and everyone’s response.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. They say that by showing up, you’ve won half the battle 🙂

      Your reply to an acquaintance’s how are you, is interesting. My response would be, “Persevering at what?” To my mind, persevering connotes suffering. But the way you’ve explained the word as another way of saying, just show up, puts a positive spin on it.

      This saying must hold plenty meaning for you: “Perseverance” is the little old ladies marching song.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed being here. 🙂

      Like

  10. I REALLY needed this post!!! I love this especially: “When I meet people who have arrived at the place where I am going, my question will not be, how did you get here? It will be, now that you are here, how do you intend to stay here?” So true!
    Here’s a quote that gets me fired up:
    “Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack in everything
    That’s how the light gets in.” Leonard Cohen

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I like the quote! This line catches my eye: “Forget your perfect offering”

      I remember reading that if you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll not get much done. I can apply the quote you shared to my writing journey.

      Thanks for sharing. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I have since learnt constancy in any endeavour is not exactly automatic, at least not always. There is always this wind of inertia that tends to make the whole thing seem worse than manual, and laborious even.

    Reminds me, for instance, of when I was having repeated stints of depression. Total disinterest in even the things I fancied the most—yeah, writing particularly. Crazy. I would eventually take up the responsibility of self-motivation, shake myself out of that vortex, and forge ahead.

    These days, and especially this year, one of my chief external stimuli to keep at it regardless of how I feel is what Elizabeth Gilbert said in her TED Talk about the art: “…just show up.”

    Bravo, Timi.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “Total disinterest in even the things I fancied the most …” This is scary and makes you ask over and over, “What’s wrong with me?” I’m glad you were able to shake yourself out of that vortex.

      @Elizabeth Gilbert TED Talk about the art, yes! I read somewhere, don’t wait for inspiration, just start and inspiration will find you. But I like the 3 words: Just.Show.Up 🙂

      Thanks Bunmi for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Dear Timi,

    You keep winning at this mastery of words, “It’s never too early to learn to take responsibility for your own enthusiasm”.

    Now that I think of it, my momentum dipped during the first 5 months of this year. At the end of May, I had my rude awakening, all the things I wanted to do weren’t going to get done all by themselves, especially considering that I don’t yet own a Genie’s lamp to rub, rub, rub 🙂

    Indeed, it is really up to me to kick-start my drive to conquer the many worlds that I decide to conquer.

    Thank you for yet another thought-provoking post.

    Have a lovely week.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Enjoy the journey…it’s the only one we get. Of course, it’s not going to be all thrills and excitement. We have to break away from allowing our mood to be controlled by our circumstances. I love the scripture, Timi!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Enjoy the journey…it’s the only one we get.” Reminds me of something I used to tell myself, “This is it!” 🙂

      And this is wisdom: “We have to break away from allowing our mood to be controlled by our circumstances.” Life-long lesson….

      Thanks Jill!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. You say:

    When I meet people who have arrived at the place where I am going, my question will not be, how did you get here? It will be, now that you are here, how do you intend to stay here?

    This implies that you see “it” as a destination.
    And that someday you will arrive and want to stay there.

    I see “it” as a journey, always, from Here to Here to Here to Here.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Excellent point Nancy.
      I wanted to keep my post brief and give readers the opportunity to broaden the conversation.
      Like you said, you get ‘there’ then you move. I suspect that if they are open, the people I want to question will have plenty to share.

      Thanks for helping us see a much richer picture 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I’m almost never overtly enthusiastic. I can act like I am to make other people comfortable, or to motivate when I’m required to lead, but my default is the opposite of enthusiasm, so I’m in a perpetual dip. I think this is a temperamental thing.

    I, however, have different tools for self-motivation: usually music and reading.

    I recently went back to watching videos of George Saunders and Zadie Smith, because listening to them talk about writing creates a desire in me to write fiction again. (Something I haven’t done in a while.) I also trick my mind with rituals so that it goes into auto-pilot and I don’t have to find external sources of enthusiasm.

    I was lucky to have folks who did not encourage me to think sources of enthusiasm were exclusively external. Seeing how you related to your daughter, I’m sure she would look back one day and count herself lucky too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I admire you because you know yourself and you know how to keep yourself motivated. Of course putting it into practice is another story 🙂
      Do the things that motivate you change over time or in different seasons of life?

      @overtly enthusiastic… I guess people express enthusiasm in different ways. But is it enthusiasm if it can’t be perceived? Just thinking…

      Sometimes I marvel at kids who imagine I was born to entertain them 🙂 I hear, “I’m bored,” a lot. Your parents did well by you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Of course putting it into practice is another story 🙂

        Nail-head, meet hammer.

        Books have probably stayed as a constant source of motivation. They are a life-long love. What does change is how much I’m ready to self-motivate rather than just wallow in mental lethargy.

        I think it is still enthusiasm if it can’t be perceived. I’m assuming by perception here you mean a mental acknowledgement of the source of verve. Chances are the thing that makes people perpetually enthusiastic also makes them blind to the realisation that they are eternal energiser bunnies. The day they come to that realisation, they will be one step closer to losing that natural verve.

        Lol @ marveling at kids imagining you were born to entertain them. Isn’t this necessary to their survival? I mean, I can excuse it in kids. It is adults who still carry this notion that I find insufferable. Perhaps no one ever told them, “learn to take responsibility for your own enthusiasm.”

        Liked by 2 people

        1. @ eternal energiser bunnies XD

          What I meant by enthusiasm being perceived is that if it can’t be felt, heard or seen (touched?), how can others tell? And if enthusiasm is contagious, how can others catch it, if they can’t perceive it?
          You say you put on a ‘show’ to lead others …
          Perhaps I have misinterpreted what you mean by overtly enthusiastic?

          Like

  16. I didn’t feel like getting out of bed this morning so I slept an extra hour. I got up a 7:00 instead of my customary 6:00. Because it’s Sunday I was able to give in to this luxurious temptation. Sunday is my favorite day as I can waste way a few idle hours. However, diminishing returns the later it gets and I have an overwhelming feeling of guilt as the day grows shorter that I have accomplished little. Camus once wrote that there are only two important philosophical questions: 1) whether in the face of the absurdity of life, to commit suicide or not, and the other, 2) if you choose not to commit suicide, how do you overcome ennui? He strongly suggests that we have to invest our own lives with meaning and that one can imagine Sisyphus finally happy, with his faced pressed against the rock as he ceaselessly pushes it up the mountain only to have it roll back down to the valley yet again.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. “There is no more dread punishment than futile and hopeless labor,” so says Camus in his introductory remarks in his essay, The Myth of Sisyphus. What separates Sisyphus from his miserable fate is his consciousness. It is in the moments that he is walking to the valley below that he realizes his fate that he becomes superior to his fate. “The lucidity that was to constitute his torture at the same time crowns his victory. The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. On must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

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    1. @ennui, I am on a journey- understanding where my enthusiasm comes from, what drains it and how to recover it- as investing our lives with meaning means different things to us.
      I’m not familiar with Camus’ philosophy, but I cannot imagine Sisyphus happy. Meaninglessness eats at the soul. I believe life can have meaning.

      “. . . an overwhelming feeling of guilt as the day grows shorter that I have accomplished little.”

      Why do we do this to ourselves? Feel guilty on a day that we can afford to waste a few idle hours 🙂 I feel you Benn. Some days, I ditch my mental to-do list altogether 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Hi Timi! I agree with you that meaninglessness eats at the soul. Life can and does have meaning, but I believe the meaning it has is the meaning we give to it. Sisyphus is redeemed by his consciousness. His struggle toward the heights represents out daily struggles on our journey through life. And it is within in this struggle we find our happiness.

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  17. “When I meet people who have arrived at the place where I am going, my question will not be, how did you get here?  It will be, now that you are here, how do you intend to stay here?”

    Profound Timi.

    I think for me the constant realization of the necessity to maximise my potentials has remained a source of fire for the light of my enthusiasm. I may not do the things I need to do with so much enthusiasm at first but consistency helps.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Two word, “constant realization” jump out to me.
      I think that consistency creates discipline and hones skill. Then on the days when enthusiasm is low, we can get the job done by force of discipline.

      Thanks Ife for sharing.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I am here in Belgium, unemployed for almost 4 months now. Consious decision taken after a desperate month of searching for a job. Then Faith leads me to feel that it’s time to go back home. I thanks to my mymmy’s support, see this 3 months as a period of grace. I am so grateful for all what I’ve been through these 3 months, and all those I have met and keep meeting. I am like one of those birds in the sky, not worrying about what to eat or wear… Let me not write another blog post here Timi but yes that’s Life – oh I have Passionate Faith and that’s equally very important, can’t wait for the 30th to Leave

        Liked by 3 people

        1. You’ve kept your faith by not worrying.
          I am encouraged by the way you’ve coloured your perspective of the events you shared with gratitude. I wish you all the best for the future awaiting you. I hope I’ll still see you on blogosphere, Marie. Hugs!

          Like

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