Monday, April 12, 2010

Your Full And Complete Self

DHS 152

"Motivation is the need, drive, or desire to act in a certain way to achieve a certain end. Basic needs are strong motivators. When I am hungry or thirsty or cold, or when I am in obvious danger, I am impelled to do something about it. I am wiling to attack the problem head-on: I do what must be done.

"Whereas drives push, desires pull. I have desires for many things. I want self-esteem. I would like to be a hero. I wish to have peak experiences. I pray for that perfect communion with another person. And as I sit here at the typewriter I am trying to write a perfect essay.

"Making allowances for differences in vocation and avocation, I presume you would say much the same. Our needs, drives, and desires — the stuff or our lives — do not vary to any great degree. Yet our motivation does. I see about me people who, in philosopher William James's expression, lead lives inferior to themselves. And I suspect that I do the same. We could all be artists and athletes and heroes. We could all care for orphans and widows and visit the sick. We could all be catchers in the rye, each in his or her own unique and particular way announcing the Creator's intentions at our birth. We could be our best. But we are not.

"Our only excuse is ignorance. We are unaware of our capabilities. We do not realize that each one of us is the marvel of the universe. We should read the geniuses of our past. Heed Emerson: "I preach the infinitude of the common man." We sell ourselves short, and our lives as well. When our horizons narrow, our goals do also. We settle for a comfortable passing grade. We groove through life, effortlessly passing our days. But the intensity of our art — our life — and therefore our joy, passes as well. But that is part of the bargain.

"...When people look at the highest goal, the intensity of motivation increases in two ways. First, in the strength of the desire to achieve. Whatever is necessary will now be done. One look at the grandeur of the Matterhorn gives the true mountaineer all the inspiration he needs! The year's preparation that precedes his climb is now automatic. The climb becomes the reason for existence.

"I am reminded at the start of each new year of the reasons why I should try to do better than I think possible. New Year's Day, however is but one of 365 mornings each year that can afford me a new start toward glory. Life, to this runner, is an uphill race that becomes progressively more difficult. There is no time for dallying. Each day requires its own spur.


"My end is not simple happiness. My need, drive, and desire is to achieve my full and complete self. If I do what I have come to do, if I create the life I was made for, then happiness will follow. The problem in motivation is not the dedication and effort and sacrifice needed to get what we want, it is knowing wht it is we could and must want to begin with.


"I am never content with contentment. I am uneasy when things go easy. 'Don't take things easy,' said a great physician, 'take things hard.' Doing one's absolute best becomes the criterion.

"...Unconcerned with what others are doing, driven by the need to do our best, we make the effort and we make it more often. And for those few moments, we become the equal of anyone on this earth."

Personal Best
George Sheehan

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