The trouble with motivation

Procrastination gets a bad rep, but is in fact, quite awesome. It’s on your side, asking you to take some moments off.
The trouble with motivation

I have been self-employed for more than a decade now, and have often wondered if it was the right decision. At times, I envy the safety of a job. Someone to tell me what to do, when to do it, and then reward me for it. I miss calling in sick and requesting someone else to do my work. As a self-employed person, you are required to be motivated all the time.

They say the grass is greener on the other side, but I beg to differ. With their strict disciplinary policies, I found that there was no grass at all in corporate offices! Having the discipline of an alcoholic sloth, I realised that the numero uno ingredient to transform my life was motivation. Throughout the course of my life, I have taken motivation from a number of sources. In my teens, it was my urge to break into a creative field. In my 20s, it was to make a name for myself. Now in my 30s, I am merely trying to survive the life I chose for myself. And motivation is the currency that we self-professionals operate by.

I’m told there are two kinds of motivation. In our childhood, we were mostly given negative motivation. We all knew that one senior who had failed his 10th standard and was now working in a chai shop. The fear of working in a chai shop drove me to study. But watching Dolly Chaiwala meeting Bill Gates makes me question my life choices. Then there are movies. Take two movies I have watched numerous times: Rocky and Sooryavamsham. In the former, the entire city follows Rocky Balboa on his jog. And in the latter, Amitabh Bachchan goes from a single truck to an entire truck company. However, in both cases, there was a rousing song in the background. I looked around me, and found neither Shankar, Ehsaan, or Joy! I then graduated to self-help books. Self-help authors were the earliest influencers. I found that every self-help book comes with a ‘Premium’ package that can be unlocked only by attending a workshop conducted by the author.

Then there are friends. Movies always have a friend who inspires the hero to work towards his goal and eventually dies during the intermission. My friends on the other hand motivated me to start drinking and smoking – and are leading long, healthy lives. Eventually, my counsellor told me that motivation could be hereditary. Since my father was the first-generation literate in my family, I find it hard to calculate the motivation levels that ran in my blood.

After years of walking around a desert like a nomad, I found my answer. Turns out, motivation is useless. I pumped my fist in the air in celebration. So it was a mirage, after all! However, the article went on to say that in place of motivation, one must attempt to inculcate discipline. Discipline apparently involves motivating yourself! This is when I chanced upon motivation’s cousin: procrastination.

Procrastination gets a bad rep, but is in fact, quite awesome. It’s on your side, asking you to take some moments off. Procrastination understands that we shall all perish, and existence is in essence, futile. Instead of looking around for motivation, I spend my afternoons making chai for myself and watching Sooryavamsham instead. It’s like a Bollywood rom-com you watch on lazy afternoons. I set out to find motivation and instead realised my love was right next to me: procrastination.

P.S. I shall send the rest of the column tomorrow. Kindly excuse!

Hriday Ranjan

Writer, comedian

(The writer’s views are personal)

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