Get motive and motivation from your childhood
Oct 24 2013
Let me give you a commonplace example. When you reach your 40s, a situation can arise when work becomes stale, when life loses its lustre, when enthusiasm dips and when living seems a chore. You go to work hoping a magic wand will get waved over you and you can recapture some of that joie de vivre of childhood. (The day you spent in Goa on a beach, doing very little and yet being happy). It was one such day when I was at my lowest. The day was bleak, my work was boring and I was paralysed by ennui. My friend saw me like this for a long time and then suggested that we should drive out for the day. “Don’t know if I can!” I replied disinterestedly. She insisted and whisked me away in her car to Jaipur. I was livid with her but she said, “Trust me, you have to trust me! Just think of nothing, relax”. True to her word, the music in the car, the hot masala chai and the gentle weather, all managed to calm me.
Suddenly, we saw a herd of cows crossing the road, their bells jangling and a little girl singing. Their sense of peace wafted across and brought a smile to my face. Sometimes in a racing moment of listening that inner turmoil flows out, those demons in your head become invisible and the mind rests. I looked out at the immensity of the mustard fields, at the warm embrace of the winter sun and a new respect for the world grew inside me. I remembered a time from my childhood when the sea growled if the beach bums ignored her. She was the star; you had to be swept away by her grandeur. You had to look outside your little self, outside your tiny problems. Now try “reaching back to a happier time,” she said closing her eyes and catching a nap. I travelled back in time, my mind a tangled blur of memories. Because of the road travel, I was able to cull the happy ones. The time my father took me by road to Agra, our car broke down midway and we spent the night in a crummy motel. But my cousins and I played games late into the night, while our parents were enjoying the detour. It took so little to make us laugh! The germ-infested beds that forced us to sleep on a sheet on the floor, was an adventure to eschew.
I remembered my father’s words, “When you want to be happy, you will. So what’s your intent?” I had to re-examine the motive, the intent with which I lived my life. I wanted to be famous, to be successful, to have money, to have holidays and parties...and what’s wrong with that? Then it struck me why I was so disenchanted with life. As an adult, I always looked at the reward, not at the joy of doing something. The work had become an end to make money and to pay bills. The something “free” and “spontaneous” in my life had vanished; had died. So I may have become competent, but I was hollow inside. If one’s motives are wrong, motivation dies.
If you don’t enjoy doing what you choose to do, even read a book, then life becomes a chore. It’s up to you, to re-motivate yourself, re-examine your motives, realign yourself with your capabilities. So, enjoy growing up because that’s the past you will always dip into, to rework the future. Then I opened the car’s window and shared my problems with the wind, who carried it away, leaving me empty, not hollow, but empty of worry.
PS: I say ‘no’ to worry. It just doesn’t listen! So, now it’s time to stand and fight.
(The writer is a theatre director and novelist)