Don’t take life to serious – When did it get so serious?

Have you ever stopped and wondered where all the fun went. It seems for some of us their motto is “don’t take life to serious”, for others there was a turning point from fun to serious. Life goes from being an adventure to being a chore. Yes that sounds a little dramatic but where is the balance, when did things start getting so serious. This is another question put to me by my coaches Helen and Paul. When did the fun stop and being so serious start?

This question has been buzzing around in my mind for a few weeks and it is a hard one to pinpoint. One difficulty I have been finding on my personal development journey is that my memory could be better. Digging into the past to find a reason for things is limiting. However I still try and the more I talk the more remember, but I digress.

Digging back as far as I can go I seem to have always been serious. As a kid I was always quiet and as I grew up I had a serious step dad and my mum and sister took a large amount of the attention. Although these things don’t trigger any reason I would have stopped having fun.

My only thoughts could have been when money and career started to become my main focus. There was a point when I went from having just enough money to saving as much as I could. I feel that as the saving amount got bigger the drive to make it bigger increased and I didn’t want to touch it. In fact I accrued almost 16 weeks of annual leave at work as I didn’t take holidays.

So I am wondering if the attitude of having fun cost money has developed and as I don’t like spending money on having fun, life turned serious. The thought pattern of “save for your future” or “pay off the house”.  This is probably why they say balance is required.

This kind of leads me to the thoughts that fun things are unproductive, there is to much more important things to do, like finish this website or tidy the house. Fun needs to be made important.

The other trigger that may have caused it could be a fear of judgement. Letting your hair down and relaxing means you are out of control and I have always been seen as in control. The very opposite to my sister, although she is good now. She was the rebellious one and I was the straight one eighty. For some reason I feel that I need to continue being in control.

This question is a hard one to answer. Maybe the real question should be what is wrong with having a bit of fun? Maybe following people’s motto of “don’t take life too seriously” could be modified to don’t take life to seriously all the time. It is all about balance I guess.

Why does external motivation work better than internal motivation for me?

My coaches Paul Blackburn and Helen Abbott asked me to think about a question I asked them the other day. Why does external motivation work better than internal motivation for me? By this I meant why isn’t that something that someone else wants me to do gets me off my butt and motivated more than what I want to do. Why do I perform better with external motivators than my own desires to do something?

A simple example would be working on my website. I can set the goal to complete a post or page and maybe record a video, my girlfriend will ask me to help her with something on her site and further still I might get a request from someone from our EMC group to review their site.

For some reason the most external person’s request, the EMC person, as the most critical. Then my girlfriends then mine. It is only now that I realise that less I know the person the more focus I get to complete the task. That seems totally backwards. So why do I see it like this.

I have come to a few theories, which one is the true root cause, at this stage I am not sure. However as I found in the last paragraphs things seem to come into vision when you write about it and not just think about it. However that is another blog post.

So why external motivation vs internal motivation? My first theory relates to the need for brownie points, or more so the feeling I get when I am given brownie points from people. There is an element of ‘feel good’ when you do something for someone else, or you help them out a bit. So could the increased motivation from internal people simple a way to make myself feel good?

This leads me onto thinking that maybe it is an increased ego that drives it. Maybe the brownie points, is a way to boost my ego a bit and make me feel more important. This might come into play when the topic is something that I know about, however ego would drive the need to help someone in the yard or move house. I don’t feel that ego is my driver. Phew!

Looking back at the need for brownie points makes me think that maybe a simple solution is to learn to pat myself on the back and celebrating my own successes. Maybe I need to allow myself to see completing my own task as important. Of course this also has a sideline thought. Maybe I don’t see my own tasks as important enough, maybe there is an underlining thought that “I’m not worthy” that makes other peoples things more important than my own  giving me external motivation.

This certainly doesn’t happen on a conscious level, however maybe subconsciously this thought impacts my conscious decisions. I think a few affirmations are required to reprogram worthiness into my subconscious. After all “I am Worthy”, in fact – we all are.

Of course one more thought does cross my mind, maybe my goals and task relating to those goals aren’t what I want, maybe they don’t answer my why. So they are not important enough for me to warrant time on them. I guess it is a matter of sitting down writing out all my current projects and determining if they are truly important to me. I have some work to do.

I am looking forward to when internal motivation or far more powerful that external motivation. When you can set a goal for yourself and it is more important than someone else’s goal or dream. This is almost a goal in itself for me. To find out what I really want and have the internal drive to make happen.

Wow, I was just making the video to accompany this post and ping a new theory popped into my head. What about judgement? Having a task that I said I would do for someone really holds me accountable. Maybe the fear of judgement if I do not do the task is the external motivation. No one likes to disappoint, is disappointing someone them judging you.