Tag Archives: Motivation


Bradbury on Starting Writing, Keeping Writing, and Love

I grew up reading Ray Bradbury stories and loved it when 13 of his short stories were adapted for radio (because, you know, I’m into that sort of thing). So, naturally, I’ve checked out some interviews and lectures where he talks about writing and his thoughts on it.

This hour-long lecture comes from when Bradbury was around 80, so it should come as no surprise if your curmudgeon detector goes off. However, other videos can give you more of a taste of that.

Here, I especially like how he tackles:

How to get started writing

His advocacy of attempting short stories before getting deep into novels mirrors other a lot of what I’ve read and heard in the filmmaking realm, where doing shorts is often vital in learning various aspects of craft. It also matches what many people say in that the quantity and mindful practice is invaluable to getting better.

How to get your brain percolating about writing

I mean, as the lecture goes on, he does keep on adding to one’s evening homework, but Bradbury isn’t the only one who advocates reading poetry (I’ve had acting teachers and dialect coaches push for the same).

And it seems like a good way to keep your brain active in any case (writer or not).

Why you’re writing in the first place

As with any creative pursuit, it should all roll back to love, which he mentions generally near the beginning and closes with very personally at the end.


Nuance on the trend of “Quiet Quitting”

Earlier this Fall, there was a flurry of posts, thought pieces, and assorted hand-wringing about “Quiet Quitting,” which sounded weird until I learned far too many people have been using the phrase to describe people doing their jobs, just not going above and beyond.

To reference The Princess Bride, I don’t think “quitting” means what they think it means. In fact, I rather side with the people pushing back at hand-wringing over people doing what they’re paid to do. Instead of “quiet quitting,” I’ve heard the entertaining phrase “acting your wage.”

Now, from the title image below, you may correctly conclude that Jon Favreau and his interviewee, Derek Thompson, agree that “quiet quitting” is a silly term, but the hour-long conversation has a whole lot more about the future of office culture, hard work and ‘soft’ work.

(Oh, and I should mention that this is from the Pod Save America family of podcasts which are, by and large, political. Favreau is a former Obama staffer, after all. So just be aware that spice is in the mix).

A Secret of Happiness or Now I Want to Check In With Silver Medalists…

It’s not uncommon for me to kick off Monday’s with a post about motivation or life satisfaction, so I figured I’d post this brief article by Arthur C. Brooks over at The Atlantic. In short, Noël Coward may have been on to something when one of his characters in Design for Living goes on in a perfect theater banter way about how one can have too much of a good thing. Basically, the happiest people may not do the best in life.

How happy is this person a scale of gold to bauxite?

I’ll be looking for related studies and other takes on this studies in the future.

Satisfaction & Stepping Off the World’s Treadmill

Monday posts have been about motivations and resolutions and worldviews so far this year, so why stop now?

After this long, has Sir Mick accrued measurable satisfaction?

From that standpoint, Arthur Brooks’ piece for The Atlantic was a welcome read (or, if you so desire, a 41-minute listen).

What I appreciated was the time Brooks took in defining why we human animals are on this neverending treadmill for satisfaction. The societal pressures are, I would hope to most people, rather self-evident. The evolutionary arguments are ones that make me want to revisit some of my anthro coursework of ages ago and see what’s happened since then. I suspect there’s some nuance on the evolutionary angle. Nonetheless, from societal pressures alone, it makes sense why it’s so hard for one to get off the treadmill.

By the time we get to Brooks’ thoughts on three ways to aim for more satisfaction in life (decidedly not Conan’s way), the approach resonate more because of the definition of the problem.

So, as many of start another workweek, may you take some steps off the treadmill.


Hacking Your Personality in the Pursuit of Happiness

So, a couple weeks ago, I posted a link to some deep thoughts: guideposts for how to live your life. It was all part of a series of posts I’ve been doing this January exploring the whole notion of New Year’s resolutions writ large.

So why not continue?

The article that piqued my interest in this case was an article by Christian Jarrett for the BBC. A TL;DR summary of the article might be “everyone has their own personal goals they’re working on which often bring true life fulfillment day to day — and there’s ways to work on and complete their goals by understanding your personality and reframing your goals so your personality isn’t an obstacle.”

The article references the work of Dr. Brian Little, a psychologist who, surprise, surprise, has spent some time researching personalities and traits. You can get a taste of him from this TED talk from a few years ago:

Mind you, there’s probably a lot more that could be written about next steps, but as I’m not a research psychologist nor journalist on deadline, I leave this appetizers out there for the reader who wants to dive in and make a meal of it.

What if Your Dream Job isn’t the Right Job?

Not for the first time and not for the last, my dayjob is undergoing a re-organization. That means that, not only have I had many conversations with people who are changing jobs or looking for new ones, but it’s an opportune time to examine what the heck I’m doing — and invariably here in the U.S., that seems to bring up questions of “the dream job.”

Our culture is suffused with notions of finding our dream jobs, like the podcast whence this graphic came from. And hey, I like dreams, but are dream jobs always a good idea?

I’ve written about this multiple times on this site, but I believe it’s important to remember that just one job probably won’t capture all the meaning you need in your life. I talk about this a lot more in a post from three years ago on the concept of “ikigai” and one’s “reason for being.”

My conclusion there, something reinforced over the past few years, has been that no one job can satisfy one’s need for meaning — and in fact one’s dream job will have tasks that are less than dreamy (e.g., running an audio theater troupe is wonderful, but not 24/7 delightful).

I’ve also mentioned that one should avoid the trap of trying to turn any hobby or interest into a monetized “side hustle” (a term I dislike on multiple levels). And I still need to explore further the idea of having multiple interests and eschewing the notion of “one true calling.” I mean, I haven’t subscribed to the notion of “one true calling” for some time, but maybe it’s the circles I’ve been in, I haven’t seen too many people pushing back on that notion.

So Rainesford Stauffer’s article for Refinery 29 this past November came across my computer screen at just the right time. A good chunk of it is looking at the work of Dr. Erin Cech, a sociologist studying the place of passion in work, finding work, and defining job satisfaction. What I really like is how much it goes into our society’s concept of work, jobs, and “dream jobs.”

“When paying bills or being fairly compensated are presented as luxuries in the American workforce, rather than fixtures, it’s worth looking at where the urge to make our jobs into more than just work comes from in the first place. It wasn’t always this way.”

Understanding some of the structural and societal pressures to “love your job” is important as we all are beginning to ask more what we want from work in, what I can only hope can soon be the post-Pandemic times.


Don’t Worry about not having One True Calling

I’ve had several posts over the years about people finding their purpose in life, several posts about hobbies, and also just generally about motivation.

Especially as so many of us are about to re-enter “normal” work locations and schedules, it’s an opportune time to consider what you want to be doing — and for those of us who have the luxury of considering what to do beyond “anything that pays the bills NOW,” there’s often the push to find “your calling.”

And some of you may be stressed about that.

Well, Emilie Wapnick is here to reassure those of us who have multiple interests, you are okay. In fact, you just may be able to use that to your advantage in your quest for a more satisfying life.

Reckless, Truthful, & Clean as a Bone: James Baldwin on Writing

I’ve been meaning to get back into the groove of posting motivational material on Mondays — as well as tackle some larger writing projects as well, so this list from Emily Temple over at Literary Hub of James Baldwin’s observations on writing is most welcome.

James Baldwin (Photo: Allan Warren)

If you’ve read some of his work or seen some of his interviews, the directness and clarity of his observations and suggestions will come as no surprise, but it could just be that one or three of the sentiments is just what you need to hear right now.


A Short Guide to Successful Traits

I’m working on some longer pieces on New Year’s and resolutions, but in the meantime, while “success” might be a long journey, this TED video about traits researchers have found in successful people is under four minutes.

I mean, granted, that means there’s no time for nuance, but if you’re raring to jump into your New Year goal planning, this might help motivate you.


Art is a Luxury, Except when it’s Sustenance

TED Talks are probably good fodder for Monday Motivation posts, and here’s a good one, especially for creatives wondering about why they’re doing what they’re doing.