Thursday, September 5, 2013

On motivation

What motivates you to get better?

There are a lot of artists (not just taiko players) that don’t have to worry about being motivated, because they’re still pretty new and getting a lot of instruction.  Motivation isn’t all that necessary there because information is being given to them in order to raise them up to a certain level.  Sure, you still want to have motivation, but you can be somewhat passive in your drive and still get pushed forward.

Sooner or later, however, there’s a point where you’re not going to get that same kind of attention, for whatever reason.  Maybe you’ve been in the group long enough to where newer members are the priority.  Maybe you’ve gotten good enough to not need so much focus.  Maybe even you’re just too much trouble to teach!

I worry about people who are used to being pushed then figure they're going to still get better just by showing up.  It's not a taiko thing, it's a human thing.  It's hard to realize that the group or your sensei or what-have-you is not giving you the answers and now it's up to you to find them yourself.  Where I might find that exciting, others might find that demoralizing.  The easy way out is to simply not worry about it and not grow.

To some people, it’s not good if fame or glory or wanting the spotlight is your motivation.  But if it truly makes you better, to me that’s better than not being motivated at all.  You still have to work on your skills to keep that attention!  Different things motivate different people, and it's up to each of us to find out what those things are so we can use them effectively.  Motivational posters and inspirational quotes might ring a cord in one person, and actually de-motivate someone else.

Motivation can be inspired by goals, whether you set them or someone else does.   A new solo to get comfortable with, a new song to learn, a new style of drumming - all of that makes for a good reason to try harder.  But what if there's no real goal other than to put on a good show?  That's when it's easy to sit back and coast, but by the time you realize you're not getting better, you've been there for a while, and unlearning the bad habits you've developed is a pain in the butt!

It's not always easy for me to be motivated, but I'm a fighter and I'll use a little fire to call myself out on it.  I don't want to look back in five years and think I could have been doing so much more with the resources available to me, for months at a time.  I don't expect to always be beaming with excitement or raring to go, and I have to accept that there will be times when I'm just not excited about my art - whatever it might be - but I'll regret it more down the line if I don't come back at it with a fighting spirit.

The longer you play, the more motivation has to come from within, from you.  Whether you fight to find it or not is a personal choice, but a choice that will shape where you are now and beyond.

1 comment:

  1. I'm still a new player; but one day I'll be facing that too, and then I hope I can keep myself motivated. Because it all stops when we stop growing.