Posted in Lost in Thought

Dim Bulbs: the Enemy of Motivation

Have been thinking about motivation and enthusiasm. This chain of thought was triggered when I was reading a No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency book by Alexander McCall Smith. One of the characters (a qualified mechanic and owner of a garage) was thinking to himself how young people (like his assistant mechanics) did not have the hard-working enthusiasm that he had when he was young. All they seem to want to do is smoke, drink and watch the girls go by.

I was thinking about whether I ever felt enthusiastic about work or learning, and whether there was anything specific I was aiming for? I most liked the idea of being a writer or artist, but (as they weren’t taken seriously as careers) I didn’t have plans to follow such routes. I had a fleeting interest in archaeology and Anglo-Saxon, and my favourite poet was Keats. (In some indefinable way Keats was what drew me to university, and gave me As and B-pluses for my essays on him… but university wasn’t what I thought it might be). Beyond that, I did not feel drawn to anything in particular… perhaps our choices are too open and uncertain these days.

I have a sinking feeling I have more in common with the young mechanics than with their laudable and hard-working boss.

In any case, I was wondering what motivates people to choose specific careers and whether or not they regret their choices? Do they begin and end with the same career, or change at some point? What do they enjoy about what they do? Mum said she enjoyed her nursing career despite it being tiring and stressful. She was able to stand up to the matrons, though some were quite bullying types. I have a theory that merely communicating with people is stressful enough for me, so the thought of some stressful job on top of that (particularly one calling for good relations with colleagues and a clear understanding of what is going on and what is wanted) is too much. And so my own enthusiasm and motivation get channelled into a whole different side of things… more towards doing something that I can control myself without fearing that I will let someone down. I would never be a nurse for that reason! I can’t imagine enjoying it, but I am glad that there are people who do (or certainly used to).

All I can say about what motivates me currently is that whenever I come up to this room (where the computers are), all of the warmth and energy I had up to that point drains away. Maybe there’s some ‘feng shui’ reason for it! It’s a dark room, always has been. But at least in the summer it can seem quite bright and warm, with the leafy green trees outside and the honey-gold sun slanting past the window. There’s even the occasional pigeon throwing itself at the glass. In the winter it’s not like that… it’s cold, dim and grey. I never want to stay long… just long enough to check my email.

The electric light doesn’t help when it’s night… there’s a single main light in the middle of the ceiling (it really needs two). The bulb is one of those energy-saving bulbs and it’s incredibly dim… it makes things darker instead of brighter. Every time Mum comes in here she scowls and says “that light is awful. How can you see anything in here?” I keep a twin-bulb spotlight near the desk, which helps.

I’ve just had a moment of deja vu, as though I had already written about what this room is like in the summer… a blog post which was accidentally deleted, only there never was one…

Anyway, I’m beginning to despair about it… about my not feeling able to come in here and get on with my blog and other computer projects. I wish the sun would come back, because then maybe I’ll come out of hibernation.



I live in the UK with two cats -- Samson and Delilah.

6 thoughts on “Dim Bulbs: the Enemy of Motivation

  1. Hey! I know what you mean. I always wanted to live/ have an artistic life but for same reason (no $living to be earned via my questionable talents) I didn’t go there. I ended up in a profession that is unlike “me” but which I tried to soften my corner of before it let me down (and out). I Regret.

    A suggestion— if you get a chance, find & read ROUND THE BEND by Nevile Shute. One of main characters (fellow named Connie) espouses a teachable philosophy about one’s work that is pretty cool. I love Shute books, and this one is my favorite.

  2. I’m kind of in the same boat – between projects and not really motivated to get started. In time it’ll change, though. At different times, people are just more into certain things than others.


  3. Geo: I will come soon… I’ll just chain this genie down first. 🙂 Is it chocolate cake? My favourite…

    Hi Shu, I read a few Nevil Shute books but that one doesn’t ring a bell. I will look out for it!

    Pacian: I guess that Christmas interrupts the flow of things and a lot of projects probably falter at this time of year. Also, I suppose, it’s the time to start something new (New Year Resolutions).

  4. Thought-provoking post which I could relate to.
    I do so hate those energy efficient bulbs – they’re cold and dim. I had one give up the ghost just recently and I believe it hadn’t lasted any longer than a normal bulb.
    My daughter has recently started a photography course (one of the best in the country) and I’m envious – it’s something I would have loved to have done at her age but there was nothing like it at the time. She said there are a few older students there going through a change of career, but I feel I’m too old for a career change now. I spent thousands on getting my masterate for my current job so that’s it really. I do wish I had a more creative job though.

    1. I think we were steered away from the creative jobs… huh. 😦 As though there wasn’t already plenty of competition for the more approved ones!

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