What gets you moving? What lights a fire under your butt?
It’s different things for each of us. I tend to work well with the reward /punishment thing. Well, OK. Maybe not the punishment part so much as the rewards. Performance Orientation was established in me way way back when I was of single digit age. Yes, it’s a long time. You don’t need to know specifics. LONG TIME.
It went something like this: “Hey kiddo. If you go out and gather the eggs, we’ll go get an ice cream cone this afternoon. Deal?” “OK Daddy!” Knowing that I would get that fabulous swirl cone made facing that mean rooster a worthwhile endeavor.
Then things changed, and the rooster got the better of me. I was maybe 8 when it happened, I dropped the basket of eggs, Charlie (AKA the rooster from HELL) spurred me on my legs and on my forearm. My mother wasn’t happy with me for dropping the eggs. She told me as much as she poured Merthiolate on my wounds and reminding me that she was not going to let dad get me an ice cream cone. The hate began.
Hate can also be a motivator. I hated that rooster with a passion. My brother had a catcher’s mask, and knee pads. I donned them and took the big wooden spoon out of the drawer, clasping it with an iron fisted grip. No rooster was going to come between me and my swirl cone. It’s difficult to run when your brother’s knee pads keep sliding down to your ankles and the mask is three sizes bigger than your head.
I got to the chicken coop no problem. That was never the hard part. The hard part, and Charlie knew it, was the gauntlet back to the fence. I set my basket down in the coop, opened the little door and shooed away the chickens. Loud squawks, feathers flying, and here came Charlie – the fool – inside the little door. Little did he suspect that I had him trapped. I pulled the string that held the door up, and he was inside of the caged area where the hens should be. I calmly picked up my basket and returned with a basket full of eggs, no scratches, ready for my cone.
It was time to go in the afternoon and my mom mentioned that she hadn’t seen the rooster all day. I calmly told her he’s inside the coop. We didn’t have cell phones then, you know . . .back in the stone age. It’s a good thing or she would have called Dad and told him not to get me a cone.
Upon returning home, mom lay into me about the rooster. I simply explained that my instructions were to get the eggs. Mission accomplished. My dad laughed briefly, then told me to go to my room. That’s cool, that’s where my things were. Dad argued my case for me. We lost.
The next time, there was an addendum to the egg gathering. Again, I armed myself with knee pads, the catcher’s mask, and the big wooden spoon. Getting to the coop was a breeze. I spied my nemesis before ever opening the gate. As I entered the door of the coop, he was right behind me. I shut the door. If you’ve never been around chickens you may not know this, but closing yourself inside a chicken coop with the chickens in the heat of summer is a very, very bad idea. The amount of amonia that chicken poop gives off is enough to burn your eyes irreparably. I still think that is why I have to wear glasses.
I had to think. If I opened the door, Charlie was there. How was I going to get the eggs to the house without encountering Charlie? For the record, my older brother taunted him every time it was his turn to gather eggs and he just got meaner and meaner. Just then, I heard my dad clear his throat in the garage. We had a detached garage/workshop that the chicken coop was built onto the end of.
On the other side of the garage, my dad had his ladder up as he was cleaning out the gutters. Dad was in the garage, the ladder was free if I could just get to it. I opened the window, gasping for fresh air, and carefully climbed out the window, and up onto the roof. It wasn’t difficult because I was apparently part ape. Or at least that was what my dad claimed. The tricky part was setting the eggs up there, without tipping the basket as I stood on the window sill before hoisting myself up there. I waited, listening for noises that dad was still inside. He started the electric saw so I was safe. I made my way over the roof, to the other side and down the ladder.
It was a sweet gig while it lasted. I went to get the eggs, climbed out the window and onto the roof and down the ladder, that dad seemingly forgot to move. I should have known better. He was a stickler for putting things away. It lasted for about 6 weeks before my brother moved the ladder. There I was, stuck on the roof. For a whole fifteen minutes. Then I climbed down the mulberry tree that was next to the garage. So that lasted for the rest of the summer. Each week when it was my turn, I got my ice cream cone and fifty cents.
Until my brother squealed. The next week when it was my turn a new addendum was added that I couldn’t climb onto the roof. I cried. Then I got my wrist rocket. No stupid bird was going to stand between me and my ice cream cone. All I needed was a couple of rocks. OH, and the wooden spoon. I have no idea what I thought I was going to do with the wooden spoon, but I had it. I’m sure my 8 year old brain had something in mind.
My point is, I was highly motivated as a child by that ice cream cone to face my biggest fear that happened to be in the form of a Rhode Island Red rooster named Charlie. I need to find something to motivate me as strongly. I’ve gotten soft, lazy, out of shape. Mentally people, I’m not talking about my physique here or the lack of it. I need some mojo to get me tackling the hard parts.
I’m open to suggestions. Be warned, Ice cream cones don’t motivate me as they once did. I need a motivation for in the gym. I need a motivation for tackling the hard bits of writing. I need motivation. . . well we can just leave it at that.
What motivates you? What gets you past the muck? What incentives light your fires?
Till next time,