Does motivation have a “look”? Do you find it in an intense gaze or an eager grin? Perhaps it looks like a stack of neatly color-coded “project files”. Or a whiteboard with the chaotic scrawl of a genius in action.
You walk into the living room and your shaggy-haired friend Steve is lounging on your couch, the faint smell of marijuana in the air. Actually, he’s been on that couch for a few weeks now. He’s worked odd jobs, but not lately.
Steve lives from couch to couch at various friends’ houses, but they don’t mind much–he’s an interesting guy and he never stays long. You don’t have to feed him; he happily eats at soup kitchens when necessary.
If you ask him what his plan is, he’ll tell you, “I’m finding myself.” Just the thought stresses you out, to imagine being 23 years old with no goals. Steve doesn’t seem to mind.
The young man I’m describing is Steve Jobs, the creative rule-breaker that charmed the world with his sleek technology. Barbara Walters calls him “Most Fascinating Person of the Year” and his biography tops Amazon’s bestseller list.
Granted, for every Steve Jobs-ish couch-warmer, there are 1000 other young adults, languishing in the family home, telling their parents that they are “finding themselves”. Mostly they are just finding the couch. Your local college probably has a dozen geeks that will tell you they plan to invent the a lifechanging new “whizmogidget”. But can we guess which one?
Who knows, maybe Job’s friends would tell you about his intense gaze or eager grin and convince you that they knew this all would happen. But often motivation is a slow burning thing that happens inside. It’s not a lot of words spouted at cocktail parties or the Mercedes you decide to lease before you’ve even got a business plan. Motivation is a mysterious alignment of talents, resources, environment and sense of purpose. And it’s not always obvious.
Motivation is a mysterious alignment of talents, resources, environment and sense of purpose.
When Steve Jobs said he was finding himself–he meant it. It just wasn’t until he found himself as a pioneer of artistic technology, that we could actually see what that meant.
Every day we’re writing new page in our life story: the dialogues, the scene changes, and all of the movements of our developing character. We are like actors searching for a scene that showcases the best of what we’ve got.