In my dreams, I am the kind of self motivated person who just jumps out of bed in the morning and does everything on my “To Do” list, just because it’s there. The truth is I actually don’t want to be that kind of person, which is a good thing, because it just isn’t who I am.
I have always worked better with deadlines. It would be great to have the discipline and internal motivation to steadily work on school papers and work projects and finish them weeks in advance, but the truth is that external deadlines are what work for me. I cut it just a little close and work furiously to finish, but that’s how I get work done.
Recently I helped someone warp her loom. This warp had so many problems that if it had been my project and my loom, it would have taken me three months to complete. When working on a troublesome textile project, I usually get frustrated and berate myself for not being more skilled. Then when there’s a problem I avoid my studio for weeks at a time. When guilt forces me back to the loom, I work for an hour or two and then abandon it for another week. Months later I am still struggling with angst about not being able to get through the project.
This project had a deadline and even though it completely disrupted my week, I found I loved the external controls. This weaver had a deadline for her project and I was leaving town. If I was going to help her, the loom had to be warped within a week. It was supposed to take a few hours but myriad problems arose and the two of us together probably put in two dozen hours just to get the warp on the loom. I had planned to go to her house once or twice but driven by the deadlines I was back there every day for a week. I worked until I was exhausted but have to confess I liked it. I thrive from the challenge of a hard task with an external deadline.
In my next lifetime maybe I’ll be that self motivated person who only responds to internal cues, but for now, external works just fine for me.