A satisfied mind

We are knowingly motivated towards a feeling of satisfaction. We strive to create an agreeable balance of effort vs change.

A lot of us run because we like to eat; a lot of us write because it feels cathartic to get the words down. Running and writing can be hard, but we still do it because there is no reason to stop. We find our motivation in the process of doing.

Motivation is more than immediate rewards. I found out that motivation is what elicits, controls and sustains our beliefs. Values are what motivate us; we don’t actually get as encouraged by an end result as much as by what we feel is intrinsically correct about our beliefs. I found that we also believe we all have the same inherent values, but this is pretty far from the truth.

Sometimes I think I am motivated by chocolate. I play this trick with myself that if I run so many interval repeats or run fast enough up a hill, I can have my chocolate. I do the run, but the chocolate reward does not taste as good as I ever imagined it while running. I enjoy it, but the satisfaction and fulfillment is in the doing.

Sometimes when there is more to say I am motivated to write. There is more than what comes out aloud, more that I’ve learned to change. I write a lot and then edit heavily, because what I feel repeats itself. It’s like each time a record goes around it’s on a new groove, but in the same approximate space. (New, but the same; new, but the same.) Sometimes it’s just a lot of words. I have snippets… but it can be hard to put the snippets together. I want to express the inside out.

When I want to write, I reshape my attention to nurture my process. I seek out feedback. I focus on what I want as an end result and stay present in the process. The value I find in what I am doing encourages me.

I think it’s important to know what feeds you. Beyond eating chocolate, I find a place where I want to let go of the words and just keep running. It’s a creative wave that I want to let crash and spill and enjoy. My writing is getting better, my running is faster and now both are less laboured.

Sometimes even a ripple can overturn a canoe. How can you see that coming?

* How does your writing, or running, or cooking (or ?) get you to a place of fulfillment? What motivates you to reach further?

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10 thoughts on “A satisfied mind

  1. I think I run because it feels like freedom. It’s the one thing I can do where I can let my mind run free and my body just has to follow. Or I can focus on my pace, or my breathing, or the trail, and let my mind rest in that simplicity. Running feels like I’m letting my body do what it’s supposed to do.

    Writing is much harder work. How much do I want to open myself up to scrutiny? How far down do I let the walls go? How much of my true heart do I show to the world? Running is much easier. It’s all me out there, open and without walls, doing what comes naturally.

    • Writing (and publishing) is more permanent than running, but I think it comes down to our judgements on ourselves.
      I think if we are too harsh with ourselves we lose the spark of doing. A good run will always keep you coming back. A good post, or a great sentence, will remind you that it’s in you, just wanting more room to come out.

      Thanks for the lovely blog post mention today!

  2. I think that my problem with fulfillment is that the way to get that feeling of slight relief is always so different! Some days, nothing will work but making a song; other days, writing a blog entry is all it takes to turn that feeling of inner tension into blissful peace…for a few hours.
    I think the answer to “how” it gets me there is that it helps me take big knots of creative tension and either braid them, make them look pretty like a spaghetti pasta drawing, or just get them out of me still in knot-form and tangled sentences but at least, not in my head anymore 🙂 I get motivated to reach further because when I get positive results; such as a healthier feeling after running, mental peace after meditation, lots of love from blogging, or a feeling of relief after putting my thoughts into words, I am more likely to go to that source for a fun feeling of relief the next time that ball of creativity and energy needs to find a point of release.
    Thanks for encouraging me to think of that, it was fun!

  3. I like the delayed reward thing about the chocolate. I find it interesting that our perception of a reward doesn’t meet the reality of consumption. I wonder how often we purchase something that doesn’t match our perception of what we thought it was going to do for us.

    • We each have our tricks to sustain us through non-optimal conditions. Mine usually involve food.

      I agree that our perception of a reward doesn’t match our reality of consumption. Retail therapy anyone?

  4. Pingback: Running and Writing: A Powerful Combo « Run Nature

  5. Good post. Good food for thought. Almost as good as chocolate.

    I think I started running to test myself, feel strong, feel free (and get away from my children.) But I’m not so sure why I’ve been drawn back to writing. I wrote for a living (for a newspaper) for 10 years. And even though newspaper writing lost its thrill and charm for me, I still feel the need to write for an audience. I enjoy working out my thoughts, memories and feelings on the page. It’s part record-keeping, part therapy, part discipline and part routine. And, like running, it gives me a great sense of accomplishment.

    • I like working out my thoughts on paper. I can do the same while running, but seeing my own words on paper helps me see where I am at. Plus it can feel like a release to get an emotion through you onto paper and leave it there.

      I find both, like you, a lovely sense of accomplishment.
      That deserves some chocolate!

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