On the Fence

Hadrian built a wall. It was AD 122, done in six years, stretching horizontally coast to coast 80 miles.  This was one persistent project.  For almost 2000 years old, it is like walking among the living ghosts, just as naturally as strolling the country side.  Now, looking back on this picture, I think of the man motivated to create such a thing. A Roman. Used to sun ripened olives and bright colors, sending troops and enslaving locals in the cold, wet, grey Northern England Climate. I think how alarming building that wall, in such a rushed pace, must have actually FELT. My friend said he built it to keep the natives from invading the Rome’s claimed territory. Gosh, those natives must have been some scary people to motivate its construction.

Fear motivated such a feat? It is remarkable…and begs the question…What motivates me?

There has always been this huge pit of hunger and desire propelling me forward. I do not like to sit still, unless I am reading or being held in an embrace. I prefer exploration, learning new insights, challenging my perspective. Always striving. I believe that this makes me 80% optimistic. Although there are casualities as well…constant hunger often means constant movement, a sense of perpetual “What’s next?” that others, and myself, can sometimes find draining.

Motivation comes from the most elemental emotions inside of us: fear, anger, sadness, happiness.  Many days, I know that I run out of the former three…finding a release from these uncomfortable sensations, which therefore provides happiness. Many days, I know that I travel and write out of these feelings as well….which fan the flames of my curiosity (which is NOT really a feeling, but more a disposition or way of perspective taking).

Please, hear this: this is not to say that being motivated by fear (should I sleep with him? should I eat more protein) is BAD…it really is neutral. But if you find that you are constantly only being motivated by fear (to stay in a job you despise) you may find yourself also feeling worried and victimized too frequently. Never mind the cup being half-empty, you may not even notice that you are holding a cup!

How often do I act on an urge to do something creative or fun? This picture reminds me to SURRENDER to moments of  uninhibited joy. Without evaluation. And yes, that is scary motivating me to do so. Because I don’t want to look back  on be in the fence, to be building up a wall to keep things out.

I want to let life in.

How does fear motivate you?


3 thoughts on “On the Fence

  1. fear definitely motivates me (fear of failure, fear of regret) but i think it’s a small part of the whole motivation thing. it used to be a BIG part but, like you mentioned, it leaves me feeling like i’m missing out on a lot because i’m so worried. so i’m working on finding motivation from other sources, like pride and happiness and self-esteem. it’s a process though!

  2. Great post. You know how to put things into perspective so well. I think fear motivates me very often, and as you said, it’s both good and bad. I have this fear that I will lose all of my friends if I don’t call them often (good thing) but I also have a fear that I won’t be considered a good RD if I don’t know everything (bad fear). I was actually just thinking about this today as I was working out. I come up with these questions that I don’t have the answer to (such as, why are nitrates in processed meats bad, but nitrates for chest pain good?) and then I drive myself crazy trying to figure out the answer. I still don’t know….

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