I’ve been studying a lot of physics (for fun), and have found all these lovely parallels between physics and “real life.”
Resistance, or drag— what prevents forward motion.
In life, some examples of resistance which hold us back:
- Self-doubt: We are afraid of being negatively judged by our peers, therefore we don’t pursue our dreams and passions in life. Or we are afraid that if we try to do what we are passionate about, we will let ourself down (the worst type of disappointment).
- Laziness: Sloth, lethargy, not having the motivation to move, or create, or leave the house.
- Fear: Fear of failure, fear of physical pain or discomfort, or fear of mental pain or discomfort.
Which of these are holding you back? A combination of them, all of them, none of them, or just one of them?
The stimulus to action
How do you motivate yourself to act, move, or be engaged… or to create?
- Intermittent fasting: When I am hungry I have a MOTIVATION to move, or to “hunt.” Therefore I never eat breakfast… it makes no sense for me biologically to feed myself or “reward myself” with food before I engage in some sort of physical or mental or creative activity. For my most creative and productive days, I don’t eat breakfast or lunch… only a massive dinner (and 5-6 “egg snacks” before I sleep).
- Caffeine: Coffee, tea, have evolved caffeine as a poison, to ward off predators. Fortunately for us (big) human beings, it just gives us a mild buzz (whereas caffeine kills small animals and insects and other predators). I have read that there is a biological process called “hormesis” in which a small dose of poison activates our immune systems, forcing us to become stronger. Therefore, a small dose of caffeine (poison) stimulates us to action. It gives us a mild adrenaline response. Therefore, if you find yourself lazy, just have a double shot of espresso (all black, no sugar, no milk) and start cranking out creative work.
- Physical exercise: After I do deadlifts or squats at the gym, chin-ups at the park, or even after a nice (long and slow) walk, I always find myself inspired and motivated to do creative work. I’m not sure why, but my theory is that stressing our muscles with the force of gravity sparks some growth hormones in our body. And we can channel that energy into creating creative stuff. An idea: try to hit the gym before shooting photos… I bet there will be much more “bounce” in each of your steps.
How bad do you want it?
You cannot “force” yourself to be motivated. You need to have something you’re so passionate about, that you’re willing to undergo physical and mental pain to achieve it.
In other words, you need to have a strong sense of PURPOSE why you do something.
For example, the stimulus I have in my photography is to engage with strangers who interest me. Taking pictures also helps me document society, and also helps me make social commentary and critique. Photography is also personal for me because it helps me document my love for my loved ones— and I hope my photography inspires others to also document their loved ones.
My main stimulus and motivation to write, blog, and share information is to empower others. If I had nobody else to help, I would have no motivation to teach, share, and spread the love. For me, wanting to help society and my fellow brothers and sisters is the ultimate stimulus.
So friend, just ask yourself:
Why do I want to make more pictures? Why do I want to create more art, or write more? Why do I want more inspiration in life?
Obviously, I’m still trying to figure out this for myself.
Some other general recommendations:
- Buy books, not gear. Buying a new gadget or tool has never “inspired” or motivated me to make more art. The ultimate motivation comes from my life experiences, and books. I have found great inspiration from great artists from the past, great philosophers, great poets, and other radicals and innovators. Buy books in the HAPTIC STORE.
- Listen to empowering music: Any music which motivates you to make more art is good. For myself, I love jazz music and hip hop music. Anything that gets me to bob my head, to move my body, and to feel an impulse in my muscles is good. I often do my best writing when listening to Kanye, Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar, Dr. Dre, Miles Davis, Nina Simone.
- Challenge yourself and avoid boredom: The way to always be creative— constantly push your boundaries and avoid what is easy. In street photography, perhaps go beyond single subjects, and try to shoot multiple subject layers. Shoot closer. Take more risks, and shoot what scares you. If whatever you’re doing is easy, you won’t have fun. With no fun, there is no growth.
Above all, just keep it simple. (KISS, keep it simple stupid). Anything that can simplify your life, workflow, or creativity is good. For example, I find it easier to blog on an iPad, and I’m writing all of this on my iPad in the WordPress.org text editor. I have been experimenting importing JPEG images from my Ricoh GR into the iPad with the SD card reader, and using iPhoto to flag photos (then VSCO to process the pictures, with the A6 preset)— this is simpler than using Lightroom (and faster).
With working out, keep it simple. Deadlifts, squats, and bench at the gym. Avoid all the other time-wasting workouts.
For your digital camera, just shoot P (program) mode. Use the simplest camera possible.
You’re on the right path. Just keep faith in yourself, and keep pushing forward.