With everything that has been going on over the last few years, a common question I get is, “how do you keep doing what you do?”

First, I always try to be clear about what motivates me. It is easy to get all mixed up in your brain jar if your motivations aren’t things that actually motivate you.

For example, the world revolves around the idea that money is a great motivator, and although this is a popular belief, I have found that money is a poor motivator for me. Don’t get me wrong, I will be elated when something works out, and I make bank, but then what?

I have had projects work out beautifully, only to discover that I hate working on said projects. At that point, I have a choice, continue making money, or move on to something I love doing. Neither choice is necessarily bad, but if I were being honest, I would have to admit that I am only doing it for the money, and chances are I will have to find the motivation to do it.

Second, if you make no money with said project, money being a motivator will drain you and do the opposite of motivating you.

So, what motivates me?

Honestly, it’s the things that excite me. Even still, I always have to be on guard about my motivations. The world loves to measure success in dollar bills. We have been trained to see success that way since we were little rug rats. It is easy to trick ourselves into thinking we are not motivated by the need for money.

Because of that, I ask myself several questions.

If I received nothing monetary from this, would I still do it?

If I received no recognition for this, would I still do it?

What reward do I want from this?

I sit with these questions for a while and allow myself to ponder. I think it is important to meditate on these questions because, in the end, what we do is what matters, not what we gain in the process.

Spoiler alert: The more you do, the more money you make as a side effect. The irony is if you are focused on it, it works against you. Besides, when you focus on money, you fall prey to believing you can predict the future… and that can be dangerous and discouraging.

So what motivates me? The act of putting myself out there as an art form and finishing up the projects lingering in my brain jar for over a year. Sometimes motivation looks like, “I just want to put this behind me.”

The important thing is just to keep going.

What motivates you?

5 thoughts on “What Motivates You?

  1. What I do is my air, my soul. Without it I am nothing. I simply have to do what I do because it is who I am. And I remind myself of that every time I even begin to think about going back to a typical J.O.B. This is about more than money. It’s about my soul. Enough said.

  2. I did the math… I have supported myself and added to my income through my art for 61 years. I first started selling drawings of their favorite toys to other kids when I was 10 years old. Drawing from life has always been consistent for me…even before any art teacher told me I should.
    I was first commissioned for a portrait by the father of one of the kids who had me do a drawing of his toy. The father said he would give me a dollar if I drew a picture of his son. I said I would try and earned the dollar. As it was 1961, a dollar was serious cash and I sold several toy drawings for a quarter each. I thought, this is the best way to earn money ever!
    However, what motivates me is the actual creation of my art. I have always told others that, if it wasn’t fun for me anymore, I would focus on one of my many other interests. Making money from my art has kept me…and my daughter…alive over the years but I only created work that I wanted to create. There are other ways to earn money. Being able to survive on my art is a bonus, not the reason it’s my passion.

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