I read an article by Steve Pavlina that talked about different kinds of motivation: towards and away-from. I’d never really thought about it too much before then, but I realized that I undeniably make the most progress after I’ve been severely hurt. I go through a period of deep confusion, but after that passes, everything is so much clearer than it was before the trauma.
I’ve always been better at eliminating from my life what I don’t like than at chasing my dreams. The stronger I feel a bad emotion, the easier I can find which way is the opposite direction. While submerged in those emotions, I feel like I have nothing to lose, so I take more risks. The positive emotions I feel about my goals are associated mostly with fabrications, so it’s hard to feel a real directional pull toward my dreams. I’m working on changing this (working hard), but right now, I feel the away-from motivation very strongly. Even if the outcome of the risk-taking is bad, I always feel at least a little bit better; I feel brave, and satisfied that I’ve crossed something off my list of things to try.
After a terrible night of ex-boyfriends and new girlfriends (both should be singular, if you know what I mean), nothing felt like a worse idea than going home to sleep. I literally marched past the entrance to my apartment building and into the nearest pub. It turned out to be an Irish pub, and there was live music, and I was very grateful for both of those things. I sat at the bar, close to where there seemed to be more commotion because maybe that meant someone was more likely to talk to me. My goal was just to have a beer and not force myself to talk to anyone if I felt it was too hard. One step at a time; walking in was difficult enough for me! Plus, I was genuinely enjoying myself, a beer in hand, music in my ears, surrounded by people and no one to impress.
However, a question I actually wanted the answer to materialized itself in my noggin. There was a guy playing acoustic guitar, and since I’d been wanting to perform at open mic nights, I asked the guy next to me if that’s what tonight was. He looked at the bartender and they both started laughing. Apparently it wasn’t, and they thought it was funny that they were being asked this question for the second time. I had a good chat with the guy for a while, he was nice. We talked about careers and he suggested I work in a bar to get in the know about the music scene (and I’m actually considering doing so). He was friends with all the staff, with whom he was playing some sort of dice game. I had just been invited to play in the next round when the guitarist finished his set and put down his instrument. I had been wanting to ask him the title of one of the songs he played (turned out to be “Thirteen” by Elliott Smith), so I went over to talk to him. We ended up having a great conversation about music, life and love, and he added me to Facebook. I bought another beer.
I can’t ask for a better outcome than making a friend (well, I guess a friend and a half). A musical friend, no less! I also got positive comments about my personality from both people. Bonus!
I’ll be doing this again. If you think you’re missing out on something, you probably are, even if it’s just a learning experience. Push through the fear!