Is your motivation lacking these days?
If so, you’re absolutely not alone. Many of us are in the midst of a harsh winter, and there are tons of distractions — on television, on the web, and all around us.
It’s really hard to stay motivated and engaged when we’re not at our best, isn’t it?
“The Doldrums, my young friend, are where nothing ever happens
and nothing ever changes.” — The Lethargarians, The Phantom Tollbooth
One of my all-time favorite books is The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster. I read it a long time ago when I was a very young child, and even though it’s a children’s book, I love it even more as an adult.
Viewed through the eyes of a child, The Phantom Tollbooth is a magical adventure to a strange land. From an adult’s perspective, though, it’s a beautiful collection of lessons about life, people, character and empowerment.
The story starts with a sad boy named Milo. He was bored, feeling like everything was a huge waste of time. So when a mysterious tollbooth magically appears in his room, he goes through it and winds up in a strange land.
His travels take him to the most bizarre places, one of which is The Doldrums.
The traditional definition of the doldrums is “a state or period in which there is no activity or improvement”. Milo, of course, entered The Doldrums because he wasn’t paying attention to where he was going.
At first, Milo is frightened because he feels like he’s drowning in the stuckness and there’s no way out. But eventually, thanks to a new (and very odd) friend, he realizes that there is, in fact, a way to escape this strange land.
The secret to getting out of the doldrums is so simple — you simply have to do something.
Once Milo started actively thinking and using his imagination, he began to move — and the more he engaged his brain and his will, the faster he was able to his escape.
That’s very much the same in real life, don’t you think?
When we feel stagnated and stuck — whether it’s in our business or life in general — it’s like being in The Doldrums. And even though it’s sometimes excruciatingly difficult, the only way through it is to change our perspective — to set an intention, put your mind to it, and move.
You may have to muster up every ounce of motivation you can, but just focus on taking one small step. Then take another step, and another. Because every tiny step you take changes the energy of the situation.
Once you’ve started moving, then you can keep the momentum going.
Can you relate? I bet you can.
For most of us, the occasional visit to The Doldrums is inevitable.
It sneaks up on us when we least expect it, but you don’t have to stay there.
When you feel that stuckness creeping in, what will you do about it? Make a plan now.
Here are some ideas:
- Write/Journal to get all your thoughts out
- Take a walk, preferably outdoors
- Do one of the simple things on your to-do list, and joyfully check it off as complete
- Clear off your desk
- Turn on some upbeat music
- Call a friend who can understand what you’re going through
Whatever you do, don’t just sit alone in the stuckness.
Notice it for what it is, and do whatever you have to do to move through it. Progress is progress, no matter how small.
So on that note, what can you do today to keep you out of the Doldrums? Name it and share it, because accountability is everything.