“Our greatest motivation in life comes from not knowing the future.”
– Thomas Frey, futurist
“My cat, Carnaby!”
Fallon was a twenty-five year old cashier, stocking clerk, greeter and problem solver at the local Walmart store. She had a university degree in anthropology which she had never used, so far. She lived with her parents in their bungalow and had no significant other, so far.
Fallon also told me she enjoyed her job because it involved meeting people and helping them find answers to their questions about where certain products were in the store, which was the best quality or best price. She said she met a lot of interesting people.
Fallon was born in the Philippines, with a soft brown complexion, average height and slightly plump. She had a friendly face, engaging manner and a witty sense of humour which always seemed on the verge of erupting.
When I asked her what had motivated her call, she replied,
“My cat, Carnaby!”
I smiled and said, “How does your cat, Carnaby relate to you being here today?”
She returned my smile with, “I found myself talking to her again…as if she could help me with my fatigue! Since, she doesn’t speak the Queen’s English, I was reminded I should get a human perspective…so here I am!”
“… I sit at home, watch TV and vegetate.”
“Tell me about your fatigue, Fallon.”
“Ken, I don’t seem to have any energy for anything. I just go to work, which I enjoy, but beyond that, I sit at home, watch TV and vegetate. I’m not interested in going out with my friends or getting out on my own or even thinking about my future at all. I think maybe I’m depressed and don’t know it.” she said, with a half smirk reflecting her inner confusion and wit.
“Well, let’s see! Fallon, do you wake up with some excitement about the day ahead and what might occur for you?”
“Nope!” she said, with certainty.
“Fallon, do you wake up glad of who you are?”
“Nope, again.” with the same tone.
“Fallon, do you do what you love and love what you do, each day?”
“Nope for sure, on that one!”
“Fallon, do you have what you need to have, to prove you’re OK, at this very second?”
“Never had that perception in my life, Ken!”
“What drives success, and the most successful students, is internal motivation.”
– Vivienne Ming, neuroscientist
“… consciously put yourself before everyone and everything else in your life.”
“Then you may be depressing yourself! And, I can help you if you’re ready to learn how life really works. Are you game for that, Fallon?”
“Yes I am, but what is it going to cost to learn this stuff?”
“That’s a great question! First, it is going to demand you consciously put yourself before everyone and everything else in your life. Are you prepared to do that Fallon? Many are not!”
“Of course I am! I feel like I am wasting away…wasting away my time…wasting away my life…I need to do this right away, Ken.”
“OK! Next, it is going to demand you make the time, and set aside the financial resources, to prove to yourself you are worthy of this. And, about half of the people around you may perceive it is a selfish journey. Are you prepared to pay those time costs, financial costs and emotional costs, as well?”
“I will find a way because I am very aware of how it has already been costing me time, money, and stress, for a very long time.” she answered, with a new certainty in her words.
“… to look at your life from a scientific perspective…”
“OK! Third, Fallon, you will need to be willing to learn how to look at your life from a scientific perspective, a perspective which enables you to appreciate who you are, what you do and what you have.”
“Ken, science and math were never my strong grades in school, I preferred literature, history and anthropology.”
“That’s not a problem, Fallon! There is a science to everything in life and you will be able to apply this science to anything you have ever learned. And, your past is a priceless asset for the work you are going to do.”
“Great! How do we begin?” she said with enthusiasm.
I started with, “Fallon, all motivation comes from within us, not from outside us as many think. There is really no such thing as a ‘motivational’ speaker. They are actually inspirational speakers…they inspire others to self motivate.”
“That sort of makes sense, cause I remember a teacher I had whose eyes lit up, when she talked about anthropology and I always felt more motivated to listen in her classes…and that’s where I got my best grades.” she replied getting the idea immediately.
“…if I know my purpose and values, I will feel more motivated from inside?”
“So, for you to motivate yourself, you need to uncover what inspires you most. And, what inspires you, and everyone else, is their life purpose and highest values. Are you with me so far?”
“Are you suggesting if I know my purpose and values, I will feel more motivated from inside?”
“Exactly, Fallon. Depressing is a survival strategy to cope with not feeling purposeful and following someone else’s values instead of your own values.”
“Do you mean, if I knew my purpose and values I wouldn’t feel depressed and I’d have more self motivation?”
“Yes! And, it is just a level of learning any human can attain if they choose.”
“So, basically, you’re saying knowing my purpose and highest values would give me the information I need to feel better about me and my life!”
“No matter how good you are at planning, the pressure never goes away. So I don’t fight it. I feed off it. I turn pressure into motivation to do my best.”
– Ben Carson, scientist
“No human is without equal pleasure and pain!”
“That’s it exactly! But, we live in a balanced universe, so for every pleasure there is a counterbalancing pain. It just comes with the territory.” I offered.
“You’re saying there is another price besides the time, money and stress?” her voice lifting with her question.
“Yes, but it is really part of the stress, Fallon. When you know your purpose and highest values, you take on more responsibility and accountability to yourself and others, which creates stress.”
“So, why would anyone want to create more stress for themselves, Ken?”
“Because, as they learn to meet the demands of managing their stress, they grow their self appreciation and self-confidence. It makes it all worthwhile!”
“Ken, it sounds like you’re saying stress is useful and there is no easy life…I’m never going to be happy!”
“Fallon, if by happy you mean pleasure without equal pain, if you mean peace without equal war or if you mean a benefit without an equal cost…then No! Nature does not permit this to occur at any time. No human is without equal pleasure and pain!”
“I’m ready to pay the pain for the pleasure of self-confidence!”
“So, there is no free lunch in life!” she said pausing. Then, continuing her thought,
“That’s why my parents charge me room and board; and why half of my job I like and half I dislike; and why vegetating is half safe and half boring! This is starting to make sense to me, Ken!”
“I’m glad to hear that! But, now I have to work hard helping you implement this idea. “ I said, with a half smile, wondering if she got the idea’s universal application to the here and now of our moment together.
She offered me her own half smile, saying, “So, it’s happening right now, isn’t it? So, how do we get started on my journey toward self appreciation? I’m ready to pay the pain for the pleasure of self-confidence!”
“Fallon, we start with uncovering your purpose and highest values so you will know right away what is most important to you. Let’s begin!”
“The motivation to genius comes from a source within, not without!”
– King Ayles, writer