Motivation is like a Pipe

(Liz says this was inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.)
(Tom says this is a plumber's view of philosophy.)

Motivated activity is like a pipe, there are two ends to it. The question might be like this. I'm locked in a room, with a bunch of person-sized pipe ends, like openings, in the walls and everywhere. Each one is a choice. Out of all these many pipe ends I'm looking at here, which one should I enter? What, of my choices to do things today or this month or this lifetime, shall I enter into and proceed through? Choices, choices: Programs, jobs, partners, whether to get out of bed or not, etc. What is my choice?

Uncertain, we ask, What is my inspiration?

We say (don't deny it), Ooohh, but I'm not inspired, I don't know what I want, I have no IdEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAA.

But inspiration is just about this end of the pipe: does it look exciting to you now, for just this moment. The pipe has another end out in the world somewhere, and that, over There, is the other end. The questions There are quite different: What do I feel like, having gone through that pipe and ending up afterward, here at the other end? Does it feel good, or bad? Am I happy, proud, am I at least satisfied, or am I ashamed, sad, guilty? Do I feel good or bad about myself, do I like what I became, now that I went through that particular path, that I chose it and went through it and ended up here.

Thinking about it backwards, from the other end, you might consider what your aspiration was, rather than what your inspiration might be. What kind of person are you glad, or not glad, that you became, with the choices you made.

So, what's the answer for you? What path, direction, vector, pipe will you enter upon, today, this life, and how do you think you're going to feel about it afterwards?

This is a slightly different way of thinking about what we might want to do.

You could really aim high if you could think backwards.

Copyright © 2000-2021, Thomas C. Veatch. All rights reserved.
Modified: September 22, 2021