Motivation vs. Discipline

During the last week I worked on the mold for the Orpheus puppet, but when I triedd to open the mold, it broke. I had to remake it completely. In order not to bore you with picture very similar to those from last Monday, I’ll share some completely different thoughts with you:


…you promised! | mixed media on paper | ca. 84 x 46 cm | 2011

Why am I doing this?

When I’m motivated to do something, I have no issues to start, to continue and to finish a project.
When I’m disciplined, I somehow understand the necessity to start, to continue and to finish a project, but that doesn’t mean neither that I like what I’m doing nor that I’ll eventually do it.

Motivation doesn’t come easily. Most of the time it will be easier to be disciplined and to follow a path that others or yourself may expect from you. – It’s really hard work to find out what motivates you. But it’s worth trying.

There’s a simple question:

Why am I doing this?

The answer though is often difficult. But the more I understand my motives, the easier it is to become motivated.

I was thinking about motivation and discipline a lot the last weeks because I try to understand why it’s so easy to work on my Orpheus film project currently, or why I suddenly keep working in the studio in general. I had in my guts that it wasn’t discipline that helps me to do the work.

(Oh, and I really tried to be disciplined. I tried working an hour a day on my film for several weeks. I tried to build some external pressure, but that doesn’t work either. I tried so many things that I can’t even remember them.)

I wondered, “What does motivate me now?” How do I stay on track with my film even when I have to overcome obstacles and difficulties like yesterday, when my mold broke and I lost a whole week’s work?

Why do I want to make the Orpheus film at all?

On the one hand, it’s the story that appeals me: that metaphorical story about descending into the dark to face death, both literally and symbolically. On the other hand I love storytelling through animation. I love handmade animation. And I have the feeling that I have something unique to say.

It’s not about other people. I would make the film in case nobody is going to like it. I’ve been working on this film for years even though I had monetary or technical or other issues, and I just don’t want to give it up because making this film is so amazingly important to me.

I want to finish this film because I want to see if I am able to do this. To work as an animator artist, to earn some money from the things I do and to do it independently (as in freelancer). I want to see if I’m able to live a life with as few compromises (concerning my work) and with as much freedom possible. I’m proving my theory about life.

If I fail, I’ll fail. But at least I tried.

– See, this is a motivation. I don’t need discipline anymore.

What about you? What motivates you?

06. June 2011 by Jessica
Categories: Stuff | Tags: , , | 8 comments

Comments (8)

  1. Deadlines! And having someone else needing me to finish my work motivates me – I hate to let anyone down.

    I have more problems motivating myself to create work that hasn’t been commissioned – I find it difficult to work just for myself.

    That’s why I haven’t written my novel yet!

  2. I, like you, think about determination, procrastination, discipline, motivation a LOT!

    My current thinking is that talent mean nothing. But that the application of talent is All.

    I realized recently too that this axiom also applies to love. Love, as a feeling doesn’t perhaps mean as much as applying that feeling into action and deeds.

    So, my latest thought is that the importance of application can’t be over stressed.

    If we do it we do it. I don’t think there’s a another way to think it into being or to trick ourselves into doing it.

  3. Am I beginning to detect a certain pattern on your blog? ;)

    You really do like to discuss these subjects.

    In the end I suspect most of the talk about motivation and discipline os probably academic… knowing facts about these subjects isn’t the same as actually being motivated or disciplined. But of course to some extent it can be helpful to discuss it, so we can share strategies and help keep each other motivated if possible.

    So sorry to hear your mold broke!! It looked very strong too! Why did it happen? Would you say it was materials, workmanship (workmanship looked good to me!) or an accident?

    Anyway, I’m glad to hear that in spite of this setback and potentially demotivating blow you seem to be in a motivated period.

    I’m also working away on my film over here. And here’s what I’ve found just recently to be the important factor: Knowing exactly HOW to do each step.

    It’s something Sven Bonnichsen said once in a discussion long ago… sometimes what holds you back is that your ideas aren’t specific enough… you haven’t completely solved some of the problems.

    I’m currently working on a very difficult part for my film that will only appear onscreen for a couple of seconds (or less!) but will hopefully create an important element of atmosphere. For several months I THOUGHT I knew how I was going to build this thing… in fact I had several backup plans in case my first plan didn’t work. But as it came time to build it, I found none of the plans would QUITE work. So I had to go back to the drawing board and keep thinking about it.. it took another month or so before I finally had a brainstorm and came up with a plan simple enough to really work.

    But even now it’s giving me problems. I built it, as soon as I put a little pressure on it it broke. I repaired it and strengthened it… again as soon as I put some pressure on it it broke in a different way. So today I went to the hardware store and bought 4 more tubes of steel-filled epoxy putty and put them on it after also using lots of epoxy adhesive and a couple of woodscrews first. This thing is getting heavy and starting to look ridiculous, like some kind of Frankenstein’s creature of a device. But hey – if it works, that’s all that matters.

    There ares till several more potential problems that could easily arise with this thing, but if they do I’ll just do whatever is necessary to try to make it work and keep right on going.

    Anyway, my point is… the worst part of the hurdle was not quite knowing exactly how to solve the problem. You need to first come up with a really workable plan… then make sure you’ve got the right tools and materials to implement it, and then just execute it and be prepared to deal with whatever problems arise.

    Wow, I didn’t mean to write War and Peace here!

  4. Simon, I know what you mean, I had worked in the same way for years. But *what would motivate you to wirte a novel*? What does keep you from doing it?

    Shelley, as you said, it’s action that decide over success or failure. I had the same insight last week. If I don’t work on my film, nobody will eventually see it. If someone else does an absolutely bad film, she would have done at least a film *that potentially is going to be like by someone*. This is her advantage. So it’s much more important to *do* something, to move on than to just be talented. Life is not a dress rehearsal.

    Mike, er, Mr Tolstoi, there’s definitely a pattern since I’m thinking a LOT about this subject. I share what I learned about myself here, because I hope, someone will find this helpful, too. I see a lot of people having the same issues, and I like to show my way to solving those problems.

    Fear papalyzes which is why it’s so difficult to start if we’re not certain. As you said, learning your toolkit prevents you from that. – I suppose this is another big topic I could cover on my blog! ;)

  5. Oh sorry! I wasn’t trying to criticize you for discussing motivation and discipline at all! It was only meant to be a clever introductory statement… hope it didn’t come off as anything else.

  6. Mike, don’t worry, I didn’t got it wrong!

    I forgot to tell you about the mold: Somehow the release agent didsn’t work which is weird because I used the same as always. Maybe the surface of the clay bed was to bumpy? Maybe it was because I used two different kind of plaster for both parts? I don’t know. The halfs somehow connected and I wasn’t able to open them carefully. When I eventually made it, half the upper half sticked to the one below. :(

  7. what motivates me… to read all these articles and the discussion and then even add my thought(s)…

    asking this question led me to realize that I need a waterproof answer for other people.
    Next: understanding the idea I want to bring to life in any form strenghens the idea’s substance – asking ‘it’ : ‘what / who are you – and can we stay friends after…’ no, just a moment…
    But having at least the glimpse of the feeling that anybody ‘got it’, that I was able to tell/show with full content to other people what I wanted to say was… exhausting ! And why should I force people to see MY reality and nothing else beside the road ?

    There is this musician, ‘Buckethead’ (you’ll find him…) and he is mostly known for playing fast as hell and being very weird. Giving no interviews, doing his things and being creative like… the man got an output that is…
    Behind all his weirdness I found the more quiet and personal stuff (even in the wildest noise orgies of him) – and digging a bit deeper, I found a creative and unique spirit rare these times.
    I don’t know what motivates him, but his example motivates me. Not in making music, but in getting my stuff done.

    So what motivates me ? Can’t tell: except –> It has to be done. The idea came to me and I am here to somehow bring it to life. I guess.

    Another thingee: lately I had to do some graphics work and layouting for a flyer – a ‘gig’ if you want so. I had a deadline and the job become more and more to do and I tried to translate creative energy and knowledge into solid money. I sucked (my view…) – and it will take me a very long time until I will dip again into the field where one transfers what s/he loves into the money world…

    Deadlines are threatening the livining daylights in me !

    P.S.: what keeps me from getting my stuff done is… simple so tell. Getting a solid base and taking nano-steps in getting my stuff done

  8. Hey o_0, glad that you’re here again! And thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!