The Tipping Point of Motivation, Intentionality, and Technique

If you’re anything like me then it can be somewhat difficult to get yourself motivated to become better at certain things. Take, for instance, becoming better with a DLSR camera and taking photos.

The thing is that I first got my Canon DSLR back in 2009 and it’s taken literally three years to get me to start using it consistently, especially to a place where I’m actually learning how to use the darn thing in a way that’s more than just point-and-shoot.

Heck, even this blog post here shared my thoughts on how important a decision it was to actually get one but it took a long time to actually realize the importance of that decision fully.

In fact, you’ll notice that my first daughter is actually wearing the bathing suit that my second daughter is now wearing – sheesh! It’s taken so long that I had another kiddo! Yikes! Time does fly by, doesn’t it?

What I’ve realized though is that it’s not that I’m uninterested in becoming a better photographer – it’s that I haven’t found the right motivation for learning to up my game and my skill.

Actually, let me take that back – I had the right motivation but it wasn’t at that “break” point where it nudged me to a place where I couldn’t help myself but pick it up and take the time (not too much time) to slowly learn to use it better. I’ll also add that I can’t use the excuse that I “don’t have enough time” because I have had the time – I’ve just chosen not to use that time to invest in this particular technology and skill.

Sure, I’ll never become the best photographer in the world and I don’t want to be – in fact, I don’t want to ever get outside “experience novice” since I know myself too well and if I do I’ll start spending gobs of money when I really shouldn’t. But what I’ve learned over the past three years is that it takes more than just motivation to improve my skill, it takes the right amount of motivation to move beyond the point of inertia.

And I believe that this applies to nearly everything in life as I’ve seen it clearly in many other parts of my experience. Think back to when you decided that now was the time to start investing in your future in a particular area or that time where you suddenly picked up that tool or technology or whatever and intuitively knew that it was the right time to go in a bit deeper. It was like something psychological “clicked” and you through yourself into it more than you typically do.

These pivot points of life are more intangible than tangible – the difference is that some people acknowledge those points of change while others don’t give it a second thought. The goal? To somehow manufacture those moments where you can push past life’s inertia so that you can make the changes necessary to do great things.

Writing and blogging fall into this category really, really well as most people who find themselves successful at it oftentimes find it difficult to pinpoint an exact time where it all “clicked” for them and three years and 1,000 posts later they’ve done what most people will never do. Ask them when they decided that it was time to take it seriously and they may not be able to answer you – it just happened over time.

But for those very few who can tell you you’ll learn something incredibly valuable that you should instantly steal from their experience: Intentionality and a liberal helping of purpose. Improving your craft, working on your technique, finding motivation (and keeping it) is work and it takes the art of being intentional to create success.

Sure, it can happen by accident and there are tons of examples to show that that model works too – but at some point those people who claim “accidental success stories” decided to do it on purpose.