Nottelmann Music St. Louis

Motivation: It Appears After The Action

Curated from the Conn-Selmer Division of Education – by Dr. Tim Lautzenhauser –

“I just can’t seem to get motivated.”  “There is so much to do and yet I find myself just sitting around as more work piles up. There is nothing motivating me to get it done.”
The successful teachers seem to be so motivated; how do they do it? I wish I could be as enthused and positive about my work.”

Haven’t we all experienced these internal questions of self-doubt? Haven’t we even challenged our students about their level of motivation? Wouldn’t it be great if there was a natural herb that would guarantee a “state of driven incentive” to catapult us to the forefront of our human potential? Where do we look to find the elusive answer to the haunting question, “What can I do to get motivated?”

By definition, the word motivate means, “To provide with a motive. The feeling or desire to take action by moving forward.” In truth, most of us are waiting for the motivation prior to taking on the task. May I suggest, the motivation comes “as a result of completing the task.” In other words, we experience the desired emotion of excitement or personal pleasure AFTER we have completed the assigned responsibility. For example, we are exhilarated about the concert AFTER it is completed; that’s when we pledge ourselves to a higher level of commitment. We are thrilled about our office AFTER it is organized, cleaned, and put in an orderly fashion; it is then we promise ourselves it will always stay in tip-top shape.

Over the years I have observed many MASTER TEACHERS successfully working/playing at their craft. They don’t wait to be motivated. They are always, creating, organizing, communicating, refining, and investing in the forward motion of the program for the benefit of their students. While they display a positive on-task attitude, their focus is on action. They have discovered the secret of personal motivation; it appears “after the fact,” it shows up once the mission is accomplished; therefore, it is necessary to embrace the tasks-at-hand and realize these responsibilities are, in fact, the stepping stones to personal gratification and the motivation to continue the onward path to excellence.

Perhaps there is a magical pill that will motivate us to a higher level of achievement in everything we do. It takes effect at the conclusion of our work. The motivation is a by-product of knowing WE DID IT, WE MADE IT, WE ACCOMPLISHED OUR GOAL, and as a result of this new-found knowledge about our abilities, skills, talents, we are now MOTIVATED to take on the next assignment on our priority list of “things to do.”

The antidote to the original statement, “I just can’t seem to get motivated,” is, DO SOMETHING. Anything from sorting the mail to straightening the chairs in the rehearsal room will serve as the first step to establishing a feeling of motivation. Coincidentally, the actions that provide the greatest motivation are those we normally avoid. Tackle the tough jobs first, the feeling of accomplishment offers the motivation to undertake the next assignment on the “to do” list. By the end of the day, much has been accomplished accompanied by a personal fulfillment of self-worth and the positive incentive to continue to forward momentum.

I have always enjoyed the all-too-true statement, “When all is said and done, much is said and little is done.” We are all good at “talking the talk,” but the key to motivation is “walking the talk.” The teachers who make a difference do it by taking action on their beliefs, their dreams, the love of their art form: let the music begin.

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