Friday, April 27, 2018

Life Lessons and Wargaming: Motivation vs. Dedication

Hey Everyone!  Today I decided to go back to an article series I left off in December last year entitled "Life Lessons and Wargaming".  The point of this article series is to look at the little lessons we learn throughout life and how we can apply these to our Wargaming hobby.  I felt I wrapped up all the thoughts I had back in December, but as I continue to work toward my goals and see them evolve I felt it was a good time to return to the series to take a look at the concepts of Motivation and Dedication.  At first look, they can be seen as very similar, but they are very different.

Now seems like a great time to define the two terms we are exploring.  Dedication can be defined as "self-sacrificing devotion and loyalty" while Motivation is defined as "a motivating force, stimulus, or influence".

Earlier this week I put a survey on Twitter specifically focused on what people do when their motivation to Hobby is low.  Do you take a break or push through?  As you can see in the picture below the majority of people take a break while a few continue Hobbying despite the lack of motivation.  Times of low motivation can be a struggle and burn out is very real so whether you take a break or work through it is a personal choice.  While I use to count myself with the majority in this poll I find myself continuing through times of low motivation with my Hobby.

"But Chuck, you always seem motivated.  Don't lie to us!" is what I imagine people might be saying at the screen right now.  Time to peek behind the curtain a bit and let everyone know that I am not always motivated.  Everyone goes through times of low motivation whether you are a Blogger, Youtuber, Podcaster, Painter, Garage Gamer, etc...  It is nothing to be ashamed of or worried about as it is part of the natural flow of things.  What you need to be worried about is if you find you Dedication lacking.  You might be wondering now why lacking Motivation is perfectly fine, but lacking Dedication is not a good thing.  The simple truth is that when your Motivation is low being Dedicated will allow for the following to happen.  You either won't be away from your Hobby for long, you will continue to Hobby regardless of your motivation, or you will Hobby in other ways until your Motivation overall returns.

I've recently been going through a time of low motivation to Hobby, but every day I take some time to clean some mold lines, put paint on a model, read a bit or lore, plan out and write a blog post, work on event packs, and a list of other bits of Hobby.  It is very easy to take a day off, then another day off, and another, and you can see how easy it can be to be away much longer than you originally planned.  It is important to note that whether you take a break while your Motivation is low or not doesn't mean you lack Dedication just that your Dedication is different or you view the Hobby differently.  Some people see this as a small piece of their lives while others are fully invested.  Neither group is wrong or right, but finding what suits you is what it is all about.

It may not be a surprise if you read previous articles in series, but this mentality really developed in myself last year when I really began getting into lifting weights and the overall gym culture.  The gym became a real eye opener as it easily allows you to see the difference between Motivation and Dedication.  For example, the new year comes and the gym fills up only to see it back to the usual regulars after a month or two as Motivation declines.  You do see a few who stay Dedicated and work through the low Motivation and stay the course, but this is not as common.  

No one is surprised if I said I don't feel like going to the gym, but you might be surprised that I go anyway.  I have dedicated a piece of each day to improve my body and just like Hobby I have dedicated a piece of time to improve my Hobby skills.  A big part of why I push through low motivation is how I view my Warhammer hobby and my Lifting hobby.  I call them hobbies, but if I am honest they are more of a passion that I continually seek to improve rather than just a hobby.  As I grew into both Lifting and Warhammer I found myself becoming more passionate and realizing that I want to always be improving.  For me to improve I find that I need to push through and continue Lifting and continue Hobbying when my Motivation is low.

In both hobbies, it is admittedly very rare that my best painting or my biggest lifts happen when I am lacking in Motivation, but by being dedicated I am creating a constantly improving consistency.  For me, it means that when Motivation returns my lifts will be heavier and cleaner and my models painted quicker or with better quality. 

So as we have seen Motivation and Dedication are both important for us to reach our goals, but making sure you stay Dedicated you can work through or lessen the times of low motivation.  I also wish to restate that just because you take a break while your motivation is low in no way a bad thing as we are all individuals and I know plenty of great people who take a break and are able to improve in their hobby and are very Dedicated to the Hobby.  However, for me to get where I wish to be in both Warhammer and Lifting I need to Dedicate time every day and maximize that time when my Motivation is high.

I hope you enjoyed today's article and are happy to see this article series continuing as happy as I am to write on topics of this sort.  Until next week, Happy Hobbying!

Chuck Moore