Hey there. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Over a year, in fact. Man, where has the time gone. Oh! I guess I could answer that question. Since my last post, I:
- Launched Panoplay
- Made my first money on a business I started
- Took a road trip to interview someone, visit friends, and surprise a band I know
- Took a road trip for a music conference
- Got my first grown-up job at a super awesome local start-up
- Spoke on two panels at Minecon in Anaheim
- Met and spoke with Steve Carrell about Minecraft
- Had my first long-term relationship
- Moved into my first townhome with a great friend of mine
- Got my first car
- Stopped doing a lot of the things that I used to love doing
So, yeah, that last bullet point is not at all like the others. But I mention it because it’s the one that’s most relevant to me currently, and it’s the one that this post will ultimately address. But, as with all good action movies, you have to sit through some story build-up, cheesy emotion, downfall, and final rise. So, here goes.
The other night I was reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. It is a fantastic book that essentially teaches you how to care about the right things, and not let the other things get to you.
Hidden deep within one of the later chapters, Mark drops the following quote:
Action isn’t just the effect of motivation; it’s also the cause of it.
Now, I want you to read that again. Action isn’t just the effect of motivation; it’s also the cause of it. What does this mean? Essentially that in order to become motivated, you have to first do something. And once you’ve done something, the motivation will then arise, which will then lead you to acting on that motivation, thus motivating yourself more, and the cycle continues until you’ve conquered the world. Or started a business. Or cooked the coolest ratatouille.
As evidenced by my lack of blog posts over the past year, I’ve been struggling with motivation. Panoplay sort of faded into the depths of the internet after I lost the inspiration that had fueled me for over a year. The honeymoon phase of starting a business had faded and the reality that I wasn’t enjoying it anymore had set in. I’ll make another post soon about why I stopped, but it essentially boiled down to two things:
- Some of the people I was trying to help didn’t want to help themselves, which helped lead to the other thing, which was:
- I burnt out hardcore.
In retrospect, what it really boiled down to was I had turned Panoplay from something with a solidified goal and an endless fountain of motivation into a scattered bunch of ideas with no real knowledge of how to execute. I had surrounded myself with incredibly awesome people, but it didn’t change the fact that I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing anymore. So I stopped doing, and thus I lost motivation.
Though Panoplay in its fully launched form (after a year or so of build-up) only lasted a few months, I feel as though I got to experience a lifetime of opportunity in that short time. I made friends all over the country and world through Panoplay, I learned how to start a business, I learned how hard it is to balance life and work. Perhaps most importantly, I learned post-mortem that it requires action to maintain motivation, and that motivation will help you continue to act.
Panoplay stopped because I stopped working on it. Not for lack of people supporting me, either. The outpouring of support from my friends and family still makes me teary-eyed to this day just thinking about it. But because I no longer enjoyed it, I couldn’t bring myself to work on it, and thus lost motivation altogether.
And that continued. For the past year. My Minecraft mod, Tropicraft, has fallen out of date. I used to have a team of 6+ people from around the world working on it with me, and now it’s down to just me working on it when I have time and motivation. The particular struggle with this is that at this point, I’m just rewriting the mod over and over with each Minecraft version. It has lost its fun, and thus the intrinsic motivation I used to feel out of the enjoyment I got has long since faded away. This particularly hurts me because I take such pride in Tropicraft. It, like Panoplay, is something I poured my heart and soul into. At this point, it’s essentially a defining piece of who I consider myself to be. It helped me get where I am today, and I owe so much to it. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of people that are still waiting for me to update it so they can enjoy their favorite mod again.
In addition to my lack of work on Tropicraft, I haven’t written on my blog. I haven’t written anything at all, really. It’s not so much writer’s block as just…a giant brain block preventing me from wanting to do anything. I have not exercised much. I have dropped a lot of the motivation I used to have for wanting to do the things I know I would love to do.
And that’s why the quote I mentioned above hit me so hard. Let me read it again for you. Action isn’t just the effect of motivation, it is also the cause of it. All of these things, Panoplay, Tropicraft, writing, exercising, they all suffer(ed) from a lack of action. Yes, there are always reasons for why things become less enjoyable. But as I read this quote over and over again, it felt like each of the things in my life I had stopped acting on all decided to hit me at once, as if to alert me to one simple thing:
I had stopped doing.
Sure, I have had little spurts of inspiration now and then, but I was relying on those spurts to push me to do the things I wanted to do deep down, instead of simply putting on my big boy pants and getting down to business. If I’ve learned anything over the past year, it’s that, as Mark said, you have to create the action that motivates you, so that your motivation can then inspire you to take further action, creating a positive feedback loop of awesomeness.
The past few weeks have been quite the emotional rollercoaster for me. I almost let it get the best of me, as well. But it’s times like this that bring me back to Junior year of University, when I was able to climb out of the hole of misery and complacency that had consumed my life. I was able to overcome the parts of me that told me I wasn’t good enough or talented enough or smart enough because I simply started doing things.
There is no think, only do. – Yoda
I’m no Jedi Knight, but I am someone who believes that I can accomplish some incredible things if I set my mind to it. So I’m done sitting on the sidelines watching life pass me by. I’m through accepting that things are the way they are and that nothing can be done to improve them. And most importantly, I’m finished letting life kick randomly me into the adult I don’t want to become, so here’s to motivation through action.