I came across this quote from Einstein recently and it struck a chord.
‘Mainly play the things on the piano which please you, even if the teacher does not assign those. That is the way to learn the most, that when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes. I am sometimes so wrapped up in my work that I forget about the noon meal.’ ~Albert Einstein, giving advice to his son
As a child I played the piano. I genuinely loved to play and from age 7 was playing by ear quite well.
Naturally I was eventually sent to piano lessons to our upstairs neighbour, Mrs Charleton. She was a school music teacher and a lovely, lovely lady.
Now learning piano is much like learning anything else. There is some stuff you just have to do if you are to advance. Even back then I understood this.
But somewhere along the way I lost the love of playing. I saw it replaced by the need to do the important piano things.
I see this same experience repeated all around me. Children, the most curious creatures of all, soon lose it and become bored.
New enthusiastic employees quickly become jaded and taken for granted.
Sure there stuff that needs to be done but are we blowing out the very ember that motivated us in the first place?
Our priority must always be to keep the pilot light of motivation burning. You can throw on all the wood you like but if the pilot ember burns out, then there will be no fire.
Sadly schools are blowing out the pilot lights in order to throw on more wood. Employers do the same, as the day to day pressures kick in.
As parents we utterly destroy all curiosity and thirst for knowledge our children have by forcing them to do tedious homework.
It’s not a question of whether they should do homework or not. It’s a question of blowing out the pilot light. If we were educating properly, then the pilot would light a fire and the fire would grow bigger and bigger.
So in a bid to do the right thing, we are killing off the very reason we started to do it in the first place. I don’t believe we can accomplish very much once the ember of motivation is snuffed out.
And we can’t just blame others as we do it to ourselves as well. We push ourselves just that bit too far. We lose the fun in our bid to complete the goal. This is particularly common with people who start their own business.
Initially we are all fuelled and motivated and then somewhere along the road we lose it. We snuff it out with hard work or tedious work. Even when we own the business it is important to keep evaluating your personal needs. Keep monitoring what motivates you and what de-motivates you.
You can modify things and keep making small adjustments so that you spend more time nurturing and protecting your motivation.
Keep adjusting your working day until it works for you and you do as Einstein did and miss lunch.