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Intrinsic-Motivator Detection System

I believe that the key to intrinsic motivation, is the same key to healthy emotional communication with others; know what you want.

Through reading the book NonViolent Communication: A Language of Life, I stumbled upon the most helpful intrinsic-motivator detection system I have ever used. In line with the Exintrinsic philosophy, it begins with a very simple question, "what am I telling myself?". The first step in the process is to write a "rant list" of all of the uncomfortable thoughts- relating to the topic I want to sort out- that run through my head.

After I feel as though I have ranted all of the uncomfortable thoughts out of my system, I am in a place to transform those rants into emotions and unmet needs. I take it sentence by sentence and transform the "I am telling myself that..." sentence, into "I am feeling ... because I need ...".

A. I'm telling myself that I'm a bad speller.
B. I'm telling myself that I do not have anything worth saying.
C. I'm telling myself that I will never have good grammar.
D. I'm telling myself that my inadequacies will make it impossible for people to read what I write.
E. I'm telling myself that I am stupid.
F. I'm telling myself that I'm just a girl.
G. I'm telling myself that I'm too lazy to write anything important.
H. I'm telling myself that my lack of commitment means that my talent is going to waste.
I. I'm telling myself that I'm ungrateful for the tallent I have.
(Today I'm actually writing... so this rant list isn't long.)
A. I'm feeling [hopeless, embarrassed] because I need [trust, honesty, reassurance]
B. I'm feeling [hopeless, distressed, disappointed] because I need [fun, self-worth, inspiration]
C. I'm feeling [hopeless, sad, reluctant] because I need [fun, acceptance].
D. I'm feeling [lonely, hopeless, embarrassed] because I need [acceptance, fun, laughter].
E. I'm feeling [hopeless, discouraged] because I need [fun, laughter, reassurance].
F. I'm feeling [hopeless, impatient, incapable] because I need [meaning, self-worth, acceptance]
G. I'm feeling [distressed, hopeless, lonely] because I need [acceptance, closeness, community]
H. Skip -- Same as G, and I combined.
I. I'm feeling [helpless, hopeless, distressed] because I need [acceptance, honesty]

I have always seen myself as one who is emotionally aware. Yet, through this exercise, I am able to find that my original perception of what I wanted was, more often than not, unrealistic. In this case: "I want to be able to write all the thoughts that I have in my head, the way that I want them to be written". Yet, any time I sit down to write I am liable to flood myself with any of the above emotions. What I'm really needing to get through that block, is: fun, self-acceptance, honesty with myself (firm and kind), meaning, self-worth and laughter.

Next, we move onto the un-scripted part. From here, I take my list of needs, particularly the few primarily reoccurring ones: fun and acceptance. I then consider (and you will probably know right away) what I was thinking when I wrote those words.
When I wrote "fun", I was always thinking of my need to write in a silly, and un-directed way. When I wrote "acceptance", I was thinking about how I need to relax, and understand that I am not a professional writer, and that it is ok to create, for the sake of creating. Additionally, that creating means making mistakes.

So, what I have learned through this activity, is that I need to spend time writing in an un-structured, silly, way where the goal is to accept and appreciate what comes out of it. Mistakes and all.

~*~ This is a much different goal than "to be able to write all the thoughts that I have in my head, the way that I want them to be written". Not only do I have a clear way of achieving my set goal, it is one that I do not read as setting myself up for failure. AND, I'm excited to try writing for the sake of being silly.

I hope you find this tool to be helpful. It is the system I have successfully been using to get breakthroughs on all of my blocks in life.


I have been learning to draw. I am a writer and I want to be more of an artist than I am right now. I am much better than I was thanks to the encouragement of my partner.

I don't need motivation to write, since that seems to be part of my autistic constellation. But since I am learning to draw as an adult, I often lose motivation to practice. The interesting part is that these hiatuses often end with a drawing more advanced than the ones I was doing before I stopped.
Patience is not one of my virtues. I will post before and after pics of my work - it may shed some light.

There is one weird extrinsic thing that helps me draw. I watch My Little Ponies. I also have a Cross Selectip with fibertip refills, and rolling ball refills that I did not want to waste. How to use them up? Seriously, this is related....

Log of MLP drawing...Collapse )

If I am not watching MLP, it's much harder to draw. What the heck am I getting out of that show???

Feb. 2nd, 2012

It is far too late for me to think right now. Questions I will ponder:

1) Why do I want to write.
2) What is pride?
3) Why am I afraid of failing?

Questions to start out

I've been trying to get over a nasty art block for a long time. I used to draw all the time, and I want to make comic books. I'm going to try to post here at the end of every month, choosing a question or two to answer about what I've been doing, trying to get the focus back to enjoyment, because having the focus on the end result has been seriously killing the whole thing for me.

Here are some questions that I brainstormed a while back. Some focused on art/writing, some could be used for anything. Feel free to write answers to any of these questions if you want, or post new ones.

-When working on your project, what was the part you enjoyed the most? Why?

-When working on your project, what was the part you enjoyed the least? Why?

-When working on your project, you learned something new. What was it?

-When you tried to work on your project one day, it didn't go as well as you had hoped. What was the block you ran into? What sort of things were you thinking at the time? How did it feel?

-When you worked on your project one day, it went really well. What worked best? What sort of things were you thinking at the time? How did it feel?

-Who is the character that you've enjoyed writing/drawing the most lately? Why?

-Find or think about a new drawing/writing technique that you'd like to experiment with or learn about sometime. Try it a bit. Write about what it was like.

-From the work you've done this month, pick a page at random. Write down something you like about that page.

-From the work you've done this month, pick out a small detail that you really enjoy: The way you described or drew something- An object in the background, a character's expression, a single sentence, any little thing that you think turned out particularly well. What is it?

I am curious to see if questions like this work or not for motivating progress while at the same time keeping the focus on the content and feeling of it instead of a particular goal. Guess I will see how this community goes, and if this experiment works.


"I should..." - Intrinsically motivating oneself

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February 2012


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