Monday, December 3, 2012

Cultivating Maturity (3 steps?)

Toward yourself:
1. Divorce motivation and performance

2. Purify motivation, improve performance (if you're motivation is pure, then you will want to improve, and you will gladly accept help!)

3. Repeat step 2.

Toward others:
1. Divorce motivation and performance

2. Glory in their pure motivations, then help them improve (where appropriate!).

3. Repeat step 2.

What do you think? Would you change anything?


Erin Mumford said...

Give an example of divorcing motivation from performance.

Michael Wood said...

Thanks for asking. I mean that we ought to overcome the tendency to see people, including ourselves, as the things people do or create. An example of divorcing motivation and performance is President Uctchdorf's counsel during the Christmas devotional to receive gifts better by seeing gifts primarily as acts of love. Doing so separates the motivation from the gift (the performance).

A personal example would be my own insecurity about writing and my reluctance to receive feedback. I struggle to separate who I am and what I desire from what I create, so critiques of my papers, however helpful, sometimes feel like personal attacks. I just want to be the person that can say, "I want this essay to be excellent, and I know that I cannot make it excellent in one shot, and when I fail, I'm just going to use that to help me improve."

Our desires may be noble, but our actions and products are always imperfect, so if we don't separate the two, we become very harsh judges of each other and ourselves.

That's what I had in mind, anyway.

Michael Wood said...

Also, I won't pretend that failing and receiving criticism is a joy! At most, I'd say it's bittersweet. But maybe bittersweet is good enough. Here is my favorite excerpt on the subject. It's from The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma.

“Maybe we should acquire a taste for bittersweet,” said Reynie with a grin.
“Then everything would feel wonderful.”
“That’s stupid,” Constance snipped. “If it felt wonderful,
then it wouldn’t be bittersweet, would it?”
Reynie only shrugged. He wasn’t at all sure about that.