Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Queue - Part 1

London, St Pancras. 5 days before Christmas

Hunched, hands pressed deep into their pockets they shuffle along. Dragging their belongings behind them as they try to hide from the unrelenting, biting, cold. A wind whips up snow and ice and children cower next to their parents, eyes wide with a fear of being separated. Their tiny hands tightly grip the torn and ragged overcoats which cover their parent’s painfully thin bodies.

The queue moves with glacial speed and cars slow down to watch their progression amazed by the sight. A refugee trail as far as the eye can see.

Riot police quietly herd them in the right direction, the only direction. They have come prepared for a violent outburst, but it never comes. They are too weak to rebel, compliance is now the only option. All hope has been lost, every turn they took was blocked by a bureaucratic brick wall and they all end up in the same place, the queue. Across the country the scene is repeated, blanket TV coverage ensures we are all aware of what is happening in our country. Politicians condemn everyone except themselves, the guilty make excuses and run from roaming reporters.

London, somewhere near Heathrow

What happened, why can’t you resolve this?” a devil horned reporter thrusts the snow covered microphone into the face of a scared and panicking young media-relations manager

We were surprised by the ferocity of it, it caught us unawares” he mumbles back.

With your pants down?” the cloven hoofed one replies.

Well I wouldn’t put it exactly like that, but we were surprised, yes”

You don’t care about your customers”


You didn’t invest in infrastructure”

Well, that’s not entirely…..”

It’s true!” he cuts in forcefully You are making money hand over fist, millions, no billions, but you invest nothing!” pushing his tripod into his chest.

Well, no, not really, last year the profits of…..” The demon cuts him off again, switching tack

What do you have to say to all the people out there watching this going on?”


What do you have to say, WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY?” goatee-beard is now standing with a foot on the throat of the ill prepared young man.

He looks defeated and with a hopeful tone he replies “Sorry?”

A pause and then he continues “But it was, it was, well, umm, the wrong sort of snow you see” His jugular is now exposed in anticipation of the killer blow.

Pausing, Satan glances at the camera. Aware the whole country is watching he savours the moment. He smiles knowingly and his eyes glow a deep dark, blood red. You can almost hear the cries of Kill him! Kill him! from behind the camera which silently blinks red.

I presume by that you mean the cold kind of snow?”

The queue shuffles onwards, never stopping, never reducing and the mercury drops another notch.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Procrastination vs Motivation

I often wonder why it is some days I wake up, full of energy, have breakfast with my family all smiles and sunshine. I arrive at the office, the day is a flurry of to-do list decimation and output. In the evening I enjoy dinner with my family and later fall into a deep happy slumber content with my day. The problem is the following morning I wake up late, tear strips off my face as I rush shave and go to work looking like 2000yr old corpse just pulled from the Siberian permafrost.

My work day is spent wishing away the minutes and hiding from any form of productive activity. I have an argument with my wife in the evening and decide to stay up late drinking.

Why is one day the polar opposite of the other, they could easily follow on from each other, Monday happy, happy, happy, Tuesday Dr Death?

What is it about my motivation which allows such swings. Is there a difference between motivation and mood?

What is motivation?

A simple definition is the minimization of pain and the maximization of pleasure but I think it’s more deep rooted than that, some days I simply can’t be bothered and other days I want to conquer the world and there is no other external differences to the day.

Its 30 years since Mark Chapman decided to take a gun to the Dakota Building in New York and murder John Lennon, why? What was the motivation here? It’s easy to say he is a mental, a mental with a gun or even worse still, he was a motivated mental with a gun. Yes I am sure he has some form of psychiatric disease but a lot of people have that problem, I am sure to some extent we are all a little unhinged. Instant fame? He was a nothing man, a nobody going nowhere and the few seconds it took to change the world of music guaranteed we still know his name 30years after the tragic event.

Simply writing it off as an act of madness is convenient and simple but it would be the same as saying it was because God willed it, doesn’t really explain anything other than allow us to move on and ignore it. Is it random or can we as individuals, increase or decrease the levels of our own intrinsic motivation? Is it learned or genetically inherited?

I don’t know the answers to these questions but I do know that when I hire someone motivation or perceived enthusiasm is very high on my list. Be careful with this approach though, an idiot with motivation is simply a motivated idiot.
Take this blog for example, its now been nearly 3 months since I made an entry. Why do I sometimes post 3 entries per month then other times leave it for 3 months to do another?

Its one of those things which becomes self fulfilling - I haven’t done anything for so long now, one more day wont matter. Smoking is the same, if I smoke one cigarette in an evening then 30 more wont do any harm, I have broken the smoking rule anyhow – in for a penny. Its nonsensical I know but I never said my brain was straightforward.

Perhaps the fact that I have the motivation to think and write about motivation tells me everything I need to know.

It’s a bit sad and I should simply stop, now.