“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just to take the first step” Martin Luther King
I love this quote, it speaks eloquently of life I think. So often we are paralysed by not knowing the whole story, not knowing our destination, not being sure where our current actions will lead us. In reality we never know those things, it’s just easier in some circumstances to kid ourselves that we do.
There are a couple of important ways of being energised that are pertinent here. One is the desire to move away from something. It is this that often gets us moving. We get sick of the job, the colleagues, the commute, etc etc, and we are motivated to do something about it. Some people are predominantly energised to move away from things, they will tend to talk more in terms of problems than solutions, and are keen to have things not be as they are.
To sustain motivation, it can be helpful to develop a sense of where you are going, of what you are moving towards. After all, if you don’t know where you are going, in theory any path will do. Having a vivid, compelling sense of the future begins to create it in your unconscious, and that is very helpful in moving towards it. You move towards what you think about. Some people are highly driven towards, and talk in terms of dreams and aspirations, and may be less concerned with the difficulties of now.
Without the rub of some away from motivation it may be hard to get going anywhere at all, now might seem OK and dreams may stay distant. Without a sense of something to move towards away from energy may take you off in directions that later bring their own unanticipated problems. In effect, we need a bit of both.
The art is to hold it all lightly. Grasping too tightly on to a specific outcome closes down all other options. Deeply entrenching in dissatisfaction may sap energy rather than stimulate movement. Graceful action comes in part from flexibility, and that calls for a deftness of touch.
In psychotherapy I like to take both a history of how clients arrived here, and to articulate where they would rather be. I notice that they seldom have exactly the same goals by the end of the journey, and that some of the problems that brought them may actually reveal gifts and be resources rather than difficulties as time goes on. All is real, and all is fluid. We really do only need to get moving, with grace and flexibility, and the staircase will be revealed, step by step.