Weigh matters carefully, and think hardest about those that matter most. Fools are lost by not thinking. They never conceive even the half of things, and because they do not perceive either their advantages or their harm they do not apply any diligence. Some ponder things backward, paying much attention to what matters little, and little to what matters much. Many people never lose their heads because they have none to lose. There are things we should consider very carefully and keep well rooted in our minds. The wise weigh everything: they delve into things that are especially deep or doubtful, and sometimes reflect that there is more than what occurs to them. They make reflection reach further than apprehension.

From The Art of Worldly Wisdom, by Baltasar Gracian.


I’ve been wrestling with the store’s schedule for the next two weeks. I have something that works, but I’m not happy with it–payroll is tight until the end of the fiscal year at the end of the month. Payroll crunches at the end of a fiscal quarter are nothing new, but I sometimes wonder why one set of customers–the ones in the store–are considered by corporate to be less important than another set–the ones who hold stock. Alas, such is life.

I learned a long time ago not to place the blame for the payroll crunch on my supervisor. It’s not his decision. It’s a decision made higher up as a way of effecting the company’s profit for a quarter. Payroll is a very controllable expense, perhaps the easiest controllable expense.

Throughout the current payroll crisis–which has lasted since December 26th–my supervisor has sent out a number of motivational e-mails to the stores and their staffs. Short payroll isn’t a motivator. Short payroll saps the will, because there’s still the work to be done, only less hours available in which to do it. So, his e-mails are meant to keep the district focused and upbeat.

One e-mail closed out with: “What motivates you? Be honest with yourself. Does money motivate you?” I’ve mulled over this one for a week.

I have no idea what motivates me.

People do things out of routine. Routine keeps me going, but my routine doesn’t make me feel anything, make me happy. Routine is reactive, not pro-active, and 2004 was a reactive year for me.

I could wish for a “do-over” on decisions made in April, in June, in July, in October. They weren’t all my decisions, and at the time they felt right. In retrospect, though, they were all reactive decisions based upon circumstance, not pro-active decisions based upon future conditions.

If it sounds as though I regret the last year, I don’t. Things happen, we accept, we move onward. All the regrets in the world won’t change that. I can’t change last year, nor would I want to. I can change this year. I need to grow–as a person, as a manager, as a writer.

These aren’t resolutions. These are plans. Specifically, writing plans.

  1. Short story. Plotted, have first draft written by January 29.
  2. Short story. Plotted, have first draft written by February 12.
  3. Outline. Complete by February 5.
  4. Outline. Complete by March 5.

What are these? The first two are for non-paying markets. The third I would rather not discuss. The fourth is for an historical novel.

I’m formulating plans for work as well, but those aren’t relevant here.

I want to be the person I used to be, the person on top of the world, on top of everything. I feel like life has put me into a holding pattern, and now it’s time to either come in for a landing or break out into the open. I want to be a different person.

That is what will motivate me.

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