The Science of Getting started

When getting started, on anything it is often important to remember my own conative state of mind.  I often get so deep in what I am thinking about (cognition) and how I am reacting to that emotionally (affect) that I seldom take time to pause and consider the connection between knowledge, how I feel about that and my behavior.  It is really looking at what is driving me forward.

This examination of volition is important for me because I am trying in more meaningful ways to be intentional.  I hate to use that word because it seems really over used lately, but it is the best word to describe what we do when we act on purpose, aligning our knowledge with the way we feel about it.

I was reminded of this idea or state of mind (conation) when my wife and I were taking a long trip to see a close friend get married.  These long trips are often the best chance we get to catch up on our relationship.  We will often spend six or more hours just talking about how we work and the issues behind our conflicts and how we can better meeting the needs of each other.  I like this and it is actually energizing.

There is a sense of resolve and openness when you are essentially trapped with another person.  It seems that the pettiness of arguing fades away perhaps due to the knowledge that we have the time to resolve almost any disagreement.  Well, during one of those times we came across the idea of conative style -this idea that there are just different ways of trying.  There are different ways that people get motivated to take action.  There are different things that people need to get going.

A researcher named Kolbe suggests that there are identifiable styles that people have when it comes to this mental state- each of us have a preferred way of putting thought into action.  The modes that Kolbe suggests are:

  1. Fact Finder (instincts to probe, refine and simplify);
  2. Follow Thru (instincts to organize, reform and adapt);
  3. Quick Start (instincts to improvise, revise and stabilize); and
  4. Implementor (instincts to construct, renovate and envision).

What often happens is that we have different striving instincts, reasons, and targeted goals that result in different levels of commitment to then take action.  This has been helpful in realizing that I simply have a different approach to doing stuff than my wife.

There are volumes of research about the direction, energizing factors, and persistence associated with conation, but I think for today, I am reminded that I tend to prefer the implementor mode.  My first instinct is to construct, renovate and envision.  This takes shape in interesting ways.

I often have artistic aspects of different personality type inventories.  I think this is really about my instinct to construct or create something.  I really get a sense of accomplishment when I can look back at the end of the day and see what I have done.  This is a bit difficult in the knowledge based economy or, in my case, in educational leadership where my product is often student learning or programs to encourage or empower students to learn more.

The purpose of this post was to process through the way of starting for me, which is to identify the product I will create and then create steps to help me get there.  It may seem like a leap if you don’t understand what drives my behavior, but if you do, then it will likely make perfect sense!


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