Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Motivation Part I

What motivates you to do something? I mean, what really gets you up out of your seat and moving toward an end goal--especially when that goal may be somewhat difficult or time consuming to accomplish?

I recently made it through the nearly six-month process to obtain a new motorcycle license in Singapore.  Singapore has a strict course structure that anyone desiring a motorcycle license must complete before they can take the final police tests for riding theory and practical skills.  I will describe the entire process in another post.  I knew going into it that the classes and tests would not be easy.  This knowledge delayed me a bit in starting--I debated whether it was worth going through the process.  I finally decided to do it.  I kept pushing through the process and am glad to say I came out a victor!

I have several motivating factors that helped me make it through this process.  First, I have always wanted a motorcycle license.  As a teenager, I drove my dad's motorcycle off-road in the bushes near our house.  I enjoyed the feeling of freedom and excitement that driving a motorcycle gives.  After I got married, we moved to Houston, where the weather supports riding a motorcylce to work for most of the year.  It took me several years to convince my wife to support me in getting a license.  However, before I had a chance to act, we moved to Virginia.  I ran into two new obstacles--the warm weather period is much shorter and we lived in a townhome with limited parking.  I considered getting a license for six more years, but apparently this motivating factor was not quite strong enough.

My second motivating factor is the cost of ownership.  A motorcycle costs considerably less than a car (yes, there are motorcycles that cost more than a car, but I am not talking about those).  A motorcycle also consumes much less gas and costs less to operate. 

The motivating factor that finally pushed me to take the plunge was the reduction in commute time I could achieve.  We have one car here in Singapore.  On days that I drive the car to work I can make it from our front door to my building in 40-60 minutes, depending on traffic.  If Angie needs the car, then I take public transportation.  This means a 15 minute walk to the train, a 20 minute train ride, a 5 minute walk to the company bus pick up point, followed by a 30 minute bus ride to the Jurong island checkpoint, where we disembark the bus, pass through the badge and thumbprint activated security gates and metal detectors, and then climb back on the bus for another 15 minute ride to the front gate of the refinery.  At, the refinery we pass through another badge activated gate and wait up to 15 minutes for the next internal shuttle followed by another 5 minute ride to my building.  This full process takes a minimum of 90 minutes if everything lines up and traffic is good, and a bit longer if when it rains or we experience traffic problems.  At the end of the day, I get to go through the same process, only in reverse. 

I tried accepting the fact that public transport is a normal part of life here and that many other people are doing the same thing every day.  However, I could not get over the simple math--I waste around one and one half hours each day I take public transportation to get to work.  If I could drive every day, I could be with my family that much longer.  What's more, my daughter told me several times that she wishes we were back in Virginia so she could see me more time every day.  Purchasing a second car here is financially unviable--we wouldn't even have the first car if the company didn't provide it.  I saw a motorcycle as the only workable solution. 

I finally made the decision to go for it and asked Angie for her support.  She was not (and still is not) thrilled with the idea of me riding out in traffic on a motorbike, but she did give her consent as long as I agreed to ride safely and not dart between the cars.  I started the motorcycle course in May and passed the Singapore's final skills test on November 1.  My excitement to stop relying on public transportation built as I progressed through the classes.  This excitement kept me looking forward to the successful completion of my goal.

Even when the rain is pouring down (as it does so many days here in Singapore), riding the motorcycle is so much better than relying on the public transportation.  I love getting back home earlier and having some time with my family before dinner and bedtime.  I love the feeling of freedom as the wind whips past on the expressway.  I also love pulling up to the pump and purchasing a full tank of gas for only $10 compared to the $100+ to fill up our car.  This was one goal that was well worth the commitment required to reach the end.

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