Tag Archive: motivation


Do It For Yourself

Everyone hears this every once in a while. Heck, I’ve given this advice myself before. Usually it’s given when someone wants or needs to change something; about themselves or their life. I believe in making changes for yourself, of course, but there are a thousand more things you do every day for yourself besides.

When it comes to motivation, there isn’t anything a lot more motivating than selfishness. When you’re heading to lunch and you know there’s going to be a huge line, nothing is motivating you more than your selfish need to eat food sooner rather than later. And don’t go arguing that it’s a matter of survival, because you aren’t going to starve if one person gets their food before you do. Traffic doesn’t bother people because it means that everyone has to stay on the road a little longer than expected, it’s because the individual believes that he or she has the right to have things go the way expected.

Unfortunately, I’ve always been the backwards child. I was sitting in my Chemistry 1210 class of a hundred people this morning, listening to my group talk about the assignment when I realized that they don’t think I’m very good at chemistry. I’ve gotten so used to being in classes with people who automatically think I’m smart that I didn’t really know how to react to this.

My motivation in school has always been selfish, of course. I like it when people think I’m naturally smart and good at everything; I especially like it when my teachers think I’m competent. I liked it that I got better grades than all my siblings while I was in high school. This motivation was easily put to work in AP Chemistry last year because there were only four of us and I had a lot more individual attention. Even though I was, by far, the least competent kid in the class, I had a reputation of persistence and hard work that I couldn’t let slip. This selfishness was easily kept in check because there was ample opportunity for me to feed the beast.

Now, however, there are a hundred students in my Chemistry class and I have almost no individual attention. I have no reputation to uphold and, as I discovered this morning, I lack my main source motivation. I don’t have anyone to impress. Thus, I am left with the old “do it for yourself.”

Now, not all of my motivation is recognition. I’m a very curious person. I love to learn and enjoy doing so on my own without recognition. I’ve just never had to use it as my primary source of motivation. I’m not sure if I have enough natural curiosity and general nerdiness to sustain me through college. I definitely won’t be motivated by a desire to better my future. For some reason, the future has never really interested me. I mean, I have a four year plan type thing for college and a general idea of what I’m going to do, but I figure I don’t care whether it works out that way or not.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that you should do productive, good things for whatever reason you can find, selfish or not, and if you’re going to do it for yourself, make sure you’re worth it or else you’ll never make it.

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The Procrastination Continues

I don’t think it’s likely to ever stop, actually. As much as I tell myself that I’m not going to procrastinate things when I get into college or an actual job, I kind of doubt that I’ll be able to throw off the years of habitual procrastination.

Anyway… I would really love to say that this blog post isn’t going to be just me complaining, but I’ll be honest. This post is definitely me complaining. No matter how much I can cleverly make it sound like I’m just pondering life questions and being philosophical, it’s just me in my bedroom, procrastinating my AP Chemistry homework.

I don’t care how motivated and against procrastination you are; if you were in my AP Chemistry class, you’d be procrastinating. Exhibit A: my friend Kayla. Kayla is the only other girl in my AP Chemistry class, which sounds sad only until you know that there are only seven (soon to be six) people in our class. We’re smarter than those guys anyway… no, we aren’t. The point is, out of all the geniuses in our class, Kayla is the one most likely to succeed. She is literally first in our graduating class. Seriously, when we get our transcripts, we’re ranked out of everyone in our grade. I’m usually around 100 out of 300 and Kayla is always numero uno.

She’s had a 4.0 since probably elementary school and she doesn’t procrastinate. She goes home, her mother sits her down at the table and she gets all her homework done. Always. She was even in my AP Literature class, which was pretty rigorous. She never skipped a day of reading or an essay. Not only does she get fantastic grades, but she’s awesome as well. We watched BBC Sherlock at another friend’s house once.

Little Kayla; practically perfect in every way. Even she procrastinates our AP Chemistry homework. It’s so hard.

Unfortunately, the end of out trimester is in two days. The time to procrastinate has gone and I’ve been working on my AP Chemistry homework all day. Well, all day since I got home from church. There are three biggish things that I have to do, so I’ve prioritized them and whatnot, but now, eight hours later, I’m not even half-way done with the first thing on my list.

I have a whole host of lame excuses for not having it finished. One of those things is that I have a headache that my drugs didn’t take care of this time, which infuriates me just a little, along with not being able to sit up straight because my back hurts from sitting up straight upon request from my physical therapist. Because of this, I took a few hours to nap and then I tried to watch a documentary while I worked, but that didn’t pan out and now that I’ve napped, I’m super tired. I had to wake up earlier than normal this morning after having stayed out late  last night (role-playing a gnome, I might add).

Crap… this is getting too whiny… Now I shall make up something profound.

A lot of different people (teachers, parents) try to tell kids that they have to learn how to work while they’re young so that they’ll have a good work ethic when they grow up. Part of that ideal work ethic is the ability to do something that’s super hard even though you don’t want to do it.

I grew up in a pretty hard-working family. My parents volunteer us for every service project that hear about, which is fine most of the time. However, because of a few different factors (ones that I call genetic factors, just so I can blame stuff on my parents), lethargy is one of the things at the top of the list of things I struggle with the most. My grades in school haven’t always been the best, not because I don’t understand the material (though sometimes that is the case), but because I can’t seem to force myself to do the homework.

This is even worse than me trying to get up in the morning. I hate getting out of bed in the morning. In fact, I schedule fifteen extra minutes in the morning that I use to get myself out of bed. It’s kind of pathetic, but I am not a morning person and it could be worse. Fortunately, since I got into high school, I’ve become slightly better at forcing myself to do stuff. The key is to make yourself interested in the work you have to do. Whenever I have to write English papers or essays, I get myself really excited because it’s the one time that I can (sneakily) incorporate sarcasm into my school work (my AP Lit teacher would frown at me right now and insist that it’s actually just verbal irony and not sarcasm).

I could go on with this, but I’m writing this blog post so that I don’t have to do my Chemistry homework. I swear I’m interested in the stuff we’re learning, but I just don’t want to have to plug a bunch of different numbers into the same three equations all night long.

In my head, the title of this post had an entirely different set of implications than it does now that I see it on the screen. It reminds me of the Legend of Zelda games. No one really talks, they just make noises and occasionally laugh, but Link goes throughout the entire game never responding to anything with more than a nod or a confused look. I think the mood of the game would be entirely different if he did respond.

Anyway, I was going to start off talking about boredom. When it comes to just about every non-adult that I know, people get bored so easily that I’m surprised that there aren’t armies of hyper-motivated kids running about getting things done. I’m not really sure of what is going on in the brain when you’re bored, so I’m not even going to guess (though I may look up an article later, if I suddenly become motivated), but one of the things that couples with boredom is lethargy.

Now, I rarely get bored. I probably say that I’m bored, but I have a hard time actually feeling like I need to get up and do something or have something to do. I do, however, get lethargic. In fact, I am usually very lethargic. I’m a very passive learner. A lot of people are/claim to be hands-on learners, which is magnificent, but I would actually rather not get my hands on anything. When we do labs and such things in my science classes, I always imagine myself getting into the things and doing it well, but there’s always the moment when we’re actually standing in the lab with our stupid goggles on and I panic.

I know people who refuse to go on dates to a movie because of the decreased amount of interaction they can have with their date. People usually feel the same way about education. They need to interact with it and put forth physical effort in order to learn it, but I would much rather sit in a classroom and have a teacher lecture me about a subject or watch a documentary (which I do pretty often).

This need to be doing something in order to have gratification leads people to be bored, I believe. It’s probably the reason that I rarely get bored, coupled with the fact that I have a hard time keeping track of time.

Whenever I go to physical therapy, they have me lay on heat pads for fifteen minutes. They turn the lights off and close the door and I lay there staring at the ceiling. I have no way of telling time because my phone is usually in my pocket and I’m wearing one of those highly fashionable gown things that tie in the back and hang down past my knees, so I can’t get to my pocket. Most people would find this infuriating. There is nothing to do, though sometimes I can hear music playing in the waiting room or the therapist having some sort of conversation with someone else out in the hallway. I don’t find it boring, though. I really like just laying in the dark and not having to do anything.

Another example was yesterday while I was out with my parents buying my mother a new mini-van. I didn’t want to stay home with my little brother and sister because they’re annoying, so I opted to go with my parents, who are a little less annoying. We drove around a bunch and we ate lunch and then we drove around in a bunch of mini-vans before my mother had decided on one. This took several hours in which I just sat in the back  seat of whatever vehicles and half-listened to my father talk about car-buying. Then while my parents were inside this building thing with the old-guy salesman who flirted with me at one point (this actually happens to me a lot), I decided to stay out in the car.

First of all, I don’t like going into places where there are people and the van that my mom got is SUPER dark inside and I like the dark, so I sat in there for nearly an hour and a half. I didn’t have any music, though I could have used my phone, and I didn’t really want to do anything, so I just sat there thinking about whatever. I like doing that.

Now, I know that once you’ve turned 8 or 9 years old, it isn’t cool to have an imagination any more until you get to high school and they tell you to be an individual, which you do by having the same sorts of ideas as everyone else, BUT… I like to pretend. That’s what I do when other people are being occupied with boredom. It sounds pretty dumb and maybe it is, but I think it actually helps me with my ability to come up with a believable scenario with no major plot holes. Sometimes I think of the plot of a novel I want to write and run through it in my head, working out all the bits that don’t really make any sense.

Sometimes I talk to myself about things (this blog post is quickly becoming a confession of sorts, isn’t it?). In fact, the next blog post that I plan to write (on the topic of expectations), is a conversation that I’ve had with myself before. If I notice something about someone, sometimes I discuss it with myself until I’ve worked out a bunch of things about it. I don’t specifically remember all of them, but I think it helps me understand things better. I’m actually really bad at understanding things, so I spend all my extra time thinking about things so that I can understand them like people I know all seem to.

My thought processes can’t really be described as “adventures”, but it sounded like a good blog title in my head and I’m not changing it.