Internet / Online

Self-Motivation and Mountain Moving

Self-motivation is great. It helps you take those online courses and pass with aplomb. It gets you connecting with amazing people. It inspires you to write about your chosen profession,  your hobbies, and anything on your mind. It lets you present videos, go to talks and conferences.

Self-motivation takes you to a place where you can create stuff, argue stuff, make stuff happen.

But how often is this happening?

It’s easy to forget how useful a dose of self-motivation can be.

So it’s time to remember. Self-motivation is a big deal.

Nothing is guaranteed in life, but you have to reach out to get it.

When you don’t, nothing happens.

converse-fields

The more self-motivated you are to show up and take action, the more likely you’ll find the good stuff. And you see those people who seem to get asked to do absolutely everything? They usually got to that place by asking a lot before all this happened. It took a lot of asking to get a lot of asking back at them.

Choices and Making Things Happen

When you take action, you need to make choices.

Choices are tough. What do you give up? What do you prioritise above everything else? There are only so many hours in the day. And when you do have the time, do you worry about every last detail before committing to something?

First, consider if your actions somehow make a difference to you or someone else. What value does it have? Even if that value is personal, that’s fine.

Second, think useful, not polished. For example, when I write, I don’t edit much until later. Editing as you write is a pain and it limits your output. If your brilliant idea can only be expressed in a few bullet points for now, so be it. You’re better off making a couple of notes than not writing anything at all.

Another example is through Gary Vaynerchuk. When he gets a great idea in his head that he wants to tell the world, he doesn’t care about production values. He’ll take out his phone and, no matter where he is, he’ll shoot a quick piece and post it online. When the message is more important than a fancy presentation or high definition video, push it out.

All you need to do is flip your phone around and shoot a video. Get an idea out there, make something happen. When you’ve got something great to impart, you can move mountains. Keep communicating, keep creating, keep connecting. Don’t wait for someone–including yourself–to tell you you’re good enough, to tell you you’ve made it. That’ll never happen. And if people do tell you you’ve made it, don’t stop learning on account of that.

Don’t stop creating either. There’s always more to do.

So get out there and instead of trying to do something good, try doing something new, learning as you go. Some stuff will be grainy and useful. Some stuff will be polished and rubbish. You’ll even have perfect days and terrible days.

But that’s only if you do it. If you just play it safe and do nothing at all, there’s nothing to show and you get no further forward.

You have to make choices because you can’t do everything. But when you say you really want to do something and it’s perfectly possible to do it, why would you still not do it?

I had an email the other day from someone who wanted to write a guest post for the blog. They said they wanted to get into blogging and were looking for a way in. I asked them what their own blog was and they didn’t have one.

Let me repeat that once more…A person who really wanted to blog, but didn’t have a blog yet and were looking for a way in.

A way in to what? Just sign up and start publishing stuff!

Now, I’m pretty sure their real aim was to promote another website. But imagine if that person really did want to blog. Nothing would be stopping them so long as they had an Internet connection.

If you’re reading this, you can be writing it too.

Taking Life Seriously

As you can tell from this site, I still find university fascinating. I understand that there are other routes and that uni isn’t for everyone. But I’ve found something that speaks to me and that I want to be a part of. It may bore the socks off you, yet it works for me. I want to help students make the most of their time at university and learn about their experiences because I feel in a good position to do that. I like the academic side, the social side, the admin side. It’s a strange position to be in, but a wonderful one.

I moved away from academia after I graduated. It seemed like the only thing I could do at the time.

I was wrong. And I’ve been wrong about a lot of things throughout my life.

We’re all wrong about a lot of things.

Luckily, we get a lot right too.

One thing I was right to do was return to the world of higher education. Not only did I work to my strengths, I also worked on my weaknesses. I didn’t know enough about the administration side of academia, so I made it my business to do so. I took it seriously.

The first step of the process was self-motivation.

If I didn’t want to do this, the outcomes would be different. I wouldn’t have been asked to do many of the things I’ve done. I wouldn’t have found people wanting to consume the content I’ve produced. I wouldn’t have participated in the activities that have helped along the way.

I wouldn’t have taken this seriously.

How seriously do you take the things you’re aiming for?

I’m writing at the time of year when new university students are starting a journey toward a degree while applicants are at school or college writing personal statements so the whole process can begin again next year.

When I was writing my personal statement, I was only half-hearted about it. I wasn’t looking at the bigger picture. Nobody had explained what any of this meant and I hadn’t done enough research of my own either.

That wasn’t the best attitude to have. Yet it’s an attitude repeated time and again for far too many people, year after year.

I had a chance to turn things around and I took it. If I hadn’t, my university experience might have been pretty poor. I may not have gone to university at all.

Yet here I am, writing stuff like this, trying to help others win. Among other things, that needs a regular dose of self-motivation.

None of this is about finding your passion at an early age. Neither is it about ignoring what you believe in. At the core of this is taking what you do seriously. Even the fun stuff. Make every action count and find motivation in what you do.

This Post Is For YOU

I write this as an inspired ramble. I’m posting it here without (much) editing.

This post is for you to chew on as is. If it speaks to you, that’s awesome. Let me know what you’re inspired to do. Keep in touch. Even if it’s just a quick tweet (@universityboy) I’d love to hear what you’re doing and how you’re self-motivated.

And if you think I’m crazy, that’s fine. Do your thing and be inspired by what makes you tick. The point is to find what makes you want to wake up in the morning (or night!) and do amazing work. I’m only trying to help with that. If someone else is helping you achieve that in a completely different way, brilliant.

I’m talking to each and every student out there who gets what I’m saying and who feels like I’m helping them. If I’m not helping you, I’m comfortable with that. If I’m not helping anyone, I need to reconsider.

From where I am, I feel comfortable at the moment. So while I’m self-motivated, I can’t do it all by myself. This is a two-way process.

Thank you for that. Thanks for reading and I hope you get a spark of inspiration from this post or anything I’ve created over the years. May your own self-motivation (along with the help of others) take you to wonderful places.

Not long ago, I referred to a Dr. Seuss book, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!“. The book’s message is that you can move mountains.

I believe you can move mountains. It’s time to get motivated. Are you ready?

Let me know what your personal mountains are and how far you’ll move them.

move mountains (Dr. Seuss image from Oh! the Places You'll Go) (photo by Curtis Gregory Perry)

“Kid, you’ll move mountains” – Dr. Seuss image from ‘Oh! the Places You’ll Go’ (photo by Curtis Gregory Perry)

A New Medium: Great Links Worth Reading

I recently started writing over at Medium. It’s a convenient place to post anything not quite so student related. And more stuff that is!

Medium

I thought I’d link to a few posts of mine and others that you should take a look at.

You can keep track of my latest posts and recommendations at my profile page.

Check out some of my first posts to Medium:

Writing on Distraction-Free Writing – 7 tips to help you concentrate on just the words.

What ‘Preparation’ Really Is – Getting to finish means getting through start. This is an updated version of an old TUB post.

Dead Is Dead – When you stop using a service, that doesn’t mean it should stop existing.

And here are a few great posts from other awesome peeps:

How to College – Some great, down to earth advice on making the most of your time at university. By @EricJorgenson

Take Your Ideas For a Walk – Sometimes the creative process needs you to take a journey. By @IanSanders

I Never Win Because I’m a Girl – “The piano doesn’t care who you are. Neither does the ground when you run.” By @luckyshirt

Dear Dumbphone: A Millennial’s Declaration of Love – Not all of us are so quick to embrace smartphones. And when we do, how does it change us? By @steffiexplores

The top reasons people tell me they aren’t able to write online are:

  • I don’t have enough time;
  • I can’t think of anything useful to say;
  • I can’t write.

First, it doesn’t have to take a long time. Second, you have more useful stuff to say than you realise. Third, you can’t write if you don’t write, so get writing!

Considering how many millions of people are now writing prolifically online, I’m still surprised to see so many people still not creating their own content. If text isn’t right for you, try audio and video. Go beyond status updates and sharing stuff with friends. Push your words out to the world.

Books, emotions, and paying attention

Stories about the future have long portrayed the things we know today in emotional terms. Books get used a lot of the time. Imagine a world with hardly any physical books. When a movie presents you with a world in which books are off-limits or scarce, you’re prompted to stop and think about what you take for granted.

Could you do without books?

So how important are books? Over 5 years’ ago, I wrote a piece that challenged the idea that ebooks will become a dominant force. We have seen an explosion in reading via tablets and eReaders, but books are still hanging around.

And not in a ‘bad smell’ way. Books are not unpopular, despite sales of ebooks catching up. In fact, ebook sales are slowing down. Is that because books are still a draw, or are all lengthy texts suffering?

After all, the sheer amount of information being pumped out on a daily basis is phenomenal. Reading a book from cover to cover can be a challenge for some. That challenge gets even harder as we’re primed for more snippets of information more of the time. More more more.

The emotional pull of lost books is no longer quite as disorientating. In part, because it’s a cliché. But not only that. We’re also used to the idea of reading in other ways. Desktops, tablets, eReaders, phones, you name it. Screens are everywhere. Words are everywhere.

The book may look impressive on a shelf, but we own other things. Collections of stuff vary so much that we’re hardly limited to books.

The luxury tag has waned. So has the desire to keep every book you have ever read. Yes, there will always be some people who are drawn to owning a massive library of books. But is that feeling becoming more rare as the years go by?

Could you live without books?

The Meaning(s) of Internationalisation & Globalisation

Ask a number of students and academics how their university is engaging with internationalisation and you’ll probably get a bunch of different answers.

globe (photo by jorgencarling)

Alex Bols has written about the meaning(s) of internationalisation for universities. He brings up something he heard more than ten years’ ago:

“Just because a university has international students does not make it an international university.”

But what is globalisation? As Bols heard, globalisation goes far beyond geography. A good definition comes from a Guardian book, “Going Global: Key Questions for the 21st Century” by Michael Moynagh and Richard Worsley:

“We define globalisation as the world becoming more interdependent and integrated.” [p.1]

Moynagh and Worsley state that networks are multiplying, relationships are stretching, and human contact is intensifying.

The book was published in 2008. In the years since then, these three factors appear to hold true. Technology allows human connections to occur regardless of our location.

We have long been able to pick up a phone and call someone on the other side of the world. But the ease, casual nature, and low cost of contact is a much bigger driving force. For better or worse, our access to the world fits in our pocket, rests on our glasses, and may soon appear on a contact lens.

Back to Moynagh and Worsley:

“The important results is that spheres of life are emerging over and above geography. For part of their lives, people are beginning to inhabit a world that is not bound by territory.
[…]
“A world above the world is emerging, but people are still rooted in the world below. The interaction of the two is what counts.” [pp.2 & 4]

Be it a branch campus, an online course, or a virtual book-reading club, the possibilities are right before us and continuing to emerge. Welcome to the global digital tribe.

The buck doesn’t stop at connecting. Careful understanding of variables is necessary for the most effective engagement.

That’s not to say we have an easy time understanding these variables. If the meaning of terms like internationalisation and globalisation comes under much discussion and misunderstanding, there’s a long way to go before a collective confidence can be applied to communication. Indeed, communication on a local level can be enough to cause a headache.

No wonder Alex Bols feels that “internationalisation is a multi-faceted phenomenon”. We have always been diverse, but that diversity is ever more apparent. This is an opportunity to embrace and engage at a deeper level. As Bols states:

“To me, internationalisation evokes a near-infinite set of possibilities and opportunities for cross-pollination between people from different backgrounds.”

What do the terms internationalisation and globalisation mean to you?