Dr. Seuss

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)

You’ve Got a Place at Uni. Now What?

It’s that time of year again. The wait is over and A-Level results are in. Screams of both joy and despair ringing out across the land.

Most years, I offer up advice on what to do when things don’t go according to plan:

This year, I want to look at what happens when you get the results you need. Hurrah! You’re set to accept an offer and all that’s in between you and a university is a wait between now and September. Maybe even October.

If you’re lucky, the wait is over in a flash. But it can drag on too. Let’s get things going already, can’t we!?

Sitting

Take Control of Your Time

You may not be able to magically transport to uni any earlier, but there are loads of things you can do to prepare. And the more prepared you are, the more time you’ll have to enjoy yourself when you do get to uni.

Now, unless you’re REALLY impatient, you won’t want to throw yourself into study preparation straight away. The good news is that it only takes a small head start to take you a long way. A little bit now could mean a lot of time and bother saved in the long run. If you’re reading this and you love to plan ahead and be in control, I’ve got some tips for you.

Trust me, you won’t be in complete control. What comes next is new. You can’t take ultimate control of something you haven’t experienced before. Luckily, that’s part of the challenge and often ends up being key to learning new things and enjoying the process.

That’s more reason why it’s great to get as much out of the way as possible. Don’t wait until you hit campus if you can do it now. There will be plenty to do by the time you’ve moved in. You’ll be thankful you dealt with what you could when you had the spare time!

Prepare For University

Read what the university send you in the post and via email.
It’s tempting to gloss over half of the gumph you’re sent, but don’t. Awareness is crucial, even if you don’t end up needing a lot of the information. Everything you do need is better handled when you’re clued up.

Read my free ebooks.
TheUniversityBlog has two free ebooks that have helped Freshers over the last few years. Fresher Success sets you up before you start uni and has more than 90 tips from previous Freshers who have been through it all before. Live Life, Study Hard helps you prepare for academic work and explains things like why first year DOES count. Download them right now.

Check out reading lists, but don’t buy all the books or go too crazy.
Core reading (if any) and one or two basic textbooks is more than enough to get you started.
My most helpful reading before the academic year started consisted of two textbooks on the first reading list I was sent. Those textbooks were cheap compared to most of the books on the reading list and I ended up making great use of them before and after I started the year.

Look online for the basics.
For many degrees, you’ll get a good grasp from some online reading. Try to work out what interests you from first impressions of the wider topics you’ll be exploring.
And don’t panic if none of it makes much sense. You’re only taking a look. You’re not expected to know it all when you arrive. Learning is about discovering new things, not showing off that you already know it!

Find other people online who are going to your uni when you are.
Getting to know new people is becoming easier and easier online. Facebook, Twitter, The Student Room…You have loads of opportunity to contact fellow Freshers long before you meet up with them.

Get to know students who are already there, including your Students’ Union peeps.
Your SU reps are there for you and are usually very happy to hear from you. Say hi and get involved.  A great way to get the lowdown before anyone else!

Make everything a head start, rather than a burden.
If it feels like too much bother, don’t bother! You should be having an enjoyable experience, not a stressful one.

Think about what you want to take AND what you don’t need to take.
Leaving stuff behind and starting fresh can be difficult. If you could move your room as it is to your new room, that would be great.
Truth is, what works now probably won’t work when you get to uni. You’re about to discover a whole new you and you need space to let you in!
After essentials and ‘no matter what’ items, what about the rest? Do you really need to take a TV? Are you sure you can’t live without your entire collection of teddies? Is it wise to bring half a gym’s worth of equipment “just in case”?
Everyone thinks about what they should take, but you should spare a moment for things you don’t actually need.

Getting Ahead

These are just some of the things you can work on before you head off.

My best time saving effort was doing the basic reading. I found out about loads of things I’d never even considered before, which was a good combination of challenging and exciting. Once I’d finished reading what I wanted, I had an idea of what to expect. I didn’t think it would give me more than a slight nudge, but it genuinely helped throw me in the right direction while I could spend time on other things. You know, like having fun and getting stuck in to all the other aspects of uni life on offer.

It’s non-stop. Oh, the places you’ll go!