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