A short and sweet guide to motivation

I was not particularly motivated to write this article (the irony!), and usually that is not the case. I was considering choosing a different topic to explore. Then I realized, my reluctance to write about motivation puts me in the perfect position to provide insight on this very topic.

Keep your imposter syndrome in check. Dictionary definition: Imposter syndrome is a psychological condition that is characterized by persistent doubt concerning one’s abilities or accomplishments accompanied by the fear of being exposed as a fraud despite evidence of one’s ongoing success. My approach is very simple. I have very little resistance to that feeling that creeps up on all of us. Whenever I feel imposter syndrome, I accept it. Yes, I am not as knowledgeable as I would like to be on this topic yet. I will actively strive towards gaining more insight regarding said topic. Yes, this skill needs some work. I will put together a plan to consistently refine this skill. Next, start listing off all your accomplishments related to that realm and become cognizant of this proof that you have made strides and you can continue to do so. Imposter syndrome is very common and can easily start gnawing away at our motivation levels if it is not properly dealt with. One might not feel ‘motivated’ to start working towards a to-do that they have been putting off for weeks because they are doubting if they are even capable and worthy of pursuing such a goal. It might have nothing to do with the act itself, or whether the person is capable of taking on such a task. So acknowledge your imposter syndrome, we all have it! Give yourself the space to feel subpar so you can calm-and-collectedly map out an action plan or recognize all previous accomplishments that prove to yourself that you in fact, are anything but subpar. 

Little steps. I am a big fan of just getting started, no matter how trivial the first action is, and using the momentum to my benefit. That is exactly what I did for this article. I began by creating a title, a very easy task, next came just jotting down my thoughts regarding motivation, and slowly but surely, an article has come into fruition.

Find joy in the activity itself and not an extrinsic reward. When there is a reward on the other side of task-being-done, the task at hand is relatively less appealing. You are working towards gaining something you do not yet have. You are in the lack. This is why it is more fun to have the to-do be the source of joy. Here is an example, you need to do extensive literature review. Option A is, you have an extrinsic reward awaiting you on the other side (e.g. watching an episode of your current favourite show). In this case, the literature review becomes a means of gaining a better more pleasurable experience. So the act of reading ranks lower in the fun category compared to watching that episode. Therefore, the better option is Option B, which is where you decide that literature review is the reward itself. You immerse yourself in the reading, you appreciate the novel knowledge you are gaining. Hey, you can still end the night off with that episode (or two!), but because it is a separate activity itself and not as a reward for completion of an already enjoyable reading session. 

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