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Where do you find motivation?

Greg Devine


Blurred portrait of businessman working with pile of wooden cubes with focus quote

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Motivation is something I struggle with. I have commitments in my life that I should have far more ‘get up and go’ for. For instance, considering how excited I was to get to university, my studies are something I should be raring to complete, yet I’m struggling to get out of bed each morning. In contrast, whenever I’ve had a job to go to, this is not something that’s been a problem. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t have loved to spend longer in bed on those days, I just found it much easier to get up and crack on with the day.

I wonder what the difference is: why is it I can I get up for work without issue, but I find it hard to get out of bed for my studies? Money? I’m not particularly money driven; I don’t drop everything to make a few quid. I’d much rather have a good time with my friends or family than spend a couple of hours earning a tenner.

I think it comes down to the fear of being sacked. When I’m working in a job, I know I’m impacting other people’s livelihoods—particularly those connected to a small business. If I don’t turn up and work hard, my boss will be out of pocket. That’s not something that sits right with me. In comparison, if I didn’t turn up to college, I knew I would still get the grades. That might sound a little arrogant, but it’s only because I’d already taught myself a lot of what we learned on the course.

Trying to find motivation to continue.

At university, I can hear myself saying, ‘I can do this later’ but finding motivation to study in a flat full of young adults is very difficult when the pub is so close! I’ve had to change my mindset and it’s taking me a little time to adjust.

Luckily, the university has various resources to help people in my situation. There are one-to-ones available for people to talk through any issues they may have. For anyone really struggling, counselling is available, too. There’s even a student-run hotline that offers a service similar to that provided by the Samaritans.

Despite all of these resources, motivation is still something I’m trying to improve. If I were to list all my motivations, you’d probably think there are plenty—but this is the conundrum young people are facing. It’s difficult to be highly driven about a long-term project when you can get instant gratification via a ‘like’ on social media. Instagram, etc., provides an instant hit of dopamine. Studying provides little to no dopamine rush, which means there will naturally be less motivation to do it. Going out and talking to new people, especially if they’re someone you find attractive, will also provide an instant boost. All of a sudden, despite knowing going out is the wrong choice, it becomes harder to turn down such invitations, because you know they will boost your mood.

Young businessman sitting at desk in office playing basketball and talking on cell phone

Ultimately, there are a lot of distractions in the modern world—especially now that Covid has been demoted. Remember during the pandemic, when everyone was forming healthy habits, like working out, learning new skills, or finding new hobbies? That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore, or it’s certainly not as easy now.

I don’t see an easy fix to my dilemma, but I am looking for answers. Hopefully, in a follow up article, I’ll be able to share my positive outcomes and the techniques I may have learned, rather than the bleak picture I’m currently painting.

Finding motivation might not be easy but it’s imperative that I do so.

The world of instant gratification, unfortunately, is the one we live in. But we have the rest of our lives ahead of us. We can’t just sit here, procrastinating. Mental health is a massive issue, but unfortunately, the government isn’t going to do anything to help us with that; they’ve cut so many frontline services that could equip young people with the tools to cope.

We’re on our own. Matters must be taken into our own hands. We must find our own motivation, because no one is going to do it for us.

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