Image thanks to ohchristopher
Do you struggle with motivation?
At school, college or university, is it an absolute chore to get any work done? Do you find yourself ‘cramming’ at the last minute, not handing in essays or missing classes and lectures altogether?
At your job, do you suffer from ‘employee mentality’? You know the sort of thing: ‘I don’t want to go in but I’ll only get in trouble if I don’t’ or ‘I hate this job but I’m too afraid to quit.’ I’ve fallen victim to it many a time and, honey, if you get to this point, things really need to change.
I’m not going to simply suggest tips and tricks on inspiring work ethic, that’s been done. I am instead going to say that what’s important is to really get to the root of your problem. And, yes, it is a problem if you feel uninspired about your life in this way. Nothing I can say will help you if you can’t work out why you are unmotivated; I’d just be offering up advice you’re likely to have heard before and ignored. You’ll have your own personal reasons for a lack of work ethic, whether they are minor or mega.
The odd bout of laziness is fine. We’re all human. Nobody is perfect and there will always be things we need to do that we just don’t want to. Off days are cool. An ‘off’ degree, an ‘off’ career or even an ‘off’ life, is not acceptable! You deserve more.
If your work ethic isn’t great, chances are you are focusing on the end result, rather than the action itself.
If you regularly aren’t waking up in the morning for class and your last three essays were written 10 minutes before you handed them in, your mentality towards your studies is probably ‘I just need to get through these couple of years, come out with an OK grade and get the job I want, then my life will be more fulfilling.’
If you have a mundane part-time, weekend or evening job you aren’t enjoying and therefore aren’t excelling in, more than likely your mentality is simply ‘I need the money.’If it’s your career, you may be thinking ‘I’m here until I figure out what I really want to do.’
If, in life in general, on a day-to-day basis, you just can’t be bothered with making an effort at anything, then not only is your mentality likely to be ‘I’ll just plod along until I figure out what to do with my life’ or ‘If I win the lottery/get married/get somebody else’s life, then I’ll be fulfilled,’ but this could even be linked with genuine depression, and you need to take action to deal with it.
Do you want the plain truth as I see it? If this is repeatedly the way you look at things: ‘my current life is A, and A will get me to B. I don’t enjoy A but I sure as heck will enjoy B’ then you will probably continue to go through life unhappy and unfulfilled. You need to recognise this as a ‘grass is greener’ illusion.
I have a great quote which really struck a chord with me when I discovered it and my life has gone in a new direction ever since.
"Situation cannot change mans life; his attitude can and does."
A lot in life we cannot or will never change, yet it is a shining truth that people live contented and satisfied lives at every end of the spectrum; money, success, relationships - they don’t necessarily have a bearing on happiness at all. It’s that old chestnut, but a successful, wealthy business man with a beautiful wife and family may easily be the unhappiest man in the world, especially if he is aspiring to a life travelling the globe, not answering to a soul and with a string of gay lovers. You see?
Your attitude: that one, solitary factor in life that will make or break your sense of fulfilment is, conveniently, one of the few things you can really control, but you must first become attuned to it.
Attitude and work ethic walk hand in hand.
It is a difficult thing for many people to recognise, me included, but in your head there are two conflicting voices; one says ‘Yes, I can. I’m strong, I’m worthy; I accept myself’ the other says ‘No, I absolutely cannot, I’m a chump, I’m worthless, I wish I was somebody else.’ In each individual, and in different situations, one voice generally speaks louder than the other. It is easy to see which one leads us to success and fulfilment and which leads to disappointment and gloom.
Here’s the good news, chaps: it is absolutely, 100%, totally up to you which voice you listen to.
Whatever it is you are doing with your life at this moment that is not inspiring your work ethic, you need to change your outlook on it. This may be a massive thing for you; it may just be a teeny-tiny change of ideas.
Ask yourself: why am I here? Why am I doing this?
If you answer that you are doing it for you and only you, then why are you failing to achieve at it? Is it dull? Not what you anticipated? Merely a means to an end? How can you put an angle on it that convinces you it is worth working hard for? If you absolutely cannot then why, oh why, are you doing it?
If you answer, which you may well do, that you are doing it for someone (anyone’s) good opinion, for the supposed outcome, for the normality, for the sake of it etc. Then – like I have, like many people have – you’ve gotten it so, so wrong and a re-evaluation is desperately required!
If you take on board just one point here, let it be this:
You are on this planet as you, to achieve ‘you.’ You are not your mother, or your friend, or any chosen idol, and never will be; you will only ever be you. It is your own choices and your own opinion of yourself that make your life worth it. You cannot possibly ever live up to anyone else’s opinion of you without first living up to your own. Be who you dream of being; let your choices be for you, then watch happiness roll in.
You have to want to do what you’re doing to be successful in doing it. So find the reason to want to do it. Your life should never be based on ‘the light at the end of the tunnel.’ Your life should be saturated with light, every single moment of it.
Phew, I hope that was helpful in some way.
Has any of the above hit home? Do you have your own important points to add? Comment away!
This article was originally posted in 2008 and is part of Archive August - join in!