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Self Motivation

I remember when I was at college studying music I had this lecturer who would often say to the class that as young musicians we needed to, “pay now and play later”. When asked to explain what he meant by this, he’d ramble on about how as life went on and our responsibilities grew (due to the general nature of adulthood), that we would have less time to practice our instruments, work on our musicality or even possibly do the things that ‘we wanted to do’ because of everyday life.

As young “know everything” type teens these words went in and out of most people's ears quicker than he had actually said them and to many of the older students hearing it, I’m sure it probably sounded like the signs of the previously mentioned lecturer's mid-life crisis. Nonetheless, his words hit me like a sledgehammer to the face (or ten bricks like mentioned in our last blog), and I quickly started putting plans into action to develop a disciplined daily routine in order to keep my practice up and ensure I’d continue to try self motivate myself to achieve my goals as life started to get in the way.

I feel that what my lecturer was attempting to imply here was/is pretty simple. The more work we do at a time in our lives when we actually have the time to do it, in comparison to how difficult it can be to do that same amount of work when juggling the boat load of responsibilities that life can throw our way as one enters the world of adulthood the easier things might be for our futures, or perhaps the more prepared we might be should certain life situations arise that could eventually call for these developed skills.

Pretty simple right? Well, in hindsight yes, except for the fact that he forgot to mention that taking the time to actually work on oneself takes a lot of work, and that most homosapians (people like you and me) are stereotypically lazy creatures by nature and a good percentage of us won’t/don’t really do much to go above and beyond anything because it requires a little too much effort and that’s just “not cool”. Humans are lazy by default, it's programmed in our DNA, and it’s been proven time and time again, just do some research, it’s true, but don't be too hard on yourself, it applies to all of us and really, it's ok to have a 'do nothing day' every now and then. Try, if you can , to treat such days as rewards given to yourself for work you’ve done rather than the norm though, otherwise it’s even harder to get out of the event of ‘doing nothing. To quote Machiavelli - ‘Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth’.

But how do we push ourselves to do whatever it is we’re trying to do and be better versions of ourselves etc? In short - we need to find “self motivation”. A reason to be great. An excuse to be the best (or at very least a little better than we were yesterday). Life isn't a competition and we shouldn't compare ourselves to others because we don't know what path other individuals have traveled, in order to reach their destinations. No-one ever said that competing against ourselves was a bad thing though, so I for one try to use each new day as a reason to be that 1% better than I was the day before and I'm hoping that by reading this, you possibly will too.

For me (and this is just the way my brain seems to work), I find that the best way to motivate myself is to think systematically. I dedicate a certain amount of time to a skill that I’m trying to develop, note down my progress and can see how I’m progressing by reading what I’ve written by the end of each week. Then my self confidence (in relation to whatever skill it is I’m working on) increases, my dopamine levels seem to rise and I get motivated enough to keep going until I reach my exact goal. It's a circular reaction, whereby the results feed my positivity and the positivity feeds my motivation, and it just keeps on going and going. Obviously, attempting to implement this system (or any new system for that matter) can be difficult, but I assure you that you will see results, no matter what the skill that you’re trying to develop is. If the confidence levels in your brain raise, you will feel good and good vibrations will cause change, regardless of the situation

In a band and trying to get more exposure? Try dedicating a set amount of time a day to contacting the needed sources and asking for it. It’ll literally only take one “yes” for you to feel like your efforts were worth it. Trying to cook those French crepes so that they taste the same as the ones your dad used to make when you were a child? Keep attempting to do it, you’ve only gotta get them right a handful of times to feel like you’ve got it down before moving onto that tasty lasagne your mom made.

The bottom line is this... If you can find it in yourself to motivate yourself and reach your own goals without someone having to tell you how great you are, or nag on you to keep trying ,then you’re more than halfway there. It’s all about setting realistic goals and trying the best you can to try and achieve them.

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