Motivation Vs Determination

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One of the biggest challenges in today’s world is finding an appreciation for determination. We live in a society where we can all get instant replies, instant cash and instant gratification, compared to the world of 20-30 years ago where people still has to post letters and wait for things in life. Now while in many ways the world has become a better place due to the creation and use of technology, one thing that has suffered is the lack of appreciation for hard work.

I’ll be the first one to admit, I don’t appreciate the level of hard work that went into building the society I’m able to enjoy today. I don’t appreciate the long hours, the daily grind that my family had to put in to give me the life I have today or any of the many opportunities I’ve had in life. Sure I’ve had full time jobs and I’ve worked in average places, but I still don’t think I’ve felt the same thing they’ve felt.

This comes down to the environment we are growing up in. People are more interested in their social media feeds than those who make up the feeds themselves. We’ve become a shallow,low attention span society with little to no patience, so how do we learn the value of hard work? How do we learn to develop a strong determination?

The need for Determination

When I picture determination, there are two groups of people who pop up in my heads. Athletes and Entrepreneurs. These are the easiest collections of individuals to associate determination with. They’re the ones who are practicing day in and day out, the ones who are eating those meals that aren’t as delicious to stay in peak form. The ones who are giving up on their social lives to learn about different business principles or work on their projects that they’re passionate about. They’re the ones who are giving up on short term gain and instead investing in their long term success.

These are the people we look up to. We see them with awards and glory. We aspire to be like them, brand them and promote them. We want to inspire the next generation to work hard and be like their heroes, but for most people that’s where it ends. There’s no next step after seeing a news story on the success of a wildly risky technology company, or the award ceremony at a world event. Many kids will think and want to know more, but as a society I find there are very few people who are supporting these dreamers to be the next Usain Bolt or Bill Gates.

All the proof you need is in the education system. You’re told you can be anything you want to be from the moment you can comprehend speech. At that age, the most riveting thing you can think of is a garbage truck driver or checkout person. As you grow older, the dreams often grow with you, inviting you to develop a fantasy about being an astronaut or scientist. When you’re closer to 16 however, you’ve really put effort into your dreams, perhaps you’ve figured out some of the finer details of what you’ll do and how you’ll do it.

So when the teacher says you can’t do it and should focus on a more realistic career path, what does that do to us? It takes something that has been at the very core of our being for so long and destroys it. We go home and ask our friends and family who give blank face responses. It’s kind of like everyone has been on this big joke of reality and it’s been going over your head for years.

So for the first 15-16 years of your life, you can be whatever you want to be, yet from the moment exams actually matter, unless you’re extremely gifted you have to be more realistic.

The growth of shallow motivation

The formula for life isn’t a new topic on this site and I’m sure it will continue to come up, but it’s very relevant in this day and age. Those who have been kicked down respond to it all by following this method to happiness and end up experiencing long term dissatisfaction or a lack of confidence in themselves. When we see motivational movies, how many of us talk about changing and not follow through?

I know I do.

How about the entire concept of New Years and resolutions? “A New Year, A New Me!” is the usual go to, but it’s just a load of crap because it’s hard and many of us haven’t learned the reward of hard work and determination. Instead we’ve learned to enjoy the shallow motivation, the external motivation that comes packaged in the form of a youtube video, film or tv show. We indulge ourselves and let our minds wonder before resigning back into present life.

So what should we do about it?

This is the tough part. Many people would have us put down our social media and return to the wilderness to be kids again and learn to get messy and dirty. To try new things and get hurt in the process, to learn these lessons that otherwise won’t be learnt. Others would scoff and say that the actual solution exists in the form of new technology solutions and education platforms.

Personally, I think it’s a combination of the two and a little bit of reform in the social media space. Simply put, we’re looking up to reality tv stars than those who are changing the world and no one seems to be doing anything about it.

For years I’ve had the idea of an institution (X-Men reference anyone?) where people from all ages of life can go to on retreats and learn to grow, lead and work hard in life. To find out their passions, their way of learning and many other important personal lessons we otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunities to experience.

I also think there aren’t enough individuals who are actually leading by example and I know I’m guilty of that too. So I’m going to be looking to try and find a way to do so because I know that motivation isn’t my problem. I can come up with 100 different reasons why I should do something or why I should eat healthier and work out more. The actual doing part? The determination element behind it, that’s a bit harder to develop.

So my goal for the next week:

  • Learn as much about the development about determination as possible.

During this time I want to share everything valuable that I learn on the topic on the website, so expect a theme for the next week at least.

Until then, thank you for reading!