What drives you??

Our task for the week – to write about motivation and where we find our motivation.  My initial reaction was, “that is easy!!” and quite awesome.  But after some thought, I decided to tweak the approach.


My question and what interests me: What motivates students?  When first asked, students responded with “in life or in school?”  I said both and either!!  And on that initial request, I asked they email what motivates them; I didn’t get many responses.  So in class on Wednesday, I gave them time to discuss the topic with me, and the answers were as diverse and amazing as I thought they would be. Here is my re-phrase of what they shared.

**I am motivated by growth and being the best version of myself.  I work hard to overcome the self doubt that plagues me; I strive to prove wrong the inner voice telling me that I can’t.  In my freshman teammates, I see my self doubt mirrored (even more so) and I think, “they are so good; I don’t know why they can’t see it.”  But they share the same insecurity I have.  Hopefully we can all overcome the self doubt, figure out how good we can be, and the confidence can motivate all to be the best they can be.


**First of all, I am motivated by a higher power.  My faith gives me extrinsic motivation.  My other extrinsic motivator is those that doubt me and my abilities.  There are two types of people you encounter – those who want to see you succeed and those who want to see you fail.  “I do it for the haters” and I find my motivation from proving those people wrong.


** I strive to not get wrapped up in my future or my past but attempt to live each moment for itself.  I live for my present, enjoying each moment as it comes.  I was able to turn away from temptations when I started enjoying every moment of everyday.  And that motivates me.


** I am motivated by continual personal growth.  I feel if you are not improving at whatever you are currently doing, you are not living life to its fullest and cheating yourself.


**I have been going to school for a long time, trying to finish an online bachelor’s (saving math for the very last because I hate it).  But I found myself being motivated by continuing to learn and improve.  I am now just learning for the sake of learning – and enjoying it.  I am motivated by the joy that learning gives me.


**When you are taking a diverse quality of classes and you look at where you might use the skills learned in that class, they answer is not always right in front of you.  The answer may lie in the next course, in ten years, or never.  But as long as you do the best for where you are currently at, you may find that you use what you learned in ways and places you never could have imagined.  I am motivated by my future and what I may someday come to need.


**I am motivated by a better job and a better future for myself and my family.  I want to take the next step in my career.


**I get motivated when I’m good at something, and even when I’m not good at something (like math), and it feels so good to finally get it.  I am motivated by my intrinsic feelings.


**Two students sent me youtube links of videos they watch when they need extra motivation.  There are definitely times when I need to hear from an external source to find my own motivation.  Here are two videos shared by my students:





And one from me (actually sent to my online students this week in the announcements):

Couple of things to help you in your journey:  http://aplus.com/s/83d4dc91dee  It is a wall where people posted their biggest regret.  Worth the watch, especially if you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed and need something to inspire you.  Hope you enjoy it.


After collecting some student data (haha), I want to answer the question for myself: what motivates me to continue to get better at what I do?  And here is what I came up with:


I am motivated by doing better than my parents and wanting more for my life.  

At YC we have many first generation, first semester college students who are trying to better their place in this world.  I am a first generation college student; the comments through the years from my father and grandfather continue to motivate me toward a doctorate degree.  They want me to have better opportunity, better education, and a better quality of life than they were afforded.  I spoke with my grandfather last week, sharing with him my goal of re-writing the Tech Math course and possibly using the work toward my PhD.  He was so excited.  I promised him I would get my PhD and I will someday; I need the right program and the right situation to present itself.  I want my PhD work to benefit YC and my current position and i haven’t found the program that meets those requirements yet.  And I love to learn and desire to be the best, so the motivation to improve is inherent in my DNA – thanks gramps!!

Overall, I do tend toward what I excel at.  I was reading a book titled, “So good they can’t ignore you : why skills trump passion in the quest for work you love” by Cal Newport .and he argued that you can only find your passion when you’ve pursued it long enough and gotten good enough at it to find fulfillment in it.  The mantra “follow your dream” can lead to too many career changes and never really being good enough at anything to find fulfillment in it.  So Newport argues doing what you are good at for a sustained time perpetuates the motivation and passion.  That is definitely true for me.  And you can still find motivation in tasks you don’t like.  For example, I attempted to play piano, taking courses for 3 semesters, and never really got a flow.  Now I can’t get motivated to start up again.  But the motivation in beginning again lies in remembering why I started in the first place (my love of music and a desire to start making it myself).  

I work with human beings.  My students motivate me as I strive to give them my best, and, by extension, the best education I can give.  Two students stayed after class to talk, and on parting I thanked them for helping me with this blog.  And the response was, thanks for listening.  So in closing, I think the strongest motivating factor is the relationships we build.  Not just the surface relationship, but truly caring about another’s successes and failures, ups and downs.  I try to remind students often they are the reason I am here; their success is my purpose, my job, and my ultimate goal.  That’s motivation.

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