Mustering Motivation

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Let’s talk about something people rarely talk about: Motivation. To me, motivation isn’t just a means to work harder or in the wise words of Pokemon, “To be the very best that no one ever was.” Motivation is so much more than that. It is drive, passion but most of all, it’s part of staying sane and waking up in the morning with a sense of purpose.

Be it a fitness routine you recently started or a job that you took up. Staying motivated in life, in general, can be a tough thing. Mostly because getting motivated isn’t the hard part, being consistent is the issue.

I don’t want to talk about motivation in relation to a specific thing. Instead, I want to talk about staying motivated to keep going against all odds. The motivation to get out of bed and do something without someone telling you to do so. In simple terms, to be able to find reasons to do something continuously which essentially, to me, is being motivated to continue living life to the fullest.

This is particularly tough, if like me, you are facing a trying period in your life where it’s so easy to just give up, be a sloth and permanently fuse your body to the bed.

 

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Giving Up

Giving up doesn’t necessarily mean failure. Sometimes, accepting your fate and falling into a routine that doesn’t make you feel fulfilled is also giving up. Settling for any aspect of your life and accepting things as they are without the urge to fight for something more can be a form of giving up and falling into an imposturous rut.

This is possibly the hardest thing to do. Because fighting for something is the most tiring thing to do. And it is so easy to just wave that white flag and surrender. Be it a new diet plan or in my case, finding an occupation in a field that I love, sticking to the plan and continuing with the fight everyday takes not just a physical toll, but a mental one. Often times I find myself thinking, “I should just forget this.” and it takes double the effort when you are faced with a setback or rejection.

I say this to myself as much as I say this to you guys, “Don’t give up.” Giving up is not an option. Don’t even consider it. Put on your horse blinders and keep looking forward. If you give that thought even the time of day, it will stick to you. And it’s a bitch to shake it off. Trust me. I’ve been there.

 

Disregard the External

Millennials tend to be obsessed with new age careers. I get asked several times if I am planning to “make it” as a YouTuber or a blogger, making it my career. People tend to assume things and pass judgements without bothering to hear the whole story. I get so annoyed and distracted by the opinions of others that it ends up affecting my mood and outlook on things.

For the record, I think YouTubers and bloggers are awesome. I consume their content like a voracious animal, starved for days. I am constantly on the internet, watching Youtube videos and reading blog posts about all things. Despite all that, I don’t idolise them nor aspire to be one of them. I love how creative some creators are and they inspire me, but never will I strive to be exactly like them.

Therefore, with the start of me writing on this site and then later, creating some vlogs, many think that I trying to make a livelihood out of this. In actuality, this is genuinely something that I enjoy doing for fun and is an outlet for my creativity.

Nevertheless, I still get affected when people judge my content with the assumption that this is my hustle, rather than enjoy it for what it is. Don’t let external factors drive your motivation. Do it for yourself. I keep doing what I love regardless negative feedback I get and focus on producing things I enjoy.

 

Doing Things You Love

Which brings me to this section. As cliched as it sounds, the best way to stay motivated is to find the things that you love in the grand master scheme of things. Whether its your fitness routine or learning a new language. Just life in general, it’s good to just find even the smallest of pleasures in daunting tasks.

Going back to my point on YouTubers and bloggers, I always look to them as a source inspiration, fuelling ideas and potential projects. For instance, I am constantly inspired by HeyClaire and Will Darbyshire’s videos. They make me want to learn more and do something productive, on top of whatever mundane thing I have to do that day.

Collabing and meeting people who have similar interests allows you to feed and bounce off their energy. Recently, I said yes to a shoot with Khai from @fittysense. The old me would’ve said no for fear of screwing up or listening to my insecurities. Instead, we ended up taking some cool shots and talking about different artistic directions we might explore. Bouncing ideas is one of the things I love most about the creative process and thus gave me a huge boost in motivation.

 

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Ultimately, I realise that this is a fluid subject. Being motivated can pertain to a career, a new lifestyle or working towards a personal goal. To some, it is required just to get out of bed in the morning. To me, it is staying sane, finding purpose in what you do. Whether that purpose aligns with the world, it doesn’t mater. As long as you find a purpose in it. That’s all that matters. And that purpose, be it happiness or self-improvement, will keep you going against all odds.

Photos by Khairulazmas

Instagram : @fittysense

Briefcase Free

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Unemployment is something no one really talks about where I live, in Singapore. It’s somewhat a taboo subject. Your friends are overly positive about your prospects, because they want to encourage you and keep your spirits up. Your parents don’t know what to do with you around the house, acting like they are walking on egg shells. Everyone else who knows you otherwise  assume that you are employed elsewhere, even if you aren’t with the previous company. You have to be working for another, right?

People here think of it as a fleeting moment. Just a simple unfortunate incident that can easily be remedied.

I mean, just get another one, right?

Wrong.

I have been debating about writing more personal things on this site. Simply because no one really cares about personal experiences from someone they don’t even know. The futility of it makes this whole thing seem like a waste of time and effort. Everyone projects the false image of a perfect life, be it through conversations or social media. No one wants to talk about the horrible and real things that are going on. It’s uncomfortable and painful, so everyone, myself included, tends to avoid it.

Part of the reason, I think, is because the unemployment rates in Singapore are one of the lowest in the world. It’s at 2.1% currently. So to classify yourself under that small percentage means that you are not the norm, a failure.

 

 

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Getting it Together

Having a job and career are all wonderful things. But not when it completely defines you as a person. Humans are multi layered creatures. It’s impossible to sum someone up in just one word, their occupation. There is this mentality that growing up and being an adult means that we have to have it together all the time. We need to be walking towards a direction or goal. If, like me, you have lost sight of that goal, you need to start working towards another one quick. Wandering around aimlessly, getting your bearings is not an adult thing to do, apparently.

Even if it is subconsciously done, the people around you will start pitying you, thinking that you’re losing it. Whatever “it” may be.

A tough concept that people can’t grasp is that confiding your problems with someone doesn’t automatically mean you are soliciting sympathy. Most times, it’s just stating the current fact of the matter. There are times, when I had to tell white lies, to avoid the standard looks of concern and pity on people when they learn about my state of joblessness. Then comes the onslaught of suggestions and advice. It comes from a good place yet it feels like salt to a gaping wound. Unless mentioned specifically, most people who are unemployed do not want their unemployment to be the discussion topic for the day.

We aren’t mentally unstable. It is okay to take some time off. We will get back on the horse when we are ready. To be honest, just a simple, “You okay?” is all we need. Not a discussion on what we are doing to land a new job ASAP.

Because god forbid that we are idle for a week or two. Adults don’t do that.

 

Helplessness

Job application is a job in itself. Sifting through Linkedin and Jobstreet, looking for something that would fit you and your abilities, but still aspirational. It’s tough. Not to mention the incredible competition you face. Typing out cover letter after cover letter, hoping to stand out from the other 500 applicants vying for the same position. It’s exhausting and demoralising, especially when you don’t hear back from the companies for a while. The whole thing is a merry-go-round of waiting, hoping and searching.

The helplessness settles in. You have to stretch that dollar, everything is suddenly a financial burden. Every time your friends ask you to hang out, you think “How much is this going to cost me?”. When they offer to pay, the weight on your chest doubles. It’s hard enough that you are a financial burden to yourself, now you are one to others as well. You just can’t enjoy moments 100% because there is always something nagging at the back of your head. You miss outings and parties to scrimp on cab rides and possible shopping. You end up barely meeting anyone and you feel everyone drifting away. When, in reality, it is you that’s drifting.

 

Taking Time

What we all need to realise is that this process takes time. This is a concept that I took a while to really understand. You can get a job overnight. But will it be the right one for you? That dream job feels like it is right around the corner, yet there seems to be a giant clock ticking away plus the uncertainty of the future. In addition to the tightening of the purse strings, so much so that it’s almost strangling you. You feel as if time is running out. There is a constant battle in your head whether you should settle. Or wait?

It takes time. And you shouldn’t feel bad for taking time. It’s something I struggle with as well because I always feel guilty for not applying and rushing into any job that pops up. Especially after the crushing defeat of not hearing from the initial one I was pining for. Patience is never my virtue but it has to be. Making a timeline is a good idea. Being open to part time jobs to help tide over this rough patch is something to consider. Settling, however, is not an option. So long as you are still alive, there is time.

 

Adulting

Finally, your entire personhood and level of maturity is not defined by your occupation or whether or not you are currently have one. It plays a big part, especially if you are passionate about what you do. But your job does not define you. It isn’t your only reason to live.

I would beat myself up for not being productive, for not being a busy worker bee. I am presented with all the time in the world and for some reason, I feel guilty. All of a sudden, I am transported back in time and I feel like a child again. What I needed to realise was that actively searching for a job is part of being a mature adult. I am adulting. Even if there is no swanky office or cubicle involved, I am an adult.

 

 

Either way, being jobless does not mean that you are a failure. It isn’t shameful or something that deserves pitying looks and sorry pats on the back. It doesn’t warrant talks about “how to get you on your feet”. You don’t owe anyone explanations. You don’t have to validate your efforts. There is nothing to prove. In fact, people take time off all the time. It is normal, as crazy as that sounds. And it is important for your sanity that you internalise that. I say this to myself as much as I am saying this to you guys.

You might be in the 2% right now, but that spot is in constant rotation, just like the Earth always is. It’s temporary and it’s just another chapter in this thing called Life.

 

 

 

Photos by Josh Magbanua 

@stuntmannjosh