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

Finding Snippets of Silver

Social media has created increased pressure to depict a pristine lifestyle at all times. Even though we all know that life is never all sunshine and rainbows. Here, in Singapore, there is very little light shed on mental illness or anything of that sort. We tend to believe that the brain is an organ that we have control over, that you can control your thoughts and actions. This is true to a certain extent. More often than not, we are at the mercy of our thoughts and like the heart, it is an organ that is constantly working on its own.

Many Asian households tend to instill this habit of showing your best and putting the best face on for the rest of the world. There is a tendency to sweep problems under the rug and pretend that it doesn’t exist, praying that eventually they will go away. It’s true in my family and the relationships that I have in my life. The whole mindset strikes a bad cord in me and it’s something that I fight against every day.

 

Why is it so wrong to admit our problems?

 

Negativity

Singaporeans are notorious for being overly negative and complaining a lot. I have grown up in a society that is constantly in discontent. We are always very vocal about how unhappy we are with one thing or another. As frivolous as this may seem, it does impact the mindset of millennials who fixate on the negative and feel entitled to the good. You would think that this means that we are open to listening to people’s problems but this is where society draws a fine line. We love commiserating and blowing steam on shared topics, not on individual ones. It is taboo to air your “dirty laundry” or talk about them in an open manner. It is considered rude and self-centred, which boggles my mind. Who do you turn to, to discuss your own personal struggles? More often than not, you are encouraged to find a solution for yourself.

 

Isolation

Which brings me to the point about having friends and a support system. This system is often botched by the false self-centred notions that I was talking about previously. We think our friends have their own problems to deal with. They are busy with their own lives and when we do have time to spend together, these are precious hours that you wouldn’t want to ruin with your personal problems. Thus, even with a close group of friends, ultimately we are incredibly isolated. No one knows who anyone really is. Life here is so fast paced that we often forget to check up on our friends and loved ones. Meanwhile, those friends and loved ones are too afraid to reach out and they end up feeling neglected. It’s a vicious cycle.

 

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Catharsis

Being isolated, it is important to be comfortable on your own. Remind yourself that negligence is not personal, it is a way of life. We can’t solve everything on our own, but we can manage them. Finding a project or activity that is cathartic is important. When there seems to be no outlet for the negativity, find one that creates something positive for you. Be it working out, meditation or retail therapy. Writing is a cathartic experience for me and I have written journals, poetry and prose since I was 10 years old. As I grew older, I would kick it up a notch and create projects such as my self-published book, “The Unorthodox Cat Lady”, where you can clearly see instances of me releasing my negativity in the pages. Not everything that comes out of negativity is ugly, sometimes they push you to create or experience the most rewarding things.

 

Digging Yourself Out of It

When you are stuck in a rut, it is very easy to wallow. To prevent yourself from falling deeper into that hole, you have to acknowledge your feelings, release them in some form or other and then try to climb your way out of it. This is the most difficult step to execute on your own. Most times however, you are on your own. Realistically, it is difficult to reach out in an open manner without inciting judgement. Hence, I think it is equally important to find ways to climb out of that negative headspace by yourself. Leaving positive reminders is one way that I think helps. These reminders can come in the form of quotes, photos, even scents that evoke positive memories for you. Recently, I have started creating visual diaries of simple everyday things that to me are poignant and evoke positive feelings. They remind me of good times and I will watch them whenever things get rough.

 

My life is not exciting in the least, so everything is very ordinary. But I think it’s important to find joy in the ordinary. I truly enjoyed the entire process of making these videos and want to make more of them, even if they don’t turn out amazing. Sometimes, logging memories down into words is not enough. They need to be relived.

 

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