As I was taught on some psychology or pedagogy course during one of my studies, the best one is so called “internal motivation”. But how to find it?
Ask oneself a question – “Why do I want to do this?” And then just remember the answer.
It is easier to say than to do 😛
When I was starting my PhD studies I wanted to do research useful for society. Then I faced reality and I realised that not all researchers do useful research, and even, that part of them don’t care about society at all, they care only to publish enough to receive a salary (maybe it is a problem of Polish science financing system, and parameterisation). Researchers who believe that their job is “for something” are in minority. Fortunately I was lucky to meet some of them 🙂
And it was like a general motivation to start a research/ academic career. When I think about it I have also this post “How To Feel Fulfilled: Tools From Aristotle (or Ari as I call him)” of Karen Salmansohn in my mind.
I always have been a curious person, in first classes of a primary school, when I already could read, I was reading “Dictionary of Foreign Words”, and I likeed especially Latin sentences in the end – this one I still remember: “Fervet olla, vivit amicitia” (While the pot boils, friendship endures). I like asking questions, and trying to find a way to answer them. I am precise in my work and I care about details. I also like teaching (what is a part of working at an University), I like sharing knowledge, I like sharing what I already learned by myself, or what someone taught me. And when I was reading Karen Salmansohn post I asked myself if doing research and teaching are things which I do best… If I feel this excitement, satisfaction, fulfilment… It is hard to say now… I haven’t had yet really “my courses and students”, in Bremen I was assisting two course and it was very enriching experience, and for sure I was feeling happy sharing my knowledge and experiences with them, and I was happy for their successes 🙂 With my previous research/ articles it was diversely – this one which were internally initiated and I was very curious and interested in topics I was feeling very engaged in the process, and satisfied, and excited doing them. Some of my research/ articles were externally initiated (by my supervisor or someone else) and if topic wasn’t exactly in area of my interest and intension was more like “publish something” I was going to be quickly exhausted with a work…
To write my PhD thesis and obtain PhD degree I have also more practical motivation – then I can be independent researcher, apply for a real researcher position (not be just a student). To gain this aim I need to devote time, energy, care about self-development, also invest some money (for example to pay conference fee, which is not paid by my Polish University, or to buy books), try new things, engage in different activities, meet and talk with people etc. It is not one-dimensional activity. When I think about it I have one of my Bremen-students in my mind. Once we were talking about self-development, motivation and all this stuff, and he told me shortly his story, and shared this video “Arnold Schwarzenegger – Success Motivational Speech” with me:
I found it very motivating, and practical 😉 And when I feel unmotivated to do any of this intermediate-steps to obtain my PhD degree, and to start researcher career, and in the end to do useful research, I have my student in mind and I think “I want to be like Schwarzenegger” and reach my goal 🙂
And then everyday life comes and we need to have an everyday motivation to wake up in the morning and go to our office, wherever it is, and spend hours writing in the front of a computer, and don’t let distractions to defeat us (about distractions I was writing here What have I done with distractions?). To be frank – not all of our tasks are so fascinating, for example data collection and processing takes hours/ days/ weeks and it is just staring at columns of numbers and copying them, checking, pasting etc. In such cases I support myself with some energetic music, which is somehow nicely connected with my Friends, or my Husband, or with some funny moments in my life, or I just like it for another reason. If anything else doesn’t work, I can recommend this video Shia LaBeouf “Just Do It” Motivational Speech (Original Video)
I received it from my Husband – it is funny, makes me smille, and after watching it there is only one possibility: “JUST DO IT!”
http://notsalmon.com/ – Karen Salmansohn website
www.youtube.com/watch?v=tclI52KPiIA – Arnold Schwarzenegger – Success Motivational Speech
www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXsQAXx_ao0 – Shia LaBeouf “Just Do It” Motivational Speech (Original Video)