Motivation (or lack thereof)

I’m really at a loss here, and have been for quite some time. I don’t know how to motivate myself.

Anyone who’s gone to school with me can attest that I’m not a big fan of doing work. Even as far back as elementary school I can recall not doing my homework. My parents gifted me with the knack for “efficiency”; I always did the minimum amount of work necessary to achieve above-averageness. Occasionally my strategy would fail when it came to subjects which required long-term planning – month/semester-long science project in elementary school and junior high, as well as book reports in high school (One Hundred Years of Torture comes to mind). If the class had enough other little tasks then I would still maintain a passable grade, but if not I’d fail the class. The situation improved as I grew older (I think this is evidence of a failed school system, really) and I cruised to an EE degree, with gliding-colors. There’s even an apparent feedback mechanism built into my exertion of minimum effort: going from my fairly competitive private high school to college presented a drop in difficulty, and I shot to pretty good grades my first semester, only to fall back to the ground in semester two. What had kept me going through school? Well the passage of time, really. I was never driven to excel, but for the brief moments when certain sections sparked my interest.

Fast forward a few years and here I am mired again in mediocrity. It’s really not a good feeling, when I’m cruising, but apparently it’ll take more than boredom to lift me to higher places. Like in school, I’m not unmotivated because I’m already at the pinnacle of my trade; nor am I unable to tackle whatever problem that is being presented. It’s just… there’s no driving force.

People work for money; well I make enough to support my hobbies and traveling, but at the ridonculous real estate prices in Taipei, I’d have to go without the gadgets and food and travel for 20 years to buy a crumbling 30-year-old apartment. It’s quite a daunting task. It’s like “stomp on this ant to win a pack of kleenex. Good. Now defeat Bahamut with a wet noodle and three pieces of silky smooth tofu”. Honestly, where’s the fun in that? Ok, what else is there? Am I interested in my job? It’s tons better than eating cardboard, I’ll tell you that. But it’s not something that drives my interest more than treasure-hunting in D3, and I haven’t even touched D3 for like two weeks already. I could look for a job that aligned better with my interests, but of course no one is paying for blogging about my uneventful life and self-pity.

Right now I think I’m driven by a responsibility to my job, no more, no less. And that is only enough to settle in mediocrity like a fat guy on his couch. What motivates you to excel? What motivates you to give up sleep for work? Is it the carrot or the stick?

3 thoughts on “Motivation (or lack thereof)

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