Speaking about medical school, studying, out school activities, health and organizing my future, there is one question I get asked quite frequently: How do you get motivated to do all that stuff?
My answer to how I get motivated is that I don’t.
Before starting medical school, I was the kind of person who searched for any spark of motivation all the time. I looked up motivational quotes and speeches and watched my favourite “aspiring-doctor-medical-journey-interviews and movies. Youtube was my best friend for motivational resource in the morning, just before studying for the medical school entrance exam or even in my first and second Uni year. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve watched JK Rowling or Steve Jobs speeches they gave in Harvard and Stanford University or watched movies like Patch Adams, Gifted Hands or The Pursuit of Happiness (the most cliché, I know!).
The ironic part of this story is – as I was looking for motivation to start studying, or going to the gym or changing my diet or whatsoever, I was not doing anything but procrastinating.
When med school started to get very, very intense, I soon realised that motivation isn’t the main source of success and productivity.
Motivation is incredibly unstable and unpredictable. It is based on emotions and how we feel on a certain day. It’s so easy to wake up and just not feeling it. In addition to that, I feel like motivation need to be feed every single second, it runs out energy so fast.
Lets be honest, if you imagine having a scale in front of you and you get the task of putting every day you felt generously motivated to full fill your tasks on one side and compare it to the weight of unmotivated days on the other side, how does your scale look like?
Feeling that little high of motivation every now and then which gives you that exciting tingle is amazing. But I think that relaying your life on that and let your emotions controlling you is not working out, at least for me.
So after a while, I came to the conclusion that my answer to the question I get asked all the time mentioned earlier is: I’m disciplined.
While I think that it is super necessary to have a long-term motivation behind something you do, adapting your habits and working on being disciplined about them to get closer to your actual goal every single day is key. Discipline is much more manageable and after some hard work and repetition, stable. It just runs. When you are truly disciplined about something you do, there is not a lot of time to overthinking it. You do it, because you are used to it.
Overthinking stops from doing. Relaying on motivation as the base of my actions in the past, I feel like I got that few seconds of overthinking every single time I had to do something which determined everything. But with discipline, I find less overthinking and more structure in my daily life and there is less self control required after developing a certain habit and doing it automatically. It may cost a lot of effort and work to build up habits that serve you to reach your goals and full fill your longterm motivation, but once you got them moving, they move, and you can steer your habits in the direction you need.