Motivation Through Discipline

(Go to the 5th paragraph if you wanna skip the lead-up introductory story and jump straight to the point)

Last night, loneliness struck me out of nowhere. The feeling of it was intense and I think it may have been due to the fact I just finished my monthly cycle and was also starting a new birth control prescription. If I had been at home when it happened, no big deal. But I was at Gamer’s place and I was stuck between bursting out in tears in front of him and venting the shit out of my feelings, or keeping it in and quietly willing for the loneliness to pass.

Unfortunately, the first scenario happened in a… less than conventional way. It was nearing 2am and we were lying in bed watching a gameplay of Heroes of Might and Magic on his laptop. Long story short: I silently cried to myself and kept telling Gamer I was alright (he knew immediately something was up and kept asking if I was sure everything was okay) for about an hour. But finally, he caught up with me and went all “Are you crying?? What’s wrong? Tell me, you butt.” And you know how it goes. When someone asks what’s wrong or if you’re crying, you fucking cry like a broken fire hydrant.

At that point, I was still lying on his arm, but facing away from him. (I said my nose was stuffy on one side, which it was – from crying, ha.) He started comforting me while I was still facing away from him, holding onto his arm like a koala, and trying to gather my words together through the crying.

But after a few moments, I finally told him what was up with me and, maybe it was because it was the late hours of the night, I told him much more than just the loneliness. I told him how I often felt insecure and how I had trouble really believing people cared about me since my relationship with my douche of an ex. (I couldn’t continue from the crying, but I meant to say that it often feels like people just come to me when they need something.) I even told him that I thought one flaw of mine was that I get attached very easily and that one day it’s probably gonna ruin me. I said it pretty vaguely so perhaps Gamer thought I meant in general how being attached will ruin me. But deep down, I meant with him. I knew that one day (in who knows how many years from now), he’s going to permanently move back to California and my being attached is certainly going to make letting it go difficult. But I suppose that’s another problem for another distant day.

Anyway, my point of this post is that Gamer was very insightful while he held me and patted my head comfortingly. He told me that if I set goals and ambitions for myself in life and work toward those, then pretty soon little things like caring about how other people see me or such will just become minor things that I can shrug off. He opened up too and told me that when he first moved to Boston, shortly after his hard breakup with his ex of four years, he cared a lot about how other people saw him and he would try hard to validate himself through other people. But soon, work goals took over and now that that is his number 1 priority, he finds people naturally come to him more now because of how real he’s being with himself and in life in general.

I don’t really… act differently or try hard to validate myself through other people (I don’t even reach out to people much to be honest), but I certainly see what he was saying. I opened up some more saying that I have these big goals and dreams in my mind, but I lack motivation and drive.

And here, Gamer said that this is where discipline comes into play. He is a person who naturally has drive and motivation, but if one doesn’t have those aspects, then they need to practice discipline. Discipline yourself into working hard toward your ambitions, but take slow steps. Each day, start with dedicating maybe 30 minutes of your time to researching your potential career or working on your large life goals, and soon enough the discipline will turn into a habit.

It opened my eyes and I realize today that yeah, I might not have instinctive motivation inside me, but that doesn’t mean I wait around for the drive to show up. I need to work on making myself better. And I have to start one little step at a time.

Who knows, everyone, maybe now is the time when I change myself for the better. I vow to become a stronger, independent person and to focus on the important things in life.

We talked for a long time, but when we wrapped the chat session up it was about 4:30am. To be honest, I don’t know what’s going to happen between Gamer and me, but if we continue to stay as ‘friends’ and not take things to the next level… I’ll be okay with that. And then when the time comes where he has to go back home forever, perhaps I’ll have changed and be strong enough to not be so devastated by his leaving.

Positive Push

As we all (hopefully all by now) know, I love writing. I live for writing. I love writing various things from short stories to poetry to critical essays.

Of course, for school we submit different types of writing and then get our grades and feedback on them. Constructive criticism is great – it helps me improve and know where and what to fix. But one of my favorite English teachers of all time always gave me only positive feedback and no criticism at all – despite not correcting obvious grammatical errors I may have overlooked from time to time. On separate occasions he even suggested I submit the writing pieces (several poetry pieces and an article) to journals or newspapers to see if they’d get accepted.

It’s… nice. It’s nice to get positive feedback. I know some people are probably fueled with motivation to do better if someone tells them a negative thing, like my mom. My mom is one of those people who has the “I’ll show them how good I am!” attitude. But I’m the opposite. I tend to do much better when I receive positive feedback. That’s not to say I don’t like constructive criticism. Constructive criticism most certainly helps me and I don’t dislike it at all, but I definitely love positive feedback better.

For me, my mindset toward constructive criticism is “oh okay, now I know where to improve and what to do next time,” whereas my mindset toward positive feedback is “oh yay! I did well. Now I’m more confident in my writing and feel like I can do anything!” That’s the type of feedback that pushes me to do well and better (no, the positiveness doesn’t get to my head nor do I become arrogant haha).

My English teacher did that, and I’ve never felt so confident about my writing over the year (I had him for two semesters). I’m very grateful to him and I actually still have all the papers/works that he gave back. I like to read them over from time to time if I need an extra push on a certain day.

It’s great :) What fuels you guys?