Digestible Notes

The Home of Student Learning
Visit Website
Hey friends!

A lot of my messages this week have been from (mostly) students asking about how to motivate themselves, especially for when it gets exam season. The quandary goes along the lines of “I know I should be studying, but some/most days I just can’t seem to find the motivation. How are you so motivated to get xyz done?”

I used to have problems with ‘motivation’. I don’t anymore, because I’ve fully internalised the notion that motivation is a myth. In fact, I think we’d all be much happier and get much more done if we scrubbed the word motivation from our vocabulary altogether.

Here’s a quote from one of my favourite articles on the subject:
Motivation, broadly speaking, operates on the erroneous assumption that a particular mental or emotional state is necessary to complete a task.

Put simply, motivation is waiting until you feel like doing something before doing it. Discipline on the other hand, is doing it regardless of how you’re feeling about it. Here’s another fun quote:
At its core, chasing motivation is insistence on the infantile fantasy that we should only be doing things we feel like doing. The problem is then framed thus: “How do I get myself to feel like doing what I have rationally decided to do?”. Bad. 
The proper question is “How do I make my feelings inconsequential and do the things I consciously want to do without being a little bitch about it?”.
I return to this article several times a year to remind myself of its paradigm-shifting lesson. I’m going to be working on a video where I dissect this concept of motivation in depth, and offer some practical suggestions about how to cultivate this thing called discipline that lets you accomplish pretty much whatever you want. In the meantime however, if you’re finding yourself lacking in motivation, please (a) read the article, and (b) attempt to remove the word motivation from your vocabulary entirely. 

These days, the only circumstance in which I let myself even think about motivation as a concept is if a friend is complaining 'aarghh I just don’t have the motivation to work right now’. If I don’t know them very well, I reply 'yeah me too lol’. If however, I know the person well, I give them an unsolicited lecture about exactly why motivation is a myth, and why/how they should be cultivating discipline. If they’re still in the room by the end of this conversation, they usually think 'wow you’re right, I shouldn’t be trying to feel like doing stuff, I should just do it!’ 

So yeah, motivation is a myth. Trying to get yourself to feel like doing something useful is a fool’s errand. A 3-year old bases their day-to-day decisions on what they feel like doing. An intelligent student/adult recognises that feeling like doing something useful should have absolutely nothing to do with whether they actually do it.

Just my two pennies on this topic for now, with a much more detailed video on its way.  

All the very best for the week ahead!

- Gareth

PS: A massive thank you to everyone who replied to last week’s email with thoughtful comments/questions/useful links. It was nice chatting to you via semi-long-form email, and it’s something that I’m always up for if you ever fancy a chat about the stuff mentioned in the newsletter / anything else tbh :) 

Latest Videos

Common Law Tracing
Variation of Trusts

Article of the Week

Certainty and Clarity in Contract Law

A contract will only be enforced if there is certainty as to what exactly the parties agreed to, although this does not mean there has to be absolute certainty to all the terms in the contract. This article explores the concept of certainty and some interesting cases on the topic. 


About Me

I’m Gareth, a teacher, YouTuber, scientist, and digital marketer from Birmingham, UK. Every Sunday I write an email newsletter with some thoughts, life lessons and interesting articles I discovered on the internet that week - plus a few extra things!
Visit Website
Make a Donation
Copyright © 2020 Digestible Notes, All rights reserved.

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Digestible Notes · Birmingham Road · Birmingham, Wor B98 0AA · United Kingdom

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp