“A satisfactory life is a win. Success is not a present. You must work for it."
In the following article, the firsts three paragraphs aim to explain through concepts and personal connections the importance of being motivated. And the last four points are recommendations by Dr. Fuster to stay motivated. If you don’t have time jump directly to four last points.
When I was a kid, I used to believe that life was a cycle in which I fluctuated between different stages. Some days I felt happy but other days I felt like the world was falling apart. I remember sitting down in my mom’s apartment and creating what I called “El Cercle de la Vida – The Life Cycle” as I sought for an explanation of my changing mood. At the time, I had a black Moleskin notebook and one day I draw a cycle that resembled the graph of a highly volatile security. The y-axis represented my level of happiness and the x-axis symbolized time. Later, the graph evolved and it became what I called “The Cycle”. It portrayed the different feelings that I had over time. I referred back to it for a period, as it was a tool that helped me explain how I felt at a given moment. It made sense that it was not possible to always be on top of my shit and the cycle was a great graphical way to represent it. Eventually, I stopped using the cycle because like many other good habits in life, it slipped away. Time passed and I forgot about the cycle… But last summer I read “El Cercle de la motivacio” by Valenti Fuster and the cycle came back to my life.
Dr. Fuster presents life as a cycle in which we move between four different stages: satisfaction, passivity, motivation and frustration. The book focuses on the motivation part of the cycle because he thinks - and I strongly agree - that being motivated is necessary in order to happily find our place in the world. We must act when we are satisfied to prevent our satisfaction from slipping away - which as a Spaniard can be hard to understand because I have grown up in a culture that advocates in favor of putting the minimum effort into things. However, I strongly agree with the idea that we must be motivated in order to be happy and feel complete. Following, I want to share my process of learning such an important way of living life.
I always failed at following the crowd. Growing up, I had an obsession with being different; I hated to fit in. And most of the time I was the outlier. Eventually, I moved to the States to attend boarding school – Westtown - a Quaker school in the middle of PA. It was a big change, I never adjusted to their way of life but I received a religious education that taught me the importance of spirituality. Back then, the cycle was an important part of me and I focused my motivation on being accepted to a top tier university, which eventually happened. Simultaneously, I aimed to make big bucks and as I returned from boarding school I promoted parties in Barcelona. I was in the motivation stage of the cycle but as time passed and I achieved my goals I settled down into the passivity stage.
Eventually, I slacked because I had forgotten my goals and as I lacked a purpose in life; I went from the passivity stage to the frustration part of the cycle. From there, it took me 18 months to get fully back into the motivation part of the cycle. Currently, I am working to stay satisfied and striving to experience new things that help me discover my vocation and what I want to devote my life to. I now understand that it is fine to lack goals or a purpose in life but it is not okay not to search for them. Therefore, we must always be in the motivation stage of the cycle and strive to become better every day. The following 4 tips are given by Dr. Valenti Fuster with the aim to help you always stay in the motivation stage of your cycle.
1. Time for Reflexion:
“If we don’t think how we live; we will soon think how we are living."
• Set 15 minutes aside everyday to think about your priorities and put your agenda in order. During that time, consider your best options and evaluate the different paths that you can take to reach your goals.
• Run away from the noise that the crowd generates because it allows you to focus on your own path. Do this by practicing reflection, to avoid running around like a headless chicken.
2. Talent to Discover:
“Choose a job that you are passionate about and you will not have to work a day in your life."
• Find an equilibrium between your opportunities and talents. Everyone has an inner talent. And you must strive to discover your vocation and devote your time to it. If you aren’t sure about your vocation, try new things. Do not settle until you find your vocation.
• Non-Profit work can be extremely helpful in helping you figure out what you want in life and what your vocation is. Be sure to devote some of your free time to it.
3. Transmit Optimism:
“Giving up is not an option. Just keep going.”
• Surround yourself with optimistic people and listen to their advice. At the same time, feed others with optimism and guidance. You must be optimistic to stay motivated. The journey is hard and life is not an easy one to tackle but positivity enables the best of you to come out.
• Being able to adapt in different situations is key. Everything can be overcome, just fight for it but keep in mind that out of suffering the strongest souls have merged “The most massive character are seared with tears”.
“Without acceptance, it is impossible to win. Seek for help during the hard times."
• Life is a group project and alone you won’t get too far. It is essential to find a mentor that gives you advice. Also, seek for advice because whatever you are going through, you are not the first one. Someone has gone a similar path before and the voice of experience can be really helpful when figuring out the right direction to take.
• Share what you learn with others. Your knowledge will be valuable to someone else. Also, it will make you happy to give back as it is equally important as receiving.