When I was a Ph.D. student working on my own dissertation, I went to the university writing center for help and had a revelatory experience. The person working with me sat down with the first page of my introduction and effectively dissected it to identify the problems without understanding any of my technical jargon. They did this by reading aloud as we discussed, substituting blank/nonsense words for every piece of jargon, e.g.:
Here we apply method X to determine whether adjective thingies can be made to wibble.
This type of substitution forces you to step back from the technical world that you have dedicated so much time and love to, and understand your narrative---or lack thereof.
In your motivation, you need to take a couple of steps back and ask: why does anybody care about additive-finite measure space ("frobs") and how it relates to the space of mu-integrable functions ("greebit-space") or a stochastic process ("wibbling").
You didn't pick these elements at random. There must be some reason why you picked them and how they relate to the bigger community. Are they intended to solve a puzzle that a lot of people care about? Or a small piece of such a puzzle? Do they unite two sets of concepts that people thought were different? Will they help understand string theory or give better tools for interpreting MRI imaging?
You want to be able to write something like this:
People have wondered about how to better understand frobs ever since Richard Feynman first used them to pick the locks in Los Alamos. Although X, Y, and Z attempts have been made, none of them got very far because they were all green-colored. In this dissertation, I examine an alternate path, reducing the problem of frobs to the simpler system of greebit-space by means of an innovative application of wibbling. These results bring us one step closer to solving the problem of frobs, and how they can be better used to quickly and cheaply pick locks.
Now, what I've written is pure gibberish, and your motivation will almost certainly be much longer. The point, however, is this: your goal in a motivation section is to motivate by explaining that there is a problem that people care about and that you have an approach that gives at least a piece of the solution. Explain it in a way that your jargon can just be placeholders in the reader's mind, and it will be fine to leave the complex definitions for later.
answered May 4 '15 at 14:02
When it comes to getting results, it takes motivation and ability.
Motivation makes things happen.
Where there’s no will, there’s no way. One of the best ways to improve your personal effectiveness is to master your motivation and find your drive.
If you can master motivation, you can deal with life’s setbacks, as well as inspire yourself to always find a way forward, and create new experiences for yourself, and follow your growth.
In this post, I’ll demystify motivation and give you the motivation tools that really work.
1. Connect to your values.
This is the ultimate secret. If you can connect the work you do to your values, even in small ways, you can change your game.
One of my values is learning and growth.
I find ways to grow my skills in any situation. For example, I don’t just “call back a customer.” I “win a raving fan.” I don’t just “do a task.” I “master my craft.” I don’t just “get something done.” I “learn something new.”
2. Find your WHY.
Figure out a compelling purpose. Turn this into a one-liner.
For example, when I fall off the horse, I remind myself I’m here to “make others great.” This gets me back on track, sharing the best of what I know.
3. Change your WHY.
Sometimes you’re doing things for the wrong reason. Are you doing that task to get it done, or to learn something new? Just shifting your why can light your fire.
4. Change your HOW.
You can instantly find your tasks more enjoyable by shifting from getting them done, to doing them right.
I think of it as mastering your craft. Make it artful.
Sometimes slower is better. Other times, the key is to make it a game and actually speed it up. You can set time limits and race against the clock. Changing your how can get you out of ruts and find new ways to escape the mundane.
5. Remember the feeling.
Flipping through your head movies and scenes is one of the fastest ways to change how you feel.
Remember the feeling. How did you feel during your first kiss? What about laying on the grass on a sunny day?
When you feel good, you find your motivation faster.
6. Shift to past, present or the future.
Sometimes you need to be here, now. Sometimes, the right here, right now sucks. The beauty of shifting tense is you can visualize a more compelling future, or remember a more enjoyable past.
At the same time, if you catch yourself dwelling on a painful past, get back to right here, right now, and find the joy in the moment.
You’ll improve your temporal skills with practice.
7. Find a meaningful metaphor.
Find a metaphor that fuels you. Maybe you’re the “Little Engine that Could.” Maybe you’re “in your element.”
The most powerful thing you can do is find a metaphor that connects to your values. This is why I turn my projects into “epic adventures.”
8. Take action.
Here’s a secret that once you know it, can change your life. Action often comes before motivation.
You simply start doing an activity and then your motivation kicks in. Nike was right with “Just do it.” For example, I don’t always look forward to my workout, but once I start, I find my flow.
9. Link it to good feelings.
Find a way to link things to good feelings. For example, play your favorite song when you’re doing something you don’t like to do.
It has to be a song that makes you feel so great that it overshadows the pain of the task. It’s hard to tell yourself you don’t like something when it feels so good.
A similar approach is to find your theme song.
10. Impress yourself first.
This is how people like Peter Jackson or James Cameron or Stephenie Meyer inspire themselves. They make the movies or write the books that impress themselves first. They connect their passion to the work and they don’t depend on other people setting the bar. Their internal bar becomes their drive.
11. “CHOOSE” to.
If you tell yourself you “HAVE” to do this or you “MUST” do that or you “SHOULD” do this, you can weaken your motivation.
The power of choice and simply reframing your language to “CHOOSE” to can be incredibly empowering and exactly the motivating language you need to hear. Choose your words carefully and make them work for you.
12. Pair up.
This is one of my favorite ways to make something fun. One person’s painful task, is another’s pleasure. Pair up with somebody who complements your skill or who can mentor you and get you over the humps.
13. Change your question.
Sometimes you need to change your focus. To change your focus, change the question.
If you ask yourself what’s wrong with this situation, of course you’ll find things to complain about. Ask yourself what’s right about the situation and you can quickly find the positives and get your groove on.
14. Fix time for eating, sleeping and working out.
Sometimes your body or emotions are working against you because you’re not giving them a break or fueling them the right way.
One simple way to improve results here is to find a routine for eating, sleeping, and moving or working out that supports you.
15. Play to your strengths.
Spending too much time in your weaknesses wears you down. Spending more time in your strengths helps you renew your energy and find your flow.
Strengths are the place where you can grow your best. Find the things that you can do all day that you really enjoy and find excuses throughout your day to do more of that. Success builds on itself and this helps you build momentum.
Try out the motivation techniques to see what works for you.
At the end of the day, all motivation really comes down to self-motivation, and you get better at motivation by building your self-awareness.
Learn how to push your own buttons from the inside out.
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This piece originally appeared on Sources of Insight