That question is the subject of books, TV shows and everything else in between. And now it’s the subject of my 50th blog post. Yep I have written 49 blog posts about everything from why Disney remade The Lion King to the state of British and American politics. I’ve written personal pieces before but this is probably going to be the most personal thing I will write about on this blog. Because the question for me is what motivates me to better myself in a professional sense. There’s lots I can and am doing (yes Mum I am actually doing them!) to better myself personally, improving my diet, cutting down on the amount of sugar I take in ( and trust me, there’s a lot to get rid of), to do some regular exercise and get myself in better shape for someone my age and height. But professionally I’m stuck.
My ambition is to be a journalist or a writer of some kind. I have the basic qualifications to be able to show to interviewers and on my CV and I have good qualifications from my education, which if you’re interested went to 6th form. I did go to university for a year at Dundee to study for a joint MA in History and Politics (yeah, check me out). But I dropped out at the end of the academic year and returned home. Now I’ve considered the question of why I didn’t take to life at university a lot since I came home. My sister was able to adjust extremely well and worked her arse off to achieve a very good degree, she even met the man she’s going to marry. So why didn’t I? I was going to study in subjects that I really enjoy and am interested in. I was going to be staying in Dundee, a lovely city in a country I love and have great affinity for. And in the end, I think the answer is fairly simple.
I simply wasn’t mature enough to motivate myself to get up and do the work necessary, something I was guilty of at school and 6th form but where I always had my parents or my teachers on my case to make sure my work was done on time and to a standard that reflected my abilities. I give my heartfelt thanks to all those who have ever given me a kick up the arse to get on with it and get the bloody work done. But at university, I didn’t have an external motivator. Tutors and lecturers left it to you to make sure the work was done and handed in on time. My parents were 400 miles away. That’s a bit far to shout even for exasperated parents. I was barely mature enough to buy myself food and to eat regularly. Family members will remember the outcome of that. And so I came home, unsure of where to go, what to do and I’ll admit, rather scared.
Over the last few years though, I have found my way again and I do have internals motivations. I am motivated by the fact that I earn money from my job to go to watch Chelsea whenever I can, because I want to and I have the means to buy a ticket. I’m motivated to pay car insurance and repay my mum for the car itself because of the freedom it gives me to travel where I want and need to go. I’m motivated to lose some excess fat around my stomach and improve my diet, partly because I don’t want to have a paunch at my sister’s wedding and because it will improve my health to do so. I’m motivated to learn a new song on the guitar because I get a sense of achievement when I nail it. I write this blog because I’m motivated to voice my opinions and thoughts and be an active participant in the world around, to be engaged and switched on.
But those are all personal. What motivates me at a professional level? Well, I like to think I can write news stories (in fact I have. I did some work experience at two local papers and had stories published in each one with a byline with my name on it.) I’ve wanted to work in a job that involved some sort of writing or journalism since I was about fourteen and I don’t want to give up on it having worked to achieve the pre-entry diploma for journalism. And quite honestly, I don’t want to be bored with what I do to earn money. I want to be engaged and passionate about what I’m doing, because if you enjoy and are passionate about what you’re doing, you’ll feel much more of an urge to do it well. Reporting accurate and unbiased news is an important job to be done in our society so we can make our own conclusions and hold those who make decisions on our behalf to account, to remind ourselves that power ultimately lies with the common man. Opinion columns are important as well, as long as differing views are given equal representation in the press to show the breadth of opinion and show that they are all valid and deserve discussion and debate. Opinion writing is essentially what this whole website has become. I write my opinion on a wide range of topics. Now I control the content on this site but I know others may not agree with me and that’s absolutely fine. I would never condemn someone for having different opinions to mine.
Motivation is a difficult thing to talk about. I think some of those self help and self motivational books do a disservice to those truly lost or stuck at a crossroads, unsure which road to turn towards, let alone walk down. Being a teenager or young adult is never easy. You’re wondering where you fit in. But in the end, you should be motivated by what makes you happy and by what gives you a sense of real achievement. I’m not there yet. I hope to be in the near future. I’ll let you know what happens.