Controlling the Moment

It is natural as an MBBS student to constantly search for sources of motivation to start studying. Exams are frequent and the pressure to perform hovers at a respectable height.

I have found most sources of motivation to be useless in the long run. When I consume motivational content for the first time, it seems infallible. But the problem is that it doesn’t last long.

I have found most sources of motivation to be useless in the long run.

On the other hand replacing content as source of motivation with action has been more fruitful. Motivation often follows interest. And interest requires a certain nidus of information for you to be invested into. Without a forceful study session that injects the mind with things to think about, this effectively becomes a chicken and egg problem. Just one forceful study session establishes the chicken and the subsequent eggs and chickens follow naturally.

In a few days such a habit also yields discipline. An added bonus further securing your motivation. Interest, discipline and motivation thus become three spokes of a wheel which keep oscillating with even a single one capable enough to pull back the others when depleted.

Interest, discipline and motivation thus become three spokes of a wheel which keep oscillating with even a single one capable enough to pull back the others when depleted.

I have also observed a generalized tendency of distractions to be domain non-specific. As in, me dropping a study session to watch football increases the probability of dropping an adjacent study session or at least compromising it to do something completely different like watching documentaries on YouTube.

Interest driven motivation is susceptible to exponential degradation following failure of singular objectives. For interest driven motivation, it seems, evil begets more evil.

For interest driven motivation, it seems, evil begets more evil.

This particular problem is tackled by sprinkling discipline into the mix. And given that discipline arises only as a consequence of sustained interest, it is essential to incubate a good habit from distractions in its initial stage. Deliberately reducing distractions help in forming a habit and makes it harder to break the streak.

…it is essential to incubate a good habit from distractions in its initial stage.

After you have built up a quantitatively appreciable record of following a habit, continuing it and experimenting with it becomes much safer. For now, you have cruised through the stages of interest and discipline to the save haven of compulsion. Honestly, what more can you ask for?

Summary

  • Don’t wait to start.
  • Try to get interested first.
  • Avoid distractions till you build up a decent streak (at least a week).
  • Discipline follows sustained interest.
  • Continue till it becomes a compulsion and minor distractions don’t derail you.

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