This week I’ve got a BIG question for you, one that’s going to help you identify what you truly want in life. I know, I know – a big ask, right?
Buckle up for this minisode as I’ll be offering a simple way to reconnect to your studying motivation. Stick this minisode in your ears and you’ll walk away with a stronger foundation of passion and determination for your education that will serve you in your future studies.
This post originated as a podcast episode which you can listen to below or search for episode 94 of the Chloe Made Me Study podcast. Or, if you’re more of a learn-by-reading student, carry on for the rough-and-ready blog version based on the podcast script.
Ways to listen:
- Listen in the player above
- Click to listen on Apple Podcasts.
- Click to listen on Spotify.
- Click to listen on Google Podcasts.
I came across an idea a few years ago when reading Mark Manson’s book, The Subtle Art of Not Getting a Beeeeeeeep. It’s kinda captivated me ever since. And so today I’m gonna share it with you.
A common question to ask yourself, or others, is, ‘what makes you happy?’ or, ‘what do you want from life?’ But a wildly more interesting question is, ‘what are you willing to struggle for?’
You see, to have even a semi-interesting or decent life requires struggle. To have a truly great relationship requires vulnerability and difficult conversations…and likely kissing a few (or many) frogs. To have a fantastic job with a cracking salary requires rejection, long hours, long commutes, developing yourself again and again. To be super fit and healthy requires long hours working out, early mornings, sore muscles, not eating chocolate like a 10-year-old every day.
So, ultimately, our choices in life are less based on what we want and what makes us happy and more based on what we’re willing to struggle for – the discomfort, pain or hard work that we deem worthwhile to get to the good stuff.
I think this perspective can be illuminating in a few ways. Firstly, it can help you to cement your motivation and determination for the things that ARE worth your struggle – to help you keep at it even when it’s hard. Secondly, it can also help you work out if there’s something you’re NOT actually willing to struggle for, which can free you from the desire.
For example, I know plenty of people who want to own a business. But they just want the result, not the process. They want the freedom and potential to earn bucket loads of cash. They don’t want the financial insecurity of working for themselves, the longggg hours, the zero paid holiday or sick leave, or the pretty constant stress and responsibility.
I decided a few years ago that I DID want that struggle. And my decision to want the process of running a business is what’s allowed me to get to this point in the journey. Wanting the shiny result at the end of any dream is 100% not enough to get you through the challenging-as-hell journey to get there. You HAVE to accept and want the struggle too.
Let’s bring this to studying.
Plenty of people want the result, right? I have quite a few friends who want the new job opportunities and increased salary that can come from obtaining a qualification…but they’ve decided the process isn’t worth it for them right now. The money, the time, the effort, the struggle. The things they’d have to give up. And that’s OK.
I think it’s actually pretty awesome to know what you DON’T want from life…as long as you’re OK with the consequences of that.
I studied Spanish at school and loved it – could definitely hold my own during my Spanish exchange aged 15. But I’ve lost most of it. And for more than a decade after that, a few times a year I would tell myself that I wanted to learn again. That I wanted to be fluent so I could travel and feel awesome at not having to speak English.
But you know what I realised I wasn’t willing to do?
Seriously study. Work hard. I would dabble in 10 minutes of DuoLingo every now and then but what took me a long time to realise is that I don’t actually want the process – I’m just not willing to dedicate hours each week to really learning the language. So I removed it from my ‘wants list’ which feels prettttttty bloody good. So here’s my permission slip to you to think about what you could remove from your goals list.
As I mentioned, this perspective is a great way to strengthen your motivation. By accepting that life is about choosing your struggle…and making the decision that the bad times are so bloody worth it for the good times, you’ll give yourself a foundation of determination that’s gonna get you through the process all the way to the shiny, awesome results.
So here we go…my question to you today then is…is studying something you’re willing to struggle for?
Yes, it’s gonna feel epic to walk across the stage at your graduation ceremony wearing the cap and gown and being handed your degree certificate. Yes, the career and financial opportunities could be immense. But do you actually accept and want the process?
Are you willing to incur the financial costs of furthering your education?
Are the long days, long weeks and late nights worth it to you?
Are you willing to scale back your social life?
Are you willing to have less time for you?
Are you willing to experience the challenges and setbacks that are an essential part of learning?
Are the sacrifices worth it to you for the end result?
Are you willing to pick yourself up and push yourself again and again to achieve what you want?