Often, I trick myself into doing things. Maybe trick is the wrong turn of phrase, because for the most part, I am always aware of the trick. I use personal incentives in my own mind not only to motivate myself to do things, but to hold myself accountable to do things. They are cyclical, in my mind, turning and pushing me forward.
When I was in high school, and my oldest friend was going for her driver’s license, she told everyone when she was taking the test. And then, she failed, and had to tell everyone that she had failed. Since then, I have purposefully not shared certain things with people in order to ensure that I didn’t have to also share my failure with them. This is not the healthiest way to live your life, but over the years, I have taught myself to use it as a way to better myself.
I tend to reserve certain events in my life in order to share them when I most want to. Mostly, this allows me the room I need to make my own decisions. And at this point in my life, that room is immeasurably important. Recently, I applied for a job that I didn’t particularly want, out of a feeling of obligation towards myself. I feel an obligation to give myself opportunities to learn and grow – be it in a job or in the process of applying for a job. And when I interviewed for the position, I only told two people. And when they offered me the position, I only told one person. I made this decision on purpose, in order to fully understand how I felt about being offered this job. I was (and still am) very aware of the ways in which the people in my life influence my thoughts and actions. With something as important as this – the job I would get up every morning for – I wanted my decision to only be colored with my own opinions.
On the other side of things, I have begun sharing certain things on purpose, as a way to motivate myself to accomplish certain goals. With certain goals – like writing my thoughts and publishing them here – I share them as a way to keep myself accountable. I am accountable to myself, always, but I will let myself get away with things in ways that others will not. In telling a friend that I want to write or run or better myself in any way, I have put that goal out into the universe. It begins to exist at that point, as an entity outside of myself. And its very existence is a motivating factor towards accomplishing it. I can use my world to hold myself accountable.
This post was originally written in June of 2014.
Larissa is a lifelong reader and student of literature. She has earned degrees from Smith College and Drexel University. Larissa is inspired by work that illustrates the beautiful minutiae of everyday life.