By: Megan Prater
Throughout my collegiate career, I have discovered through both observation and personal tribulation that motivation truly fuels and breeds success. Waking up with a desire to accomplish something creates purpose and encourages continued action. However, I have also realized that today’s social media-immersed society often portrays success in an unrealistic and even unattainable light. It can certainly be difficult to find daily motivation when we are constantly exposed to and becoming utterly obsessed with the seemingly extravagant lives and success stories of celebrities, social media influencers and even our peers. We put so much pressure on ourselves in this day in age through comparison that we don’t allow ourselves to bask in the glory of even the smallest of victories.
I have always idolized highly motivated individuals and have continually looked to them for inspiration in my everyday life through popular blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos and social media outlets. However, I have realized that this isn’t necessarily a healthy way to go about fueling personal motivation. As college students with the world at our fingertips, it is vital that we are able to find motivation in even the smallest ways. Whether it’s through acing an exam, confidently delivering a presentation, finishing an assignment or even checking one small item off a to-do list. Finding something to be proud of and to keep us moving towards our goals will ultimately encourage us to succeed and ensure the longevity of our successes.
One of my all-time favorite quotes from Bill Copeland states, “The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your entire life running up and down the field and never score.” It is so incredibly important that we allow ourselves to score at this point in our lives. It took me until my senior year of college to realize that sometimes those small victories happen when things don’t go as planned. We rarely appreciate the subtle victories associated with “plan B” until “plan A” doesn’t work out. In my experience, college has been a chaotic balance between trying to embrace every moment and make memories that will last a lifetime, while also striving to build a future for myself. Through the last three years of attempting to balance long nights of studying, work, internships, social interaction, relationships and personal space, I have always relied on motivation to keep me going.
Sometimes we simply need to take a step back from the “important” aspects of our lives in order to see the bigger picture. You don’t have to be busy or have a “purpose” at all hours of the day, and you certainly don’t need to compare yourself, your goals or your life to those plastered throughout social media. Life and college are stressful enough on their own, and there is no reason to add to it by attempting to harness unnatural motivation from a third party. While it is important and always encouraged to strive for greatness, that coffee break, Netflix binge or night out with your friends is equally important. We are a generation filled with limitless potential, intelligence and opportunities to achieve. If we can learn to take a step back and appreciate our smallest victories, I believe we will be unstoppable.