Motivation | Is it hidden under a rock?

When I watch one of of my favourite motivational videos A Story For Tomorrow, the narrator starts

“You are on a quest, to search for the same thing that everyone is searching for.”

But what are you searching for? What are you looking for in life? What are you waiting for?

Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysics communicator, was asked “what kept him motivated

His response:

“The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation.”


Am I going to be motivated in life, by the eyes of other people or motivated by working towards my own goals and plans?

Will anyone explain to me why I continue doing what I do, why I do the things I do, or will I explain them myself?

I try to follow three rules of thumb:

  1. Be friendly
  2. Be yourself
  3. Do good things

And I try to take control of my life.

Howto cheat at life: Learn to be positive

I recently came across this very entertaining TEDx talk.

Take a look:

Shawn Achor – “The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance”

As you can hear, being happy makes a massive difference. It’s possible to predict how successful 75% of people will be, not based on their IQ, but how happy they are.

Just think about that – all the time you were at school and they were telling you how important exam results were to be “successful”, to be “happy” – they were wrong. In fact, they were wrong twice. The were wrong that good grades (“IQ”) meant you’d be happy, and they were wrong that being successful had anything to do with good grades (“IQ”).

So whilst he explained, being happy isn’t really about getting into that prestigious school, or earning more than you can spend, he was very quick when he went over how we can be happy.

“How to be happy.” That sounds like such a strange and contrived thing to say – I mean either you are happy or you aren’t happy, right? How can you possibly teach yourself to be happy?

Well, as it happens I recently saw a post on reddit by What_The_Funk explaining one of the methods he briefly mentioned:

Writing down the 2 highlights of the day every day before I sleep. And every week/month/year, choose one from that period. Best thing I have ever done. Focused my thoughts on all the great things that happen. every morning I wake up thinking: what will I write on my highlight list today. and in the evening, it’s almost difficult to determine the highlights out of lots of positive things. and picking a highlight of the month/year… just makes you grateful.

Does that sound difficult? Hell yes!

Does it sound achievable? Absolutely.

Even if the highlight of your day is “took a five minute break from work and enjoyed every second of it” or “pressed snooze on my alarm, TWICE”, you’ll still, by the end of the week, have a list of the things that have made you happiest over the week.

After almost a month of doing this everyday, I bet you start to look at things a little bit differently. :)

Let’s start now, what were your two happiest moments of today?

Does anyone else think you’re a prick?

First they came for the pricks, but I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a prick.

Then they came for the knobs, but I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a knob.

Then they came for the tits, but I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a tit.

Then they came for the arseholes, but I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t an arsehole.

Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out (apart from the politicians who somehow managed to get through the above net).

By gmfthelp on reddit, parodying Pastor Martin Niemöller’s original

Sometimes, one has to stand up for the rights of people whose views you don’t agree with – proposed legislation might not affect you personally, it might not affect me personally, but it if it could be extended to have a chilling effect on someone we both know, then we should do something about it.

Hackers and Repetition

Sometimes reddit throws up some fantastic stuff about life and work.

Repetitive tasks
Repetitive tasks

This graph really highlights what’s frequently referred to as the first hacker virtue “Laziness”. Instead of being content to do a task manually, they want to sit around and do less of that, thus the second hacker virtue “Impatience” comes in to play. The hacker gets impatient with the repetitiveness of the task and thus automates it – a time vs tasks trade off. They should recieve less “tasks” in the long term but there is an upfront cost in terms of time and effort.

Of course, this is a big simplification, and I feel like I’m botching an explanation – you can read more about all that here.

Anyway, go away and automate something. If that’s not in your capabilities, consider learning.

The Scrollwheel (for desktop support heros)

A while ago I saw this fantastic comic on reddit about unwilling tech support heros.

Turns out someone has made an animation of it:

Non-techies, sometimes, it might be good to ask one of your techie friends if there’s anything you can do that would make your computer use more efficient. :)

Having seen this, everyone should be happy to help. At worst, just use your scrollwheel! :)

Dirty piano beats

Increasingly, I’ve been seeing dubstep remixes of popular tracks pop up… or be used for the backing track to videos, so imagine my surprise and delight when I saw a remix of a popular dubstep track on keyboards…

By remix, I mean “cover” and by “keyboards” I mean, classical piano!

Skrillex – Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites (Ferro’s piano cover)

Big props to Ferro for interpretting this through a new medium and giving it some extra milage. You can find Skrillex’s original track here.