Motivation and Overcoming Challenges

After spending 10 to 12 hours a day, almost every day of the first module, in the “dungeon” as some call Turing’s basement HQ, you start to form habits around motivation. Maintaining the motivation to keep moving forward seems to be the only way to get through a program as challenging as this. Below are a some thoughts on how I enter a flow state, what derails my momentum, and how I’ve stayed motivated through these first few weeks.

When do you hit your most unconscious flow, where your actions happen almost automatically?

I hit my most unconscious flow after I’ve had a solid rest, eaten a good meal, and am excited about what I’m doing. Usually when I have the option to choose what to work on and the time to explore the topic. Also, it helps me to play white noise or music in the background.

Are there any dangers, problems, or weaknesses with that flow state? Is it healthy?

It can be hard to enter given certain environments, schedules don’t typically allow for it. It can also be hard to find motivation or change mindsets after a long day of class or studying. In these situations, I find it helpful to get outside (bike, ski, etc.) or watch a short ski or mountain bike edit to prep my mind when shifting gears.

What motivates you to work? Why are you here at Turing, in the big picture, and why are you here today in the small?

I am motivated by a challenge and the opportunity to be creative. I am at Turing to challenge myself, learn a new skillset and way of thought, and combine my interests in technology, finance, and behavioral sciences. I am at school today to learn, practice my communication and pairing skills, and to work on our current challenge (headcount project).

What’s the purpose behind your motivation? We all have a need for survival, but you likely aspire to leave some kind of mark. What is it? Why?

I am driven by change, decision making and the human aversion to risk. I want to help people be more aware in their lives and better adapt to change. I want to help them improve their processes in hope of leading a more fulfilling life.

What undercuts your motivation? When do you struggle to focus or achieve? What excuses do you use to make it ok to fail or procrastinate?

Being tired, hungry, or frustrated (usually with outside expectations) undercuts my motivation. I struggle to focus in groups where one person has taken the lead and everyone, in a sense, blindly follows. Or in situations where I haven’t had time to think about the challenge myself. Excuses I make typically involve comparing my performance (or lack of) with others or the expectations being too large. I procrastinate when I can’t think clearly or I’m feeling unmotivated.

What helps you do your best work? Why not do these things all the time?

Having space to think through a problem. Listening to white noise and just getting started. Walking around outside or watching a clip of a ski, mountainbike, or SUP movie. I don’t do these things all of the time because many are situational, and not all situations allow for the activity.

Another important process I’ve found crucial to getting through this module is to make sure I understand the requirements of a project and to try not to get caught on issues irrelevant to the goal. Otherwise, motivation is quickly derailed.

I’m interested in learning what motivates other. How do you enter a flow state? Please let me know on twitter.