Bismillah (in the name of Allah)…

It’s funny how fast time flies when you aren’t mindful of what’s going on around you. A couple weeks ago I was busy studying for exams and that week flew by. As expected I didn’t have time to reflect. But then last week I filed away all the books and chilled and that week flew by just as fast, leaving little reflection time. Now, I’m just trying to reachieve balance (one of the hardest and most important things in life… just ask Prince Zuko.) Anyway, I see now that 1. time management is still a tricky game and 2. it’s so important to take advantage of the time you do have – to seize the day! strike while the iron is hot! and other cliches leading into tonight’s reflection!

Flashback. In the summer when the Olympics were on, I was watching with a couple of friends and we started talking about how Olympians got to be where they are. We joked about how if we were at their level we would just use our talents to impress girls, but then I thought more about it. Let’s say that really was my motivation, the minute it came to fruition (i.e. girls were impressed) I wouldn’t have any more drive to go on. Naturally we decided we’d be pretty bad Olympians, but there had to be more to people like Usain Bolt here. I often find myself looking at the amazing things celebrities/public figures/athletes accomplish in their lives and I wonder what motivates them. Are they really different from normal people or are they just more driven? More importantly, does that mean that anyone who aspires for greatness can get there?

Around the time I was studying for exams, a friend shared this motivational video with me featuring someone we all know and love – the Governator! I was hooked right when he said, “best body builder of all times” within the first 7 seconds, but beyond just the hilarity of his accent, what he is saying is actually inspiring. Here’s a guy none of us would have ever heard of if he didn’t bust his butt every day, but now Schwarzenegger is a household name (it’s even accepted by spell-check.)

Side note: remember two posts ago when I talked about how disgusting fat looked in the body? Well seeing fat in a dissected cadaver was probably the most powerful motivation for me to actually start working out. I’ve never been able to consistently go to the gym because as long as I didn’t look fat then I was happy, but now I want as little to do with fat as possible. Here’s a toned down picture just so you guys know what I’m talking about (and now imagine sheets and sheets of that – it’s nasty…)

I remember watching Bolt break his own 100M record and then in the interview afterwards it was clear his motivation was to be heralded as the greatest of all time. I’m not saying we should all shoot to be Olympians or gigantic body-builders/governors, but what I admire most about these people is that they have such a strong sense of purpose. I once heard of a Time study cited by a speaker (starting around the 1:46:00 mark if you wanna check it out) that asked people to stop their jobs, social media, phone, etc. for 12 hours to just think about their sense or purpose. Of those people, 80% broke down. 80%!! Now I haven’t been able to find that study (through a half-hearted Google search,) but still the results are insane!

The point I’m trying to get at (without becoming too existential) is that somewhere down the line we all have to ask ourselves why we are doing what we are doing. Not just with the big stuff either, but the more we understand all the actions we undertake, the better. I’m extremely grateful (Alhamdulillah) that I’m coming to accept my religion and spirituality as my daily motivation. Obviously I’m biased in thinking that attaching your inspiration to The Eternal is the best way to go, but for different people there are different paths – all valid in their own right. The important thing, though, is that there is something there to serve as that motivation.

It truly pains me to see purposeless action (and even with my own developing sense of identity, I still struggle with it.) No other creation on Earth can even conceptualize purpose, so clearly we humans have that capacity for a reason. So please, the next time you decide to go to the gym, decide to run for president, or anything in between, take a second to think of why you’re doing it.

And finally, a last piece of personal advice – make sure that answer makes you happy.

Happy [motivational] Reflecting,



2 thoughts on “Motivation

  1. DJ P says:

    “Let’s say that really was my motivation, the minute it came to fruition (i.e. girls were impressed) I wouldn’t have any more drive to go on.”

    Not quite sure about that. What’s to say that once you’ve achieved that goal you wouldn’t want to continue to achieve it (or even improve upon what you’ve done; ie get even more girls/better looking girls to be impressed)?

    Example: Lebron has finally won a ring. Do you think he lacks the drive to get another one? Granted, you could argue that his goal is not to win rings but to become the greatest basketball player ever (in which case the rings are just a means to an end), but I think the general question still holds. If anything, I would argue that achieving such a grand goal/purpose would lead to a desire to achieve that feeling as often as possible. The key, as you stated, is choosing a strong enough motivator. And nothing motivates people more than being truly happy.

    Just my two cents.

    • Naj says:

      I agree definitely that there has to be a strong enough motivator, I was just using that example (of when we were actually at your house haha) to demonstrate a kind of incomplete motivation. Rarely do we ever have one motivation to do something, so Lebron could simultaneously want to win his first ring while still being driven to be the best. But you’re absolutely right, we should definitely celebrate the achievement of milestones on the way to bigger and better things!

      P.S. I’m happy for Lebron, he deserved it

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