Something that those closest to me will say quite readily is that I absolutely won’t do anything I don’t want to do. And if I do end up doing that thing, it’s because my hands are tied. School work, jobs I hate, and things that are expected of me fall into this category.

But on the flipside, anything that I do want, I will chase to the ends of the earth with a persistence that is both a blessing and a curse. The people in my life and my own personal growth are the first to come to mind.

Somewhere in the middle of the outright refusal and the dogged persistence lies the motivation, and trying to pinpoint where exactly that motivation resides is a task in and of itself.

It’s too vague to say that I go after the things I want or find important; while true, that can be said for anyone. Put simply, what motivates me the most are things that align with my personal values and goals. There are people that put heavy weight on paper accomplishment, on prestige, on material wealth, whereas I find myself shrugging at that those sorts of things. I see the value, but extrinsic motivation doesn’t move the deepest parts of me.

It’s the intrinsic motivation that really gets me going. It’s the why and the alignment of the why to who I am and who I am trying to be.

I value experiences over paper accomplishments because I am able to navigate the world better with those experiences.

I value fulfilling work over well-paying careers because I want to be able to leave a mark in my own personal sphere.

I value wholeness, self-improvement, and perseverance – I pursue any experience that makes me a better me.

And most of all, I value people over everything else because I figure that we’ll never be these people in this moment again. There will always be more work, more deadlines, more stresses, more bills, more things to take care of. But this right here, and this opportunity to really make a connection with someone, is one that doesn’t not come around often. What’s the point of being here if not for each other? And so the people that push me, that challenge me to be different and stronger, are the ones that motivate me. It’s their support that makes me want to reach higher.

I try my best to eliminate the background noise in my life, and I think that the things that we’re told we should be motivated for are irrelevant to a certain extent. Of course we need to survive, make ends meet, and have a solid quality of life. But beyond that, where does the why lie? I’m always looking for the why, and if the why is there and meaningful, you can be sure I’m following close behind.