Simple Tip For Motivation: 'Encouragement.txt'

I often have a hard time staying motivated. It's something I struggle with constantly. Some examples:

  • I sometimes start an exercise routine and quit within two weeks because I'm not seeing results quickly enough.
  • After working at a job for a certain amount of time, I can become bored from the lack of challenges and turn into the guy from Office Space who works just hard enough not to get fired.
  • If a personal project is taking too long to complete (such as an extremely long essay), I might become frustrated and quit.

Other people would probably read these and ask, "What's so hard about that stuff? What's wrong with you?" The answer is, I don't know. I just know that I have a harder time maintaining a positive outlook than other people. I'm naturally pessimistic, which is one of my least favorite qualities about myself.

To combat this, I've started keeping a log of compliments given to me by other people. Let's call it 'Encouragement.txt'. This idea ties into yesterday's brief homage to the text file.

Anytime someone decides to give me some positive feedback on what I'm doing, I put it into this text file. When I'm feeling down, or my creative energies are depleted, or whenever I'm thinking about quitting, I reference the file. It's difficult to articulate how amazingly helpful this has been for me, and I encourage you to give it a try yourself.

Want an example from my file? Here's a compliment I got from someone recently that actually pertains to Unretrofied:

"I was reading your Drafts review then started to skim your blog. You've got a lot of really good stuff up there and I really like your style. Keep it up man, you could be the next Gruber (without the smugness and dicknose)."

As someone who has looked up to John Gruber for years now (and no, I don't think of him as having a dicknose, although that bit made me laugh), this simple compliment made my entire day. And that's exactly why I'm keeping it for later.