By Alex Ouyang
It’s hard to stay motivated this time of year. The heat makes us drowsier than usual and seeing the herds of tourists in D.C. doesn’t make things any easier. For those of us who are working during the summer, what is there to keep us motivated when everyone else seems to be kicking back and enjoying themselves?
Ironically, vacation a few hours north did the trick. Forget Bali or Costa Rica…no, we mean New York City. The Empire City. The City That Never Sleeps.
So what is it about New York that’s so motivating? Well the first thing is that most New Yorkers have a disdain for tourists. They avoid Times Square like the plague and understandably so — the place is packed like a can of sardines.
But more importantly, New Yorkers are extremely independent. Home to hundreds of thousands of corporations and organizations that have proven to be the cream of the crop, NYC is the ultimate make-it-or-break-it where people go to fulfill their dreams. But in the midst of millions of everyone’s own dreams and distractions, how do you make yourself heard?
You keep caring. Even if no one else does, you need to persist because if you don’t care about your dreams and goals, no one else will. Consistently showing that what you’re doing does matter makes others care as well. Even little things like dressing nicely and straightening your posture can go a long way. As Coco Chanel said, “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.” (And this applies to men too!)
Coco Chanel walking into her establishment in New York City.
Another motivational factor is basking in the presence of greatness. New York is saturated with monuments dedicated to successful people, though a good portion of those are corporate buildings of monumental proportions. D.C. has monuments dedicated to people who helped build our country. Not to say that people who helped build our economy aren’t important, but let’s give a little credit to the people who started it all.
D.C. has no shortage of monuments for those who have dedicated their life’s work to the progress of America.
Nonetheless, no matter who, what, or where your role model is, everyone’s definition of success is different. Find someone (or multiple people!) who fits your definition of “success.” What kinds of obstacles did they face? How did they overcome them? What can you learn from their mistakes? Find out what you admire about them, and use those qualities as a guideline, not a blueprint, for success.
And perhaps the most motivational factor of all is stress. New Yorkers are some of the most stressed bunch I’ve ever seen or met. There’s always somewhere they need to be. And yes, stress makes us want to tear our hair out and scream into an empty void, but the finished product is what makes all the stress worth it in the end. And if you happen to find co-workers to be stressed with, working towards a goal with your team of strung-out cronies is less lonely and even a little fun.
A scientifically-accurate diagram of the Coffee Cycle by Grant Snider. (These captions are not guaranteed to be correct.)
What do you do to stay motivated? Let us know in the comments!