There I was at another networking event surrounded by loud noise and a crowd. You would think profound moments wouldn’t happen. An inspiring individual named Armoni asked me a tough question many people rarely ponder; The motivation to keep going.
“What keeps you going? “ he asked.
In other words, what stops you from giving up?
At first I really couldn’t think of an answer. It’s not everyday we look deep within and identify what truly drives us. So I really had to think. I may have had steam coming out of my ears. Something finally hit me, my brain is random like that.
My response was that “I’ve already been through too much in life to quit, and I feel like I owe it to myself and others like me to set a good example.” After doing some thinking later on, I realized my answer is only partially complete.
Truth is that I have more than a single motivation. Surprisingly, I believe one motivation is fear. I know it’s the more selfish one. On some level, the idea of stagnation scares the shit out of me. It stems from my own insecurity of thinking that I lack the ability to succeed. I have to remember that im still growing. Even people that I feel have way more talent seem to have that fear. Nothing like the sobering thought that if you stop it’s over to keep you going. I am so afraid of accomplishing nothing that I got over my fear of public speaking. So much so that I got a B.A. in Communication Studies.
Before I get to the more healthy motivations, I should talk about one more selfish one. I have a hunger to prove the haters, doubters, and critics wrong. It’s like an uncontrollable fire to say, “oh yeah, I’ll show you.” I may have pushed myself to my limit a few times but it earns me respect. Just imagine me, a sophomore in college at Sac State, attending an argumentation course. Sitting in my wheelchair and squeezed in like a can of sardines. The classroom is awkwardly silent as we wait for the professor, let’s call him Dr. Smith. Immediately after walking into the room, he walks over to me and warns me that his course is challenging and another instructor would be a little easier. My blood got hot and I felt the fire.
Smiling ear to ear, I looked him right in the eyes and said “good, I like a challenge.” One of my best friends gets worried when I smile when a stranger says a rude comment.
Turns out, after talking with that professor at graduation, he told me he had a lot of respect for me. Apparently I pushed myself so hard that I was the best debater in class. I’m not going to lie, it was an exhausting semester and I needed a drink when it was over. I am only human.
I think the most important driving factor is believing in the potential of others. Throughout life I’ve always met the right person to encourage me at just the right time. I never want to be the cynic that crushes a dream. You have a dream or positive message, I say how can I help spread and grow it. Many people have done the same for me. So, if I can help foster potential, I have no excuse not to. I keep going because the more I do the more lives I can help.
My main takeaway is that sometimes we have many reasons for not giving up. Sometimes it’s fear of leaving this earth without accomplishing anything and sometimes it’s about helping dreams happen. I’m learning that it I can accomplish great things and help others.
I hope you enjoyed reading this. The person that posed the question about what keeps me going runs an awesome organization to mentor youth and support dreams in Sacramento, CA called Project Optimism. Check out what they’re about and help them help others.
Also, leave a comment on my post about what motivates you to not give up. Hopefully we can inspire each other.