I was much less active over the past year among the world of social media, this blog, spending time with friends, and many other things in my life. If one year ago, I was told what 2017 had in store for me, I might have needed a change of shorts. I was balancing far too many things, struggling to be as successful as I’d like in all my responsibilities and endeavors. Work, running, relationships, and preparing for a transition back to school in a new city – none of this was done to the level I normally set for myself. Stress was plentiful.
Looking back on my time this summer leading up to the race at Lost Soul, few memories stand out where I felt accomplished in what I was doing. I think anyone can relate to this issue – you work and work… yet no reaffirming results are found. This form of stress can eat you up and spit you out, with nothing to show for it. My saving grace was that I was too busy to worry about it at the time – I didn’t realize how incredibly lacking this summer was of positive results.
By the time this realization occurred, I had completed two VERY challenging 100 km races in the span of three weeks and learned more about myself than I thought possible in that short period of time. This ultimately allowed me to find satisfaction with all the time spent during a frustratingly busy summer. Which got me thinking, is the focus on reward for motivation really all that productive?
What was more interesting though, was the fact that any symptoms of depression I experienced over the summer was infrequent and short-lived. So not only was I too busy to focus on the lack of reward, I was too busy to fall into a depression. Which led me to start questioning my motivation for the things I do.
Is the promise of reward helpful in the pursuit of happiness?
This poses an interesting thought. Success is most often measured in how rewarding an endeavor becomes, yet reward may not be the best driver to reach success. Too often can interim reward (or lack thereof) stifle long-term success.
It has been a few months now since I moved to Kelowna to start full-time studies on a PhD in engineering. I know that over the next few years my reasons and motivations for pursuing this journey will be tested more than I can imagine. When ultimate success is measured in years, finding the drive to finish what I started is going to force me to dig deeper than I have experienced from any previous accomplishment I have pursued in the past. Where will I find motivation? How will I stay disciplined in the face of no tangible end in sight? I’m sure I’ll be spending the next few years figuring this out. In the meantime, I’ll just enjoy the experience and focus on putting one foot in front of the other. And I suspect I’ll learn there really isn’t much more to it. Though, a greater appreciation for my successes and learning experiences will give me greater awareness of what makes me truly happy.
Here’s some photos from my adventures over the past year that I haven’t had a chance to share.