“Para kanino ka bumabangon?” This is probably one of the most unforgettable questions asked in a Philippine commercial. It makes you think in an instant, really, kanino ka nga naman bumabangon araw araw? Though it might sound a little bit of a double entendre, it makes sense and arouses us to think deeper of the motivation/s we have in life. Motivation has been a great word with great acts to parallel with it. Motivation has been associated with success; the more that we are motivated, the more that we are likely to succeed.
In a more specific case, what keeps us motivated to achieve our goals? This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions to me by my colleague. They are wondering why I am ‘In a rush” to achieve everything in life in an early. What they don’t know is the deeper longing about my “in a rush” motivation.
When I was young, I was so meek. I don’t have the luxury of confidence to socialize and interact with other people. I am not really that sociable. And studying in a private Catholic school and you are just living your life below poverty was something that would really eat up your confidence amongst other wealthy classmates. I never got the chance to enjoy my elementary and high school years because I don’t have that number of friends that I can actually have good memories with. I think our being poor and me studying in a private school was a punishment for me rather than something that I must be thankful for. I was always left behind because I cannot compete with them. While most of my classmates have tutors, I was alone deciphering the lessons that we have. While most of them have hired artists to do their art assignments, I was alone trying to help myself how to draw. But it was also the same reason why I was motivated to succeed in the next chapter of my life: college. The cycle of me being down academically, financially and emotionally must have a sudden death, I told myself.
In college, I promised myself that I will detach myself from the cycle that I have been with in my previous school years. I joined extra-curricular activities and participated well. I studied most of my free time to give the most answers in recitation. Ad fortunately, I was rewarded for all of it. I cannot deny the fact that I was a late bloomer. But as the famous saying goes, it is better late than never. I was now out in the open and was enjoying the rewards for the jobs well done. I never experienced these when I was in elementary nor in high school. And I lavished every single of it.
It is indeed proven that in learning, motivation is a consequence of effective reinforcers (behaviorist perspective). I was moved to do well and achieve my goals because I was rewarded later on because of my deeds. It shaped my mind that the more I conform to the standards, I will be acknowledged. Contrary to what happened to me when I was in high school, I wasn’t motivated for one single reason: I am confident that I can do what others can because I was poor. The belief rests on my ability that since I am not well equipped with what my classmates have I cannot also do what they can. And thus, I was unwilling to persevere to engage in every class activity that we had (cognitive perspective, self-efficacy theory).
In addition, it was also in my college years where I was able to experience flow. It is where people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity and total involvement in life. It is where I can fully say I was one with the task I was doing. Since I have established well myself in college, everything was challenging. And with the skills that I have sharpened over the years, it makes it easier for me. And if challenge level is high and so as skill, then there will certainly be the occurrence of flow.
Motivation and flow is not just in learning. It must be incorporated in our everyday life. There are a lot of things that we can do as we are motivated to do them which can actually lead to flow. And there are times when we experience flow that can motivate us to do more. Another thing that is worth sharing about the Nescafe’s “Bangon” ad, it states that “Para hindi ka lang basta gumigising, bumabangon ka ng may dahilan. Dahil pag tinulungan mong bumangon ang isang tao, parang buong bayan na rin ang bumabngon.” And as teacher, we should help others rise from where they are in right now through education.