This must be the most unusual start of term that any of us have ever known, but nonetheless I am delighted to welcome everybody back to the new term. ‘Wellington Online’ may not be quite the same as being in school, but I know that our online community will be just as vibrant, creative, ambitious and supportive as the one that just for now has been put on hold.
I often talk in Assembly about motivation and the current circumstances present us all with a different kind of motivational challenge. The words below are taken from a recent Senior School Assembly and they seem particularly relevant at this time.
At the start of a new term, I always talk about the importance of getting involved and giving your best in everything that you do. The key to achieving this is motivation. Without being motivated, it is very difficult to concentrate, to work hard and to focus on what we are doing.
What is motivation? Well, the dictionary will tell us that motivation is what makes us behave and act in the particular way that we do. Dig deeper and most sources will go on to explain that motivation is something that comes from within and not from outside. And that is an important point.
We all know people who are highly motivated to work hard and do their best. Wellington School is full of people exactly like that. But what are the things that motivate us?
Ask young people why they are motivated to work hard and do their best and some will say ‘to get to university, to get a good job and to be able earn plenty of money’. Some people are motivated by a long term goal. They do not seek immediate rewards. Instead, they hope to enjoy the benefits in future years.
For some, the motivation is more immediate. People are motivated because they just like to do well and to succeed, because it makes them feel better about themselves and makes them more self-confident. Many people are motivated by a desire for recognition, both in the short and the long term. They want other people to notice what they are doing and to praise and respect them for what they achieve.
A lot of people are motivated by a desire to help others. Even if they seem to be doing something that is just for themselves, they like to please other people, maybe their parents or even their teachers.
Perhaps one of the most important forms of motivation is passion. A lot of people work hard to do their best because they love what they are doing. You might practice an instrument, play a sport or solve Maths problems not in the hope of future reward or recognition, but because you just enjoy doing those things.
I said at the beginning that motivation comes from within. If a teacher offers a prize for the best piece of work or a parent offers a reward for good exam results, those things may motivate you for a short while. But it will not last. True motivation has to come from you.
In some ways, it does not matter what motivates you. But it is easier to maintain your levels of motivation if at least part of the motivation comes from a genuine love of what you are doing. You may think that motivation is needed just to get started, but it can also come later. So, if you ever find it hard to get motivated, set your mind to the task at hand, give your full attention to what has to be done and concentrate on being the best version of yourself that you can be. You may just find that real enjoyment and lasting motivation follow.