Never Settle for Bare Minimum

I have half-jokingly made this quote my wallpaper in an attempt to motivate myself to get things done, even though it feels like one of those productivity scams.

It is not always easy to feel motivated for what you do. And motivation is very crucial especially for people whose motivation exponentially alters their output. I have always seen myself in this camp. When I am motivated or excited about a vision, I am full force on it. Working, thinking day and night about it, trying so hard, pushing all of the barriers and limits with endless solution alternatives and enthusiasm until it is achieved. It is more of an energy spike. But, what comes with this is that I end up showing quite an average effort for some type of “unimportant/ non-value-added” work while I am legitimizing this behavior as “efficiency”. At the end I do not have limitless time or energy therefore I need to spend it efficiently, right?

Probably I have lived my whole life in this view. Studying exams at the very last possible date throughout almost sleepless, condensed nights, doing homework just before the deadlines. Paying bare minimum attention and effort for the courses which I think I will never need/revisit in my life or if I think it is a non-value added course/work. But, yes I usually work very hard, it is just the way I operate which is like a machine with bare minimum with 70–80% capacity then goes up to 150% when fueled with motivation. On the other hand, I have seen people operating on 90% levels with +/- 3–4 oscillations regardless of the type of work. Still I have thought the way I operate is the smart way of managing my energy and time. Then I remember displeasingly seeing the quote that says “how you do one thing is how you do everything”. Well, I still do not buy into this.

Still, there are few things that started to alter my view. First, I am coming to conclusion that knowledge is interdisciplinary. I have ended up reapplying things I have learned in engineering courses in totally different disciplines of life. I remember quoting the first law of thermodynamics in very random, totally irrelevant parts of life. :) For a few things that I have questioned my effort claiming that I will never revisit, I was proven to be wrong. You can clearly apply math in arts.

Secondly, you do not know what you will extract or learn from your experiences before you start. From all these courses that I question necessity, at least I had learned how to learn, how to solve problems that shapes my brain in a certain way that I keep applying any type of interdisciplinary problem. I have learned to push my limits.

Or I have experienced that writing brings me a sharper perspective which was not my initial motivation at all, but has become one of the reasons why I continue. Likewise a consistent workout turns out to give me a sense of accomplishment and dopamine that I had been denying to accept.

Yes, I still wish I could channel some of the efforts in my life into things I like more or things more beneficial, more valuable in the long run. But the point is that who knows? What you will learn is not formed at the beginnings, they are shaped on the way. And you never know when or where you will revisit or reapply them. So, I am now inclining to think that I never regret hard-work even if it is for shitty tasks. Instead of operating on a bare minimum effort for what I consider as non-value-added tasks, I had better find a way to exchange, or better convert them to “right tasks”, in whatever way you define these “right tasks” that could as well be just doing nothing that you need sometimes. For example, creating an umbrella of a learning objectives from these non-value added tasks through a reframing exercise. Or connecting these trivial tasks to bigger picture behind. If they do not connect, then maybe they deserve to be trimmed instead of a half-ass effort.

Eventually our time is too precious to be filled with things that we do at our bare minimum level. Our energy is too precious to be spend for people or things that trigger only our bare minimum, or gives their bare-minimum. Things we do should spike our energy instead of draining it.


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