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Staying Motivated


Staying Motivated with a --^ uıɐɹq spɹɐʍʞɔɐq

I have problems staying motivated. Sometimes, my mind feels like it has too many things to do and it paralyzes me from doing any of it. Feeling overwhelmed is stressful. How can I turns things around and do the things I want to do without my silly psychological blocks getting in the way? Why can't I just finish something I started without getting distracted by another task? I feel like I really like learning about hacking but I don't have as much fun actually hacking, for example.

Then I thought about it and other people probably have this problem. Ever since I started interacting with the bug bounty community, I have seen questions that seem to indicate that most new bounty hunters are despondent about not having immediate results. There may be someone reading this right now with the same problems I have. So we're both not alone here. How do we overcome?

Before doing research on the problem, here is my guess at a few fixes. I seem to remember these from the last time I looked up "How to stay motivated?" on the web.
  1. If you're feeling overwhelmed, perhaps you're taking on too much. Trim down your responsibilities and let some things go that are lesser priority. 
  2. Be mindful of the people that helped you get to where you're currently at. Their help would be better served if I kept at it. Make a Gratitude List. 
  3. Writing things down is one of the best ways that we internalize information. Write a quick todo list, even if you don't look at it ever again. 
  4. Take a break now, but keep trying.
Now, I take to the Internet to discover some other useful tips. I think I found some really good wizardly tips online to bring me out of my funk:
  1. Set a goal, then visualize every detail of accomplishing it. 
  2. List the reasons why you want to accomplish something.
  3. Break up larger tasks into smaller, more manageable ones (Chunking). 
  4. Eliminate procrastination (Hah! Ya right)
  5. Listen to music
  6. Make a Ulysses Pact where a commitment device is created to ensure future success. Like grocery shopping after dinner. 
  7. Set up a reward system to positively reinforce small steps towards the task. 
  8. Gentle-self talk. Turn the negativity WAY down and acknowledge the lack of motivation, but persuade yourself by being fair and non-judgmental. 
  9. Keep a large calendar and put a nice chain of X's for each day you work at something. Don't break the chain. This is called the Seinfeld Strategy
  10. Keep a pad and pen to write down "distractions" during focused activity. Review it later when the focus time is over. 
  11. Talk to a social support buddy and "confess" when you slip up. 
So now, let's exploit this information. I set up a music playlist with my favorite music and started up this blog post while under its spell. I set up a note taking application with my To Do list and started "chunking" the tasks. I started to visualize the moment I will have when I open the mail envelope with a packet of information and my certification with my name. I focus in on that detail of my name on that certificate. It's under plastic keeping it in a frame just like I have seen on LinkedIn.  

Next, I need to be real to myself using positive self talk. It's okay that I took some time for myself during the holidays and didn't study. I am afraid of failing so much that I am sabotaging it but that ends now. It doesn't matter if I fail the first time. It probably won't be the last time I try, will it? I need to dial back the self-imposed restrictions and focus on why I purchased the course in the first place. I think I have already gotten my money's worth with the course materials alone!

Consider family and friends: Thank goodness I found a really good mentor online that was willing to help me because I was a student learning Penetration testing with Kali Linux (PWK), which is the prerequisite course for the Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) certification. I need to #TryHarder for him. I'm extremely grateful that he spent his time to interact with me one on one.

I have a lot of people to thank for getting this far, including myself. I am so grateful for those folks. Not only that, but groups and organizations like Bug Crowd, Digivante, and Hacker One have been absolutely essential to my growth. My friends on Facebook have helped me with their reviews of my writings. My partner and other family has supported my learning objectives with their encouragement. 

Now let's get this done...

... don't stop... believin...

Update 2/18/2020:
See what Kurzgesagt has to say on the topic of Optimistic Nihilism below:


or this topic on Dissatisfaction:

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