Journey Logs By adam schwartz

Adam Schwartz- Adambomb25

Section 37

Journey Log 1


Reflecting and The Puzzle of Motivation

Forging your Own Path: Thinking without Structure

As the youngest of three, it’s impossible not to think about the bigger picture watching my older siblings beginning to battle hardships of adulthood. They are both well done with college and graduate school, and I’m often frustrated thinking that I am stuck at step one of a thousand. I feel like a robot, mindlessly moving from class to class inching towards the ultimate goal of “success”. The most difficult part of this process is coming to realization that no matter how hard I try, if I want to be a doctor someday I can’t really differ from the path. So how do you motivate yourself to get up everyday knowing that you are light years away from your dream and you’re path seems limited? You must reflect and appreciate every experience no matter how tedious, understanding that this experience will give you knowledge and a stronger opportunity to overcome your next obstacle. Annie Sullivan did not comprise a miracle instantly, it took months, and most importantly she found her own way using knowledge she previously learned. Technically I can’t drift extremely from the designed path in terms of school; however I can take different routes to get from point A to point B.

This process all begins with creative thinking, my overall picture to reach graduate school may look similar to other applicants, but my path to get there is uncomparable. In Daniel Pink’s TED Talk, “The Puzzle of Motivation” (found in Paying Attention), he discusses how free thinking enhances the production of employees at companies like Google, as well as trials from “The Candle Problem” (Pink) . While structure creates order, perhaps it may be a detriment to expanding the mind, and causes people to think with “narrow focus” (Pink). For example, google has “20% time” (Pink), where workers have “intense autonomy” (Pink) to work on whatever they want end the of the day. During that time, a large proportion of the most influential google tools have been developed (Pink). Even though I may not be an engineer at google, I can implement times of free thinking into my own life to help figure out what else I can accomplish besides school. I can simply sit on Instagram and Twitter before bed performing broad research for activities I could take interests in. Through that time I’ve figured out more efficient studying habits, local charities to join, and that I eventually want to study abroad. It’s funny and sometimes unbelievable that my most productive moments have come when I am relaxing, or just away from my everyday work schedule. I may be applying to graduate school with similar fulfilled class requirements to others, but my path and outside activities put me on the opposite side of the spectrum. My main goal is to find the space where I can different turns while still arriving at my ultimate destination.

It’s exciting to see how I can develop over the years, but it is essential to take each day one at a time not delving too deep into the future… Rome wasn’t built in a day. Annie Sullivan guiding Hellen Keller embodies the perfect message for this idea, Sullivan did not simply remove Keller from the “darkness of my mind” (Costa) in a few days. It took “reflection” (Costa), what worked and what didn’t work, and it’s important to appreciate the value of knowing both success and failure. I find myself constantly reflecting upon previous days wondering what I could’ve done differently and better. Time of reflection is not a time for self pity, but an opportunity to build myself up by diagnosing failures to lead to future successes. Isn’t that what Sullivan did in a way? Attempting to get Keller to understand language was such a process, that dissecting what forms of teaching worked and didn’t work was necessary to efficiently teaching Keller. Keller herself states she “failed to stress sufficiently the obstacles and hardships which confronted Teacher” (Costa). Sullivan using reflection as a tool, definitely speeded up the process of establishing understanding and good behavior in Keller. Like Sullivan, consistently reflecting allows myself to figure out what solutions will efficiently get me to graduate school.

Although adulthood may be far down the line, cognitively working towards that goal using reflection and allowing times for free thinking will build my mind and hopefully separate myself as unique. There is no defined procedure to reach my version of “success”, but by slowly inching towards that goal, going through each day will bring me there.

Work Cited

Costa, Arthur L, and Bena Kallick. Learning and Leading with Habits of Mind: 16 Essential Characteristics for Success. Alexandria, Va: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2008. Print.

Pink, D. (2009 July). Daniel Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation. [Video file]. Retrieved from

Created By
Adam Schwartz

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.