Inspiration and motivation are everywhere you look. On social media, there are many creators who post quotes or success stories to help inspire people to become the best possible version of themselves. Inspiration and motivation are important for success, but there is way too much emphasis on these two ideas and not enough on discipline and focus.
When you go on social media and see someone’s successes, you feel good and inspired. You might think to yourself, if this person can go from being in a similar position to where I am and become successful, I can, as well. At a university level, there are a lot of prosperous people who come out of the institution and are used as model students for undergraduates.
Yet a lot of the time, it is easy to overlook how much discipline and hard work the person needed to put in to get to where they are. In many ways, focusing only on the end result diminishes the amount of work that the person put in to achieve their goals. There is also too much romanticism surrounding financial success and fame.
Inspiration is often portrayed through quotations and images of successful people. Oftentimes people in college idolize famous people in their chosen fields — for example, an engineering major might look up to Elon Musk, or a business major might look up to Jeff Bezos. There is not as much praise for people who are not ridiculously wealthy or famous, which is a more realistic and achievable goal.
More importantly, success in university is measured more by wealth and career progression than happiness and mental stability. The definition of inspiration and success in this field comes from people who are powerful financially.
One thing that is important for college students to remember is the fact that they need to work hard to get anywhere in life. No matter what your major is, and how hard your classes might be, they do not matter if you do not work hard enough in school.
You need to make the most out of every educational opportunity you are given. Just because you are in a major or a program with a lot of potential for future success does not mean that you will succeed just from doing the bare minimum.
With every single success story comes countless hours of work, loss of sleep and sacrifice. The journey to be successful is never pretty, and this is simply not given enough attention. With every shining headshot comes all-nighters, nights of eating nothing but ramen noodles and chips and consuming an unhealthy amount of caffeine.
Although the “grind” is not something that should necessarily be glorified or romanticized, it is still a part of success. It is important to recognize it as a part of growing and gaining what you want out of life. Without hard work, there is nothing that can be achieved, and everything in life worth having requires commitment.
When working through undergraduate studies, it is important to keep a realistic view and attitude. It is vital to remember that a lot of time goes into achieving goals. Nothing comes easy, and success does not come overnight.
Inspiration can help you to be motivated to work hard. Yet what is more important than inspiration is discipline in the work you do. It is essential to put in the right amount of time and effort as well as making sure that you are managing your time well.
In college especially there is a lot to juggle — school, family, friends, extracurricular activities and sometimes work. It is important to make sure that you are finding time to do everything that you need to do while also defining your goals and aspirations as well as taking good care of yourself.
Being inspired helps motivate you to define your goals and aspirations as well as work toward them. Yet in order to succeed and accomplish your goals, discipline is more necessary than inspiration.
Julia Fuchs is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in history and anthropology and minoring in French and archaeology. Her column, "Questioning Jules," runs on alternate Thursdays.
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