my name is natalia. I am a Phd candidate at the radboud university nijmegen medical centre, nijmegen, the netherlands. in daily life, i do research in computational psychiatry. in free time, i go dancing, hiking, investing and blogging.

To read or not to read

I had a funny childhood. Instead of reading fairy tales to my sister and me, my ambitious mum used to read Tony Robbins’ or Zig Ziglar’s books in bedtime. So, instead of Disney tales, I used to listen to stories about success, determination to reach your goals, time planning and prioritising. And I could not even read or count yet… But here is the thing: biographies and motivational materials - are they really beneficial for personal development? On one hand, it is worth to know a handful of successful stories in order to stay inspired. On the other hand, what do the successful people do? Do they really read biographies, or go through motivational courses?

I am often watching youtube movies about motivation while working on my codes. Some of these movies involve interviews with ‘successful people’. I watched literally hundreds of these pieces and one striking thing I realised was that, among all the advice these successful people give on the media, there is no mention about watching motivational materials in order to become successful. Which means that those successful people had their mentors in the real life oooor… did not even need that - they were just born with some internal compass which tells them what to do next. Is that the ugly truth? …that some people just have their intuition, can clearly tell the difference between what is important and what is not, can predict the consequences of their decisions and dispose time optimally as if they had a guardian angel who just tells them what is the best next step? In the end, I asked Google whether or not the motivational books work for real, and I got to a few articles and forums. One sentence found online that I found particularly interesting, is some private comment from a user calling himself Wan Zulfikri Wan Yusoff:

‘Yes, people do become successful after reading motivational books but the thing that made them succeed is the same thing that had driven them to read the motivational book in the first place - The desire to succeed.’

I couldn’t agree more. What I also found, was the theory of motivation by Mel Robbins:

It is a very interesting material, as Mel’s main point is that… motivation does not exist. Basically, the human brain is wired in a way that its animalistic part is controlling emotions: any activity but sleeping, eating and copulating is interpreted as risky and scary - something that definitely should be avoided. Therefore, any desire to achieve something will always generate anxiety, no matter what rational arguments to use. Mel believes that once you have a thought about doing something progressive about your life, or about your day, you only have five seconds to implement this idea in practice - after that time, your brain will talk you out of this. The more time you spend on deliberating pros and cons of doing something, the worse. I actually tried to behave according to what she advises, namely to become that instant doer, and I must say that this approach does. work: increases an amount of things that can be done during the day, and reduces fear. And I can definitely recommend this approach.  

My power animal and me

To be or not to be …a psychopath