Staying motivated

One of the biggest troubles I’ve grappled with over the last few years is maintaining a consistent level of motivation in all my work. I’m pretty sure grad school is intended to be more of a test of character than your ability to solve a differential equation, purely because it seems infinitely harder to maintain a clear understanding of why you’re doing what you’re doing, as opposed to looking up a theorem in a book or paper, and doing some algebra/numerical work.

Grad school is great because you have tremendous amount of freedom and flexibility to explore the things that interest you, but it’s also a pain in the neck because with “great freedom comes great responsibility” (had to throw in that Spidey reference (: ). With that, what I mean is that you can really only get to the end of the proverbial tunnel if you’re willing to sacrifice the things you might love doing, to complete the more mundane, necessary tasks.

For me, those mundane tasks, when it comes to research, amount more or less entirely to writing papers. Though I love writing in general, and I also love communicating my thoughts, there’s something about writing scientific papers that just triggers a massive roadblock in my mind. That ends up playing with your motivation in all kinds of mysterious ways. It might be that I’m the only one in the universe that faces the prospect of having to do things that aren’t entirely to my liking, to be able to get to the finish line, but I highly doubt that (grad school has also taught me about the laws of statistics fortunately).

With the light up ahead shining ever brightly, beckoning me, the question is how to get through all the things that I don’t favour, to be able to spend more time on the stuff that I really love?

Any suggestions are welcome!

Kartik Kumar
Kartik Kumar
Co-founder & CEO

Kartik is an aerospace engineer and planetary scientist with degrees from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. He is currently co-founder and CEO at satsearch, a European Space Agency startup that is working on democratizing access to the global commercial space market.