Saturday, January 31, 2009

What Motivates You?

I always seem to be asked the question of what motivates me. With all the setbacks that has always and will always be a part of my life, one wonders what is it that keeps someone in my position to still have the drive to keep going. Well, here's my answer...

I was 6 years old and was in Gym class when we had a brand new teacher. I was kind of worried that she didn't know that I had some physical issues and couldn't run, jump, etc. but I was too chicken to tell her so I just tried my best to hide it. Luckily she hasn't asked the class to do anything that I couldn't do yet...until she asked us to run. Now at the time, I never ran a day in my life...until that day. I dunno how I did it but something went right that day and I ran for the first time ever in my life. I could feel the wind in my face and felt like nothing could stop me. I felt alive and was in a state of euphoria that I felt could never be topped. Had I had known that it would be my first, last, and only time I would ever run in my life, I would have never stopped.

In a way, I guess I never felt the same after that. I tried day after day to run again and feel that high that I felt...but it was never to be. Once I was 10 and transitioning from walking to using a chair daily, it stopped any effort of mine altogether. I could never get the coordination right to ever push myself in a manual wheelchair to any speed that excited me...not that I was trying to be some racecar driver or anything, but just something that would give me that same sensation that I had when I ran.

Cars and drivers have always appealed to me since I was little as well. While I would commit the specs of every car I would see to memory, the one thing that I admired about drivers is the sense of exitement, determination, and motivation that seemed to exude from them whenever they drove. In a way, I sorta felt the same way when I ran...and it was something that I so desperately trying to feel again.

I wouldn't get a taste of that feeling again until I was 14 and on a powerchair for the first time. At first, I was a little reluctant to run fast since I wasn't accustomed to the feeling of driving a powerchair, but in time, things started to change. My gym teacher at the time was trying to hone my driving skills and kept on pushing me to drive faster. I started to feel the excitement that I had when I was younger...although it was not the same. As I got older, I kept on driving the wheels off the the point that I got accustomed to driving that way. That sense of excitement started to wane...although the powerchair motivated me to push myself to try and attempt to try something else out...something that most of my friends thought would be impossible for me to drive a car.

Back then, driving a car to me seemed like the best way to get that sense of euphoria. With me behind the wheel, nothing could stop me from doing what I wanted, nothing could hold me back, and I could do as I pleased...something that was very much desired for someone in my situation. My desire to drive was the catalyst for many aspects of my life. It was what motivated me to excel in a way, I felt that if I did well, maybe I could think of a way to drive all by myself. This motivation also played a big part in my desire to pursue the Engineering field: if I knew as much as I could about cars and mechanical objects, I could figure out something.

When I got my car in my early college years, I felt like I was on top of the world. I started to befriend many of the "car people" that were in the area and worked to build up my driving skills to become the best driver I could with the car that I had. Granted, I would be no racer, but I like to think that I treated my driving to the same scrutiny as a racer. Did I feel that sense of joy that I had when I ran when I was 6? Sorta. Looking back on that time 18 years after that day, I know that nothing would ever top that feeling I felt that matter how much I motivate myself to pursue something that I feel might give me that feeling again...