Motivation: A Medical Students Perspective

DISCLAIMER: I am not a psychologist

How sorry do I feel for falling off of the face of the blogosphere? The answer is VERY! I feel bad that I had lost my dedication and motivation towards this blog. I have been very busy and caught up in life, which I hope you can all understand. Matters both personal and professional have taken up a lot of my time and thought. As a result, I have had no drive to continue writing on this blog. But fear not because I am back with renewed vigour! (I can’t promise I won’t disappear again but I will try my damn hardest to write one blog a week!)

I want to apologise to my readers and especially to my dedicated subscribers. There’s only a few of you but remember that I treasure you a great deal and I am so grateful that you take time out of your busy day to read my blog!

I know what motivated me to start this blog. The motivation to start writing this blog was primarily the fact that I wanted to get back into writing, something I enjoyed a lot back in school but haven’t really done much of since leaving school. My friend who vlogs was also an inspiration to start blogging, as I mention in my first blog here. Most importantly though, it was my desire to put my thoughts onto a platform for me to process, a diary of sorts, but with the purpose of hopefully helping others and spreading a positive message. I just wanted to add my two cents in, as they say, like everyone in the world.

There are loads of different theories of motivation and I’m no psychologist. People are either motivated by intrinsic factors or extrinsic factors. For those of you unfamiliar with this concept allow me to explain. Intrinsic motivators are things that drive you that and what you get from it is a personal feeling of satisfaction, you’re doing something for the sake of it. Extrinsic motivation comes from the desire to attain something, such as reward, or maybe even to avoid punishment (like tidying your room to avoid another lecture from your Mum). As a medical student I am very familiar with extrinsic motivators, for example, studying hard in order get a good grade or entering a competition in order to win a scholarship.

I recently spoke to some final year medical students who are in the midst of preparing for their finals. I was a little surprised and quite disappointed when they expressed such a lack of enthusiasm for medicine, considering it’s not too long till they make their way onto the wards as fully fledged doctors.

I was interested to know the root of why they were so unenthusiastic. One of the students replied to me by saying; “The reason I wanted to be a doctor was because first of all I really enjoyed science at school and I was good at it without having to try too hard. The second reason I wanted to be a doctor was to help people because helping people made me feel like I was making a difference. Medical school has sucked the enjoyment out of science a lot because of all the exams. All the assessments and red tape on placements means that I’m barely in a position to help myself let alone a patient.” (I have paraphrased this.)

This person was motivated to study medicine wholly by intrinsic factors to begin with but then these intrinsic factors had extrinsic components introduced, passing exams and assessments. The introduction of extrinsic motivators in the place of intrinsic ones diminishes the value of the intrinsic motivators which means that you lose the enjoyment you may once have experiences from that activity. This is called overjustification effect (yes I did google that, hopefully you get the general gist of what I am trying to explain).

When the medical student said this to me I started to feel quite worried because I could see a lot of my own motivators reflected back at me from this final year student. Am I going to be as dispassionate about medicine when I’m in final year? I certainly hope not. I can definitely say that I still have that same passion now that I did back in first year.

I feel that intrinsic motivators are a lot more powerful than the extrinsic ones. Mainly because failure to realise an extrinsic motivator (i.e. if you fail an exam) has a much greater impact on a persons’ morale than failure to realise an intrinsic motivator. If you’re driven by extrinsic motivators try and remould them into intrinsic ones, I know this is easier said than done.

If any of this resonates with you then I have a few tips on how to re-motivate yourself:

  1. Really look into yourself and figure out your three big motivators in life. What makes you get out of bed in the morning and carry on doing the things you do. Is it family, friends, feeling successful, belonging to something, money, power etc., the list goes on. I want you to find your three big motivators (once you know them, comment below what your three big motivators are).
  2. Reassess your goals in life. You may have become demotivated because your life goals are no longer relevant. It’s good to review your goals and change them regularly and not just on new year’s, as most of us do.
  3. Make sure your goals are challenging but realistic. You want a goal that is attainable and will keep you on your feet.
  4. Spend time with other people who are extremely passionate about what they do, even if their passion is in something completely different. Passion is infectious!

Take home message of the blog: I hope that you all stay extremely passionate about whatever it is you do. If you every lose your passion, then use the tips above. Try to find intrinsic motivators in life and you will find that you naturally excel at what you are doing. I believer happiness equals success. I remember reading a quote by Lionel Messi, an extremely successful footballer, which said:

“Money is not a motivating factor. Money doesn’t thrill me or make me play better because there are benefits to being wealthy. I’m just happy with a ball at my feet. My motivation comes from playing the game I love. If I wasn’t paid to be a professional footballer I would willingly play for nothing.”


Here are some good links which helped me write this blog and talk more about motivation:




Add yours →

  1. Welcome back and great post! On the med track as well, check out my blog when you can 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: