Seeking stories of personal transformation
March 10, 2014 1:20 PM   Subscribe

I'm seeking stories of personal transformation. Those who overcame their depression and lack of focus to become a driven and motivated person.

I marvel at people who have incredible focus and drive to succeed. I'm talking those who are determined to surmount any obstacles, to wake up every day to get the job done regardless of how they feel.

I do have goals, but I'm frustrated by my lack of focus and motivation. I want to be able to translate my will into results. My ability to delay gratification is non-existent, and I'm frustrated by my immaturity when it comes to scut work. My bad habits stem from a life time of depression (now under control) and spoiled privileged upbringing.

I want to become somebody who manages to develop incredible focus and work ethic, including the ability to keep your eye on the ball regardless of the situation.

Did any of you have this experience?
What happened?
How did you do it?
posted by pakoothefakoo to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Agh! Pardon the horribly mangled and nonsensical title.
posted by pakoothefakoo at 1:22 PM on March 10, 2014

Related previously.
posted by MonkeyToes at 1:35 PM on March 10, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks MonkeyToes. I should clarify that I'm looking for personal anecdotes from the MeFi community.
posted by pakoothefakoo at 1:48 PM on March 10, 2014

I need accountability and support, both from other people. Whether it's deadlines at jobs I've had, a weight-loss coach who weighs me every week (Weight Watchers was good too), I need to know that whatever my goals are, another human is going to see what I've accomplished and *care* enough about it to give me feedback. It's great when the feedback is good, but even if it's critical, that gets me on track again.

This is what I've learned about myself after many decades of petering out on my goals. If you can find an online group that's relevant to any of the things you want to do, where people have similar goals and you can talk to each other as you work, that would be great. In that way you can be involved in giving the support and guidance as well as getting.

You may think you "should" be able to go it alone, but it turns out that many many people cannot sustain focus and direction without an Other who is there for them in some way.

I think this relates to depression, too.
posted by DMelanogaster at 2:33 PM on March 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm sure there is a subreddit for this. Of course, that's not Metafilterian anecdotes but still, it will be personal stories. I think it's r/getmotivated.
posted by bquarters at 5:35 PM on March 10, 2014

I wouldn't say my focus is 'incredible,' which is what you're seeking, but I have come quite a long ways over the years. So my first suggestion might be to not set your bar quite so high? Baby steps are usually best.

I have struggled with depression since my teen years (40 something now) and felt like I would never amount to much. I was dangerously overweight, I had zero love life, and I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. I took more than a year extra to graduate college, with a degree that I had no intention of really using. After college, I had to live with family for two years because I couldn't find a job that paid the rent.

Then I got a job that paid a little bit more. Not much more, but enough to live on my own. Then I took a part time job to supplement that. Then I found another job that paid even more, so I didn't need the part time job. Then I found that with some more schooling, I could get a promotion, so I decided to apply for grad school. Scary, but I broke it down into baby steps. Baby step 1: apply. Baby step 2: Take GRE Baby step 3: Register for classes, etc.

While I was in school, I decided to start house hunting. I finally realized that I didn't have to have a husband to be a home owner. So that whole adventure was broken down into baby steps. And as each step was competed successfully, I found the encouragement to continue. Not easy, and lots of panic-stricken angst, but I was buoyed by what I had already accomplished.

I start to get a handle on my poor diet. I get on anti-depressants. I work with a therapist on my social anxiety.

Yada yada yada, years pass. I have a very satisfying job that pays well. I am at a normal weight. I have a wonderful loving boyfriend, and I'm in a really good place in my life.

I didn't know things could be this good way back then. But it didn't stop me from trying.
posted by BeBoth at 6:12 PM on March 10, 2014

posted by Jacqueline at 6:20 PM on March 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I used to be like a sad leaf in the wind. Depressed & self-destructive. No focus. Just like a leaf in the wind.

But I have that spark inside of me to be better, faster, stronger, smarter, richer, happier and more fly. Even when drowned in a million tears of frustration, I continue to and will continue to cultivate that little spark.

Part of this, honestly, is growing the hell up. That instant gratification thing is for kids. You and I are grown. We know that we will need money for the inevitable upcoming expensive issues. We overcome this immaturity by getting gratification from putting off gratification.

Your "little" brain wants what it wants with no concept of the future, no self-accountability. Your "big" brain always thinks of the future, and holds itself accountable. I started using my "big" brain. Little brain does immature shit, holds immature attitudes. Big brain thinks ahead and makes better choices.

A favorite saying of mine: "I will win, not immediately, but definitely." It's a learning curve, this life, so try to be higher up on the curve as much as you possibly can, in all situations. Have a plan B. Do your scut work with pride, be the best damn scut work-doer you can be. You want to learn to be self-motivated? It has to come from inside of you. Slap yourself upside the head, take cold showers, snap a rubber band on your wrist, whatever works best for you to keep your focus like a laser beam.
posted by Grlnxtdr at 7:06 PM on March 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

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