Motivation is everything. Let me give three personal examples to illustrate this obvious fact — spicing with a bit of humor at the end.
Years ago my Tai Kwon Do teacher told us (his students) that we could study martial arts for years but that we would not learn much until we were in a real fight. And indeed the instructor’s daytime job as secret shopper security guard in a large store. He would sometimes confront thieves in the parking lot in such a way to get the thief to swing at him — because he was not allowed to start a fight. So my teachers instructions were always full of practical examples.But it was not until two years later that I learned the wisdom of his teachings.
One night I interrupted a robbery in the apartment complex I was managing. I walked into an apartment that had been broken into while the robber was still in the apartment. The robber attacked me with a large knife. I tried defending myself with a feeble, weak karate kick and then ran for my life. I escaped and could not sleep for three days.
However, after that hair-raising encounter, my fighting skills improved greatly, because with every practice punch and kick, I imagined the guy who had tried to kill me.
Having learned several languages, I sometimes get asked for advice on how an adult can best learn a foreign language. So I have thought a lot about the various techniques I have used in the past. And by far, the greatest expedient in my mastery of language has been a girlfriend who only speaks the language you are trying to learn. Study all you want but without motivation …
At my recent tooth cleaning, the hygienist (who I have seen for a few years) complimented me on my clean teeth. She asked me what I was doing differently. I told her that all her talks about importance of brushing or flossing never really sank in until I began seeing a new partner with whom I spend much time kissing. So as of late, my motivation to brush and floss have increased incredibly.