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What motivates me Tue, May 20, 2014
The topic of personal motivation came up in a conversation a little while ago, and I had a hard time pinpointing exactly what motivates me.  The reason, which I figured out after some time, is because I don't need an external force to motivate me to do my job, or to work hard, or to produce good work.  I just do it, partly out of a sense of responsibility, but also partly because it's "the right thing to do."  I guess you could say I'm self-motivated.  Frankly, I find it baffling that some people simply don't do the work they're assigned.  They need some additional incentive, aside from "because it's your job."  When something is assigned to me or I decide to start a project at home, I do the work because that's what I was tasked with doing or that's what needed to get done.  I already get paid to do my job, and home projects tend to benefit the homeowner directly, so the incentive is taken care of.  The reason I continue working on something until it's finished and meets my standards is because that's what needs to get done.  I have a hard time even writing this, because it doesn't make sense to me how anyone could do things differently. #psychology

Changing intuition Mon, May 19, 2014
I've noticed lately that certain things that didn't used to seem intuitive to me are starting to become intuitive.  This suggests that intuition changes over time and depends on circumstances and experiences, which means it's not really intuition.  It's knowledge.  But people talk about it like it's a fixed quantity of stuff that each person has in equal measure.  My intuition should be the same as your intuition, which should be the same as everyone's, etc.  Or I guess more accurately, people with the same job or the same background or the same mental abilities should have the same amount of intuition.  But I constantly find myself butting up against colleagues who try to appeal to our equivalent levels of intuition to avoid having to explain things.  "Don't you get it?  It's intuitive."  If you have to explain it, it's obviously not intuitive. #psychology

Knowing when to quit Wed, May 07, 2014
Like I mentioned, I'm having a hard time completing a particular task at work.  The thing is, I'm an engineer, and part of my job function is to do things that seem impossible.  Engineering is essentially advanced problem-solving, and many parts of an engineer's job start with the sentence, "I don't know what to do or how to do it, but I'll figure it out." 

The issue I'm running into at the moment is that I'm stuck in a perpetual failure loop, and the task I'm trying to accomplish isn't unique.  It's been done before by various people for various applications, and several people who are capable of doing it are sitting in cubicles right near me.  So the obvious question that comes to mind is this:  Why am I spending all this time and exerting all this effort trying to do something that can be done more quickly and easily by someone else?  Sure, there's the argument that if I never attempt anything difficult, I'll never grow or learn anything new.  And of course there's a lot to be learned by failure.  But at some point, I think failure should be recognized as failure, and we should move on.  It's difficult as an engineer to know when to stop trying to solve a problem and when to let someone else try. #psychology