The Best Therapy I’ve Ever Had

27 Jan


Every Mormon missionary knows the phrase, “forget yourself and go to work.”

The quote is famous because it was written in a letter to one of the presidents of the church while he was a young man. It came at a point in his mission when the thought of violating one more “No Trespassing” or “No Soliciting” sign to knock a door seemed like too much (or maybe I was the only one who got sick of people yelling at us for ignoring those signs).no missionary

Anyway, the story goes that after he read the letter, it gave him the motivation he needed to overcome his desire to quit, finish his mission, and later became the president of the church.

Just like the advice my mom has given me for the past 6 years —  learn to cut guys hair so that I can make money AND get more dates — the quote went in one ear and out the other. Until this semester.

Over the past few weeks, my motivation for doing my daily tasks has changed and “going to work” is the only thing that makes sense.

What changed my perspective?

My Organizational Behavior professor has given the class an assignment to make a goal to change something about our lives, set benchmarks, develop a reward system and in true college form, write a meaningful, five page paper that will probably be used as kindling for my hippie TA’s campfire after she spends a total of 23 seconds reading it.

Setting goals is easy; developing a reward system has been about as hard as it was for me to ask people who were much older, wiser, and more religious than me to call me “sister” (often prompting the question, “are you a Nun?”).MissionaryTag

I have no internal desire to do it.

This assignment made me realize that I don’t need to develop a surface level reward system (treat myself to ice cream, clothes, or a day at the spa) because it’s better to be motivated by core values.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my core values and I find that when I make value-centered life goals — much like the mission-centered goals I used to make– I’m much happier and more fulfilled.


“Going to work” everyday helps me find purpose in mundane tasks.  I no longer worry about achieving things that others consider to be “great” in order to be happy.

My life has become my reward. 


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