Ever since my early teenage years, I’ve always made lists of ways in which I can be better. I wanted to be better at sports, top of the class and a linguist. A life of never being satisfied admittedly isn’t healthy, but I’ve always wanted to continually improve myself. I guess that’s a positive quality. I just need to ensure that I congratulate myself on what I achieve before moving on to the next thing.
It was quite comforting to find out that Tolstoy was also a perfectionist. He had a list habit like mine, although he wasn’t often successful. Writing his ambitions seemed to have a detrimental effect, judging by the lapse of planning and the gambling and debauchery that followed his list. Lists are entirely ineffective if you lose motivation and ignore them. I’m often guilty of this.
Reading books that inspire me prolongs my motivation, I’ve found. I enjoy reading novels with characters who have qualities that I’d like to develop, or skills I’d like to gain. It keeps my on my toes.