• Millie Liao

How I stay motivated when working towards my dreams

Updated: Oct 21


(photos taken during SAT prep procrastination...)


Life just seems to pass me by.


Have you ever felt like this?


Because I do, all the time. When I’m cooped up in my room, drowning in schoolwork and extracurricular work and SAT (standardized test in the US) prep, yet I feel like I’m doing nothing.


I’m doing nothing towards achieving my dream, I’m doing nothing towards creating the life I want to live,


I’m doing nothing.


Then why am I still always so busy?


I wish I could say it was as simple as going out and doing what you want, but it’s not. That’ll get you nowhere, because we naturally get distracted and soon enough you’ll find yourself right where you started. No big dream is easy enough to just go out and get - they’re dreams because they take an unreal, absurd amount of work to get to.


What I do when I feel completely totally lost and don’t know where to start is actually looking back. I know a lot of people say never to look back or regret, but for me, retracing my steps and figuring out what worked and what didn’t is the way that I grow.


Life is just one big trial and error problem, the ones that take an eternity to solve, the ones that make you cry in math class, but once you finally find that perfect combination, the one that plugs nicely into the function, it becomes all worth it and you can look down at your messy paper, scratched up and crossed out and scribbled all over, and be a little proud.


For some people, solving the equation comes in just a moment. For others, it happens in parts. For other still, they don’t realize it’s happened until long after.


I, as well as many others who have grown up with a narcissist, have a condition which is described as unreachable standards, something that makes us feel like we’re never doing enough, we’ll never measure up just the way that we are. There’s always something to strive towards.


This forces me to continue working, even when I’m really tired. I don’t feel deserving enough to take a break, and I have this irrational fear of not being able to achieve anything as a result of my own laziness and inefficiency. It really sucks.


But at the same time, every time I close my eyes and in my minds eye really look back, I can almost see how far I’ve come, and how many people are proud of me. And that’s what really does it for me- that’s what makes me realize the moments where I solved my function, where I got the problem right.


Everyone has these genius combinations that just work really well for them, that got them to the next step of life, and if we use these to push us forward, and get rid of the things that didn’t work out, we’ll become even more efficient.


It’s important to note that this type of efficiency is different from the unhealthy efficiency that stems from fear (fear of doing nothing) and low self esteem. It looks very different.


Guilty working is usually meaningless, because you don’t know why you’re actually working other than the fact that you don’t want to do nothing and become useless.


Meanwhile, motivated working might be doing something you hate, or going through a long annoying process, but getting to the end means something deeper to you. So the hours of homework, of SAT prep, of extracurriculars shouldn’t always be fun, but they should be suffered through for the sake of the final product.


When you put in any amount of work, 9.9/10 times, you will get that same amount back in rewards. I had to struggle with myself, submit over and over and over until I got cast, and for most of the times my auditions amounted to nothing. But I love acting, and so these self tapes are worth it, especially the ones that end up in a new role and a chance to do what I love in front of the camera.


And when you get that one job, it makes all the difference. When I got cast by Brat for Charmers, I didn't realize the amount of impact that this would role would bring me, from earning fans to starting my own YouTube channel and most importantly learning about how to deal with grief as I learned from Fi's character.


So my message for everyone today is to look back, and think about so far what worked and what didn’t. Then, once you’ve got that figured out, keep going with what worked for you, even if it wasn’t the most fun or exciting thing, even when it’s a burden that you have to carry.


And remember most of all that I’m so proud of you!


You’re amazing, beautiful, unique, brave and strong.


I believe that together, we can make it- make it to the biggest of our dreams, step by step, day by day.


I wish this all to you with love,


Millie.