Motivation can sometimes be compared to a tank of water with an outside tap. Turn the tap all the way and even though your motivation will be ever-flowing for a period of time. Eventually, you will run out and no matter how much you turn the tap on. There is nothing left in the tank to be dispersed.
This is a common trap for multiple people in different careers. Including software testers who might be very enthusiastic at the beginning. Excited to put into action all the amazing methods, techniques and technology that they’ve learned. But over-time, feel less motivated when the learning curve starts to level off and the familiarity of their work becomes second nature.
If you are in a leadership position, please see my post on injecting motivation into your team members working days. The tips that I give in it are useful to not only spark testers to go the extra mile when needed. But also make them feel that their work is important to the bigger picture of the software development project.
Lacking motivation doesn’t equal boredom
Let’s use the example of me wanting to learn another language, in this case, we’ll use Hindi. For a period of time at the beginning of my journey to learn the language. I might spend most of my time during the day watching Bollywood films, listening to Hindi music and using various language learning applications. My motivation levels are really high at this point. So I want to use all the various opportunities that are open to me to advance my learning.
But after a while of doing everything that I can to learn the language. I don’t become bored with the process of learning Hindi. I haven’t decided that it’s not something that is important to me or a goal that I don’t want to achieve.
Instead, I slowly disengage with the process because I went out too fast and burned through my motivation too quickly. Learning now has become a chore and something that I need to push myself to engage with.
I’m just… ‘urghhh’ .. If such a feeling existed.
Any single task can become monotonous after a while of repetitive action. Be it a job, a career, or even a hobby. Nothing is exempt from being impervious to the eventuality of us losing interest if we don’t remain curious, excited, or most importantly. Passionate about the subject.
Passion can be likened to the rubber band effect that we feel when we are truly engaged by a subject or a single task. No matter how long we have been doing it, or how repetitive it might have become. We find ourselves going back for more time and time again.
Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.Aristotle
Passion is the secret sauce that pushes us through the tough times in our lives. Like a tunnelling machine at the base of a steep hill. It cuts through obstacles and allows for pathways to be opened up that enable us to continue onward.
What does it mean to be passionate?
Being passionate about a goal you want to accomplish, a project you are working on, or even a simple idea. Can provide you with multiple advantages to your daily life.
From providing you much-needed direction and focus. Passion can also help us form better relationships. Ones that are formed on a common purpose and with like-minded people.
But passion isn’t just about knowledge. I know how to make toast for example. But I wouldn’t say that I’m passionate about it.
Passion is instead better summed up as a feeling. An emoticon that is associated with something that excites you and you enjoy working on, thinking about and discussing with others.
Below are a few tips that you can use to find your software testing passion.
Find your niche
Whether it’s testing using traditional manual methods. Or using automated tools to create and assist in your testing efforts. Find the one that most interests you and drill down until you find the area of testing that sparks your passion.
Passions can feed your goals and push you to achieve the things that you have only dreamed about. But you have to be realistic not only with your time but also with your abilities.
It might be easy in the beginning to think you’re super passionate and want to dedicate every waking moment to something. But that isn’t really practical or sustainable.
After choosing what you want to achieve. Break that goal down into manageable steps that will lead you to your dream goal.
Surround yourself with like-minded people
If you are passionate about software testing. Or want to be passionate about it. I highly suggest seeking these places out. Hanging out there regularly. Contributing to and learning from the resources you find.
Engaging with a community is the best way, in my opinion, to become passionate. Not only because you are surrounded by the subject. But because you have chosen to be part of it. And feel in control of your learning journey.
The most important thing to remember is that you can’t force a passion. It has to come from a genuine interested and be something that you truly enjoy. Otherwise, just like motivation. It’ll fizzle away and turn out to be nothing but a flash in the pan.