A few months ago I took a picture of a desperate-sounding annotation I came across in an old text book I got from a second-hand book seller. (You can find the post here.) I don’t know anything about the person who wrote it. I also have no idea what became of them. My guess is that they did just fine but you never know.
In a way finding this particular text book and stumbling over that particular comment did something to me. It made me want to travel back in time and tell that person that they should look at the bright side, that everything was going to be fine even if it didn’t seem like it at that moment. I’m aware that sometimes things don’t get better for some people but I believe that this often happens because they lack the right kind of motivation. With “the right kind’ I mean “positive” motivation. Negative motivation is better than no motivation at all, I guess. Yet it doesn’t give you the same feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction, which is what you may need to keep going with whatever you’re doing or want to do. ‘I did this because I had to, I felt forced to and I had no other choice’ isn’t the greatest thought to have after finishing a difficult task. It leaves a bitter after taste and you might feel like you haven’t accomplished anything at all.
I started collecting positive, motivational phrases and quotes from all kinds of cultural texts. I wrote them on several little pieces of paper and left one in each text book I borrowed from my university’s library. I’m still doing it and I’ll keep doing it. This morning I returned 3 books and there is a positive note in each of them now, waiting to be found. It all sounds crazy but I felt like helping. I will never know the outcome of it. I didn’t leave an email address or a name because it doesn’t matter who left them. I don’t want to be thanked. I only hope that it will put a smile on someone’s face someday and that they’ll think, ‘Heck yeah, I can totally do this!’
Of course, there’s something in it for me too. Every time I return a book, I smile and I feel like I’m contributing to make our world a brighter place, one positive note at a time. I know if I found a note in one of my text books, I would smile and I would secretly thank the stranger who left it. I’m sure there will be someone who will appreciate it just as much. It’s almost like a little reward that you’ve gone to the library and decided to work on your assignment(s).
At first I wanted to keep this action to myself. However, why not share with the people who take their time to read this post. Maybe we should start leaving happy, appreciative notes collectively.