“I want you to reach as far as you can while sitting in your desk,” articulated my high school Pre-Calculus teacher. I sat up straight and extended my arm with a slight strain, my arm was stretched beyond its normal reach and I thought I had completed his demand properly. My teacher then reached into his wallet and pulled out twenty dollars. He then placed the bill about three inches in front of my hand and said, “Grab this.” I immediately snatched the bill with ease. The point of my teacher doing this was to show that we don’t always put in 100% of what we are capable of. However, he failed to see how holding out the twenty dollar bill added another component to his teaching. Sometimes, we aren’t motivated to work as hard as we are capable of doing because there is no concrete reward at the end of our work. We are encouraged to work only toward that extra bonus: the A on an exam, the paycheck at the end of the week, the warm words of praise from our parents. We want to be the best at all things, but only want to if we receive recognition for doing so. I often forget that self recognition is the best recognition. We are constantly seeking a prize when we do something and when we do not receive that reward we are less motivated to do our best the next time. Never expect affirmation from other people when what you are doing only affects yourself. Be proud of the work you do, but more importantly: be proud of yourself. May 9 How Far Can You Reach?