Gene Castelli from Columbus, Ohio writes: We think of the word “motivation” and its derivatives, and a picture comes to mind of the athlete being “motivated” to win, or the actor finding his “motivation” for the role he/she is playing, or being spell bound by a great “motivational” speaker. What we often don’t remember is that every single aspect of life is guided by motivation or the lack of (often quickly followed by another term “failure”).
Motivation is not an overcoat we throw on when we feel we need it, it is a constant every day situation we practice from the most mundane task to the most specific life changing task we could ever imagine. It is quite possibly the most powerful force (other than love) that makes us what we are today. To motivate your children, you need to understand what motivation is.
Staying with the sports theme, we all have seen the movie scene: the coach and his players in the locker room, and the coach is giving a rousing speech about winning and whips the team into a frenzy and they whoop and holler and go out a door onto the field and win the game. Now, set that same scenario, the same coach, same speech, same chants of “Win! Win! Win!” and the players run out through another door and into the pool. Why? Motivation without direction is frustration.
You can’t be balanced; you have to be balanced to do something.
You can’t be organized; you have to be organized to do something.
You can’t just be motivated; you have to be motivated to do something.
Motivation without direction is like an octopus on roller skates; lots of movement but you never know if it’s going to be backwards, forward or sideways.
There are three basic forms of motivation, but only the third will get you the best results, whether you are trying to motivate your children to be better at school, clean their room, or just be polite to other people. All of the below work to some extent, and I’m not saying abandon the first two, but use them sparingly. Put your efforts into the third one and you will start to see amazing results.
The 3 types of motivation are:
Reward motivation: Do this and you’ll get a raise; do this and you’ll get a new car. The problem is you eventually will run out of rewards, or the rewards don’t mean as much. I remember when my oldest son Taylor was 6 years old, first grade, and came home with a spelling paper, and his teacher, gave him a gold star. “Daddy, Daddy, look at what Miss Jones gave me, a gold star,” and he’s beaming all over the place. We take his paper with the gold star and whack it up on the refrigerator. I have 4 boys, so we had to get a second refrigerator for all the test papers, whack, whack, whack. But he was motivated by that gold star. Well, Taylor’s gotten older, he’s in high school, and can you image the same scenario, if his teacher put a gold star on his paper. “Look what that witch did, she put this goofy star on my paper, I can’t get it off, I was going to turn it in for my other class next semester.” Same process, but now he’s not motivated, so reward motivation, while good, in itself is short term
Punishment: Do this or you’ll stay after school; do this or you’ll be fired. But how much can you really punish someone? Remember you always have a choice. Do this or you’re fired. You have the choice; Ok not a great choice but a choice. In any negative situation, and punishment motivation is a negative situation, what happened to you is not important. What’s important is how you react to what happened. Latest research shows that punishment motivation can stop someone from doing the wrong thing, but it cannot guarantee them from doing the right thing. In the absence of positive motivation, most people will perform just above punishment.
WIIFM: The one style of motivation that will always work. WIIFM – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Everyone on the planet is tuned to this frequency, every day, every second. The call letters explain it all. WIIFM – What’s In It For Me. If you need to motivate someone to do something, the best way is not only to tell them why it’s good for you, but more importantly, why it’s good for them.