Unlikely motivation sources

What motivates you?  Money? Power? Hot girls? Hot guys?

Once day, I was talking to friend of mine who is in management.  We were talking about what motivates people.  He asked what motivated me most.  I told him, an insane challenge, learning something new, and helping people. However a few years ago, had someone asked me that questions, I would have said money, but I would have been wrong.

I asked him what motivated people in the work place because he always had the happiest most dedicated employees.  I had worked for him, and I cried the day I left.  Not so much for the work, because I enjoyed working with him so much.  He told me it was a balancing act of making sure people felt challenged within their limits, secure in their job, and feeling like they are useful. However, when asked, almost everyone thought they were motivated by money.

We went on to talk about how money is a short term motivator.  Giving someone a 15 percent raise, may make them very happy for a few weeks, but it does not last.   It does not give them a jump of gusto to push through a tough project 5 months after the raise. Give someone millions of dollars and many people would quit.

Most people though aren’t really wiling to do what it takes to be a multimillionaire.  If someone told you to be rich as you can imagine, you would have to, study in school, learn a lot, work hard, do what you love but spend lots of time doing it, sacrifice other areas for a while (maybe even a long while) while you get that going, many people aren’t willing to what it takes.

I see this very clearly every day.  A perfect example, I was talking to some people where I used to work.  One day, someone asked me a question, and I answered it.  They always seemed to be in awe that people actually read for fun sometimes.  One said, “Wow, I would give anything to be as smart as you.  To know what you know”.  A bunch of people agreed with her.

I told her she did not mean that.  She looked surprised and said of course she did, and everyone else nodded in agreement.

I asked her if she was willing to turn off the tv and do more?  Put down stars magazine and read a book? Research questions when you have them instead of just brushing it off ?  Trying new things instead of doing the same thing over and over again?

They all looked at me and blankly said, they are not willing to give up TV (and their narrow lives) to be smarter.

I talked to someone today, who thinks they are motivated by money.  I would say if they listed their top 5 motivators for their life money would be close to the top of that list.  However, dangling money in front of her has never worked.  However, anger and frustration are great motivators for her.  She has to get angry and frustrated to take action in her life.  She has to be unhappy to want to create change.

What really motivates you?  What really pushes you to take action?

Here are some ideas:

  • Family
  • Children
  • Security
  • Love
  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • A challenge
  • Helping people
  • Helping animals
  • Helping the earth
  • Hate
  • Staying happy
  • Food
  • Power
  • Stuff (eg keeping up with the Joneses, boats, planes, toys, etc)
  • A passion (theoretical physics, vampires, surfing, flying, extreme sports .. there is a reason sky divers have the saying, live to jump, jump to live)
  • Compassion
  • Knowledge
  • Learning
  • Retirement
  • Sleep
  • Good health
  • Travel
  • Super powers
  • Risk
  • Money
  • A cause (animal rights, world hunger, saving the earth)
  • Justice

And that is a short list :D

What motivates a baby?  If you put a stack of 100-dollar bills in front of them, do they care?  Or would they rather have the bright red apple in your hand?  To change anything, they cry.  Their motivations are for basic needs and to be entertained, played with, and loved. Ah, if only adults were so simple.  Some are though :)

Motivations that can be achieved are good, but then the motivation goes away once accomplished.  If you are motivated to by the goal to have 1 million dollars, then unless you change your goal, once you have 1 million dollars you wont be motivated anymore by it.  However, if you are motivated by the service you created to get a million dollars then you are more likely to continue forward with passion and motivation for what you are doing.

If you are motivated to be in shape by an upcoming marathon, then after the marathon is over, the motivation to stay in shape fades unless you can find a more permanent motivator to stay in shape, such as loving the runners high, hiking/physical adventures around the world.

In different parts of my life, I am motivated by different things.  Physically to be in shape, I am motivated by travel and having extreme adventures around the globe.  Personally, I am motivated by knowledge and challenge, creating positive change in the world, love, and peace.

What motivates you?  Look back in your life to where you took the biggest steps forward.  What kept you on track doing what you feel is important?  How can you create that for yourself now?

Adrienne :)

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