Motivating others is a pain sometimes, isn’t it? In fact, even motivating ourselves is a problem as well.

The reason is probably a little more simple than we’d like to believe:


I know, this idea seems weird and some of you will look up the definition in a moment. But, think about it. Haven’t you ever noticed how you are not interested in a game, but agree to play anyway—only to find that you are passionately engaged after playing for a little bit? Most of us experienced the same thing with something as awful as homework. Once we get going it isn’t too bad (maybe it’s even a little bit fun).

You see, we are really looking at energy and motion (same root as motivation) when we are talking about motivation. Sure, you have desire to begin with, but the sense of EAGERNESS doesn’t happen until after you start taking action. So, here’s where the rub is when motivating others comes into play. Trying to force others to take action usually amounts to manipulation rather than motivation.

My simple suggestion is to try to inspire them to act (while honoring their own ‘free will’). The easiest way is just to INVITE them to give ‘it’ a try as an experiment. If action begets motivational energy, then we need to be looking to action. Maybe Dr. Seuss had it right with Green Eggs & Ham:

“I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.”
“Try them, try them, and you may! Try them and you may, I say.” 
If you try to spend time lecturing someone into action, then you are likely wasting your time. If you challenge them to read 10 pages of a book you give them before they put it on a shelf, you might just see something big happen!

Of course, the greater challenge is with ourselves. Why not do an experiment on cleaning your desk or writing that letter you’ve been putting off? Just try taking small actions (whether you feel like it or not) for a mere 5 minutes. If you are like almost everyone else in the world, then you’ll find that your ACTIONS lead to MOTIVATION.

What a cool insight, if I’m right!

Of course, there’s something else we can do that naturally leads to action; but, I’ll save that for my next note.


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