Motivation 1: "Disaster"

Date: 9/5/2005

Lets explore  four ineffective ways that people use to motivate themselves--and how to correct them.

The first is called "disaster"  and it works by motivating yourself to do something by mentally picturing disasters that will happen if you don't  take action.  For example, a person may imagine himself flat broke as a way of motivating himself to look for a job.  He may mentally say  the following comment as he imagines the picture:

-----"If I don't look for a job now I may not find work and I won't have money for...."

While you might find that this does indeed motivate you it also puts you under a lot of unnecessary stress which in the long run is not healthy. It also may prove to be ineffective and lead to frustration.

This kind of motivation is fine for smaller, short term tasks: 

-----"If we don't leave for the airport now, we might miss the plane!"

The stress you create motivating yourself to rush to the airport is much less than the stress that would be created if you would miss the plane.

But for long range activities try replacing --or at least adding--positive motivation.  Imagine the benefits you would have with a job and say something like:

-----"If I go and look for a job I will find out about them before other people have filled them. I might even have a choice of jobs. I would have money for...."

Give it a try! Think of a time you motivated yourself with negative motivation.  Replay it in your mind but change the picture to one of the benefits you will reap by pursuing the task.   Also, change the wording to one of positive motivation as above.  Then, say it to yourself as you imagine the new, positive picture.  Compare how each makes you feel.  If positive motivation alone is not strong enough to motivate you, try adding some negative motivation before or after the positive.

(adapted from "Heart of the Mind" by Steve and Connirae Andreas)

Please send me your experiences relating to this article.