The Problem With Motivation

My answer is always the same - you may get want you want in the short term, but everyone will lose out in the long therm. It’s the problem with motivation.

At every parenting seminar that I lead someone will ask, in a fretful voice, “Is it ok if I bribe my kids?” There is always some level of hesitation; the parents feel that, even though it sometimes seems to work, something is not quite right. And yet they think it can’t be all bad. Can it?

It never fails - the next question, after I give the reason why, is, “Well, then, how do I motivate my kids?”

It is basically the same question that I got as a guest speaker in a college class on project management: “How do I motivate my coworkers when they are not working up to expectations?”

You can’t. It’s the problem with motivation.

Curiosity Turns Your Brain Into A Sponge (In A Good Way)

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of trying to spoon-feed a toddler, you know that you have to dress appropriately - it’s going to be a mess. Something resembling a hazard suit might be the most appropriate, with plastic spread across the floor in all directions. Please do not attempt this without a water hose at the ready.

The effort itself doesn’t sound all that tough: put content on transfer mechanism, convey to recipient who then chews and digests it. That is the idea, at least, and some of that banana-carrot-mango-sauce might actually make into the baby’s mouth.

The Fruits of a Problem May Be the Problem

Old agricultural metaphor are fascinating - sometimes we are using them even though the closest we ever get to harvesting a crop is squeezing a tomato in the store; the thought of even getting dirt under your nails may send shivers down your spine. One of the most common is the idea of bearing fruit.