The otiose motivating force known as guilt

She used the harshest words she could think of against me. “Isn’t it our responsibility?” She asked.

I didn’t argue. “Yes, it is our responsibility to set an example.”

She thought she won until I continued. “But I’m still not going to do it.”

A few more choice words to put me in my place. The truth was though, that by this point of the conversation, there was no way I was going to agree to the action she demanded. Mostly because of her tactics. I have come to believe that guilt is not a sustainable motivating factor and I refuse to succumb to action because of it.

There is no juice, no fuel in guilt. Guilt may provide a spark, an umph but it rarely survives past that. That could be part of the reason gyms are crowded at the beginning of January but by February and on not so much.

So what motivates people to action? If I knew that secret my little blog would not be so little now, wouldn’t you agree? But here are a few ideas I’ll throw out and you can take it as you please.

1. People have to see the need or feel the want of the action. “Do as I say, not as I do” does not fly. You want me to do something I need to also feel the want. This ain’t easy because it requires a level of communication that requires understanding and patience.

2. People need to know the why. Okay, you want me to take this action but why? What is the purpose of me taking these steps? Honesty is the key here. Manipulating someone to action will only last so long. Eventually, they will know the true why.

3. People need to know the expected results. Is this going to help them? Or is this only going to benefit you? What will be the gain? Pretty safe to assume we all prefer to gain rather than lose.

4. People like cheerleaders but not always the typical Pom-Pom tossing, sideline cheerleader. A cheerleader can be any support system that works best for the person taking the action. In other words, if the person prefers silence the cheerleader will be silently supporting them. Don’t be so annoying the person avoids you altogether.

In the end, it really comes down to the fact that we won’t do what we don’t want to do. If you really need someone to take certain action you’re going to have to speak their language. You will have to motivate them in their own way.

Or, you know, you could just keep trying to guilt them into it and see how far that takes you. There is a chance I could be completely wrong. Just don’t try those guilt tactics on me.

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