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DESIRE

 

Now that we've started a discussion of what motivation is, let's consider briefly what motivation isn't.

 

First, wanting something is nor motivation. These are two different concepts. Just because you desire some­thing doesn't mean you're motivated to attain it.

Case 1: Writing a. book. For many years I wanted to write a book. I felt I had something important to offer others, and I believed I knew how to communicate it. I desperately wanted to be an author. In truth, writing a book was a lifelong desire. However, I never seemed to have the time to write; I was always too busy.

I may have wanted to write a book, but I certainly wasn't motivated. To be motivated means you actually have to expend effort. And I never did.

Case 2: Starting a business. I have a friend who con­stantly dreams about leaving his job and starting his own business. He talks to me excitedly about what he plans to do. He complains constantly about how he's undervalued at work, how he hates working for some­one else, and how much having a business of his own will be good for him and his family. And I cheer him on and give him advice. But guess what? He's been talking to me about this for several years now.

I conclude that he wants badly to own his own busi­ness, and that this is a huge desire in his life. But I can't conclude he's motivated to start a business. What's miss­ing here? He needs to actually do something. He needs to put forth effort.

Case 3: Going back to school. I know someone else who wants to go back to college to finish her degree. It is something she says she needs to accomplish. As a single parent, she believes finishing her degree will be good for her, her career, and the family she's trying to raise. I have tried to encourage her. Apparently her em­ployer has offered to help with tuition and occasional time off to go to classes. Guess what? She and I have had this conversation at least four times over a two-year period, but she has yet to take the first step.

I'm convinced she wants to finish her degree. But I'm just as convinced she's not yet motivated to attain that degree. Why? I don't see the single most important in­gredient from her, one that I can't help her with... effort.

Again: wanting something and being motivated are not the same thing!

INSPIRATION

Being inspired by someone or something is also not the same thing as motivation.

For example, I occasionally hear people talk about how a particular speaker at a conference or seminar had a motivational impact on the. audience (in fact, we call such people "motivational speakers," don't we?)Some­one comes back from a talk of this sort and says things like, "She really motivated me," or "She motivated our whole group," or "I felt motivated after hearing her." This can also sometimes happen to people after listen­ing to an audiocassette, viewing a "motivational" video, or even after reading a "motivational" book.

My interpretation is this. The conference speaker may have kept your attention and entertained you. The speaker may have even taught you something impor­tant about your life, values, and outlook. Or perhaps even inspired you. But if all you do is quote the speaker and talk about the experience, then the speaker didn't actually motivate you. For if you were in fact motivated by the speaker, we would now be seeing something spe­cial from you. You would be doing something. We would see goal-directed effort.

RESOLUTIONS

Making a resolution is also not motivation.

I often ask groups the following question, "How many of you have ever made a New Year's resolution?" Most hands in the audience immediately rise. The next question is, "How many have made a New Year's resolu­tion to either lose weight or exercise more?" Just as many hands stay in the air, often with grins on faces and the sudden sounds of laughter in the room.

 

Unfortunately, making a New Year's resolution is not the same as having the drive to carry it out, for when I ask groups what happened as a result of their resolu­tions, I also get a universal reply. For most people the commitment on New Year's Day is invariably short-lived. It is clear to me that a resolution is a desire, a want, or perhaps a wish. Making a resolution is not the same thing as being motivated.

To Be Continued

For balance of this article, click on the below link:

Lean Manufacturing Articles and click on Series 14


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