Monthly Archives: March 2010

Motivation from Inside

I get many calls from people wanting to know how to motivate someone else to do something (usually something they don’t want to do, like giving up smoking or getting more physically active). 

I recently came across an adorable and terrific study of about 51 kidlets between the ages of 3 and 4 who LOVE to draw (hang in there – there is a connection between the first paragraph and the results of this study):

Those conducting the study put the children in three groups.

. The first group was told they would get a certificate with a gold seal and ribbon if they took part in the project.
. The second group was just given crayons.
. The third group was the same as the second group, but they were given a surprise reward.

Then they watched them draw independently for many days afterward (so they could check out the long-range effects of giving a reward.  What they found was fascinating:

1. The kids who were told in advance about the reward put less effort into their drawings and their interest in drawing waned.
2. The kids with no reward or a “surprise” reward kept their motivation steady and drew more than the first group.

Bottom line?  People tend to do things they enjoy and when they do so, they are motivated from within.  When a reward is thrown into the equation, the motivation from without diminishes the motivation from within, because the reward itself becomes the motivation, and getting it (even by cheating or lying) becomes the goal.  That’s why a lot of people don’t want to make money off their hobbies – they somehow recognize that if they have to do it, it will lose something in terms of the enjoyment of it.  Motivation decreases and the process becomes painful.  Play becomes “work” when we get paid.

Normally, we separate work from play, and we do expect a salary for that work.  But the things we simply enjoy need to stay in the realm of inner pleasure and motivation.  We don’t work as hard at something when we have to get the reward.  Our natural talent for self-regulation is upset and damaged when a reward system is put into place.

So, manipulations with reward may work very temporarily, but then they rob individuals of their own positive attitude about the activity.

Encouragement is always the better technique, i.e., finding something wonderful to say about the person’s activity (on a philosophical level):  “Hey, it’s amazing how you can get into such a ‘Zen’ place and create out of thin air!  That must feel wonderful!”

And as for the spouse situation with smoking, overeating, under-exercising, and not helping around the farm or house, try this:  “Honey, you looked so happy when you _________(e.g., didn’t grab for a cigarette).”  In other words, pick on one small half of an iota to feed back the pleasure concept.  Keep it small or short, and then they might want to self-regulate in order to get that good feeling for themselves by themselves.

The Bonds of Marriage

Last weekend, I went to Kimberly’s wedding (she screens your calls every weekday on my radio program). This is what I experienced:

* A room full of loving people from two families, and lots of friends, all happy and excited for and about the bride and groom.
* A lovely ceremony outdoors in the sun, overlooking a beautiful mountain terrain.
* A groom whose tear ducts flowed uncontrollably the second he saw the  bride walking down the aisle in her beautiful white gown and veil.
* A bride glowing with joy and giggling with pleasure.
* A man who verbalized his promise to lay down his life for his wife; stating out loud his commitment to listen, understand, support, protect, provide,  and love her for the rest of his life.
* A woman who verbalized her promise to respect, support, understand, listen, and love her man for the rest of her life.
* The feeling that they both meant it.
* A lovely kiss.
* Guests blowing bubbles as they walked back up the aisle while they held onto each other (both just glowing).
* Photographs of them that their families put together which showed them from their respective births to their wedding day.
* A father/daughter dance; a mother/son dance with the parents moved to tears.
* A father singing to his daughter about being her “first love,” and shaking the hand of the man who would protect her and love her from this day  forward.
* The happy couple leaving for their honeymoon – to take time out to just be together in their new roles as husband and wife, and to celebrate their public and personal vows.

They will come back from their honeymoon and move into the home they both took the time to (individually) save up for before they married, and he will settle into the job that he took the time to train for and establish before he proposed marriage.  They took the time to really get to know one another and their families.  They took their time individually to be ready to take care of each other and their marriage in emotional and practical ways.

Do you still want to try to convince me or yourself that SHACKING UP is the same as marriage?

Quote of the Week

Passover affirms the great truth that liberty is the inalienable right of every human being.
               – Morris Joseph

Passover begins at sundown on Monday.

Tiger Woods is Still Lying

Tiger Woods is getting back to playing golf.  He’ll be participating in the Masters 2010 in Augusta, Georgia beginning April 5.  I know a lot of people are happy about that, because they like to watch him play, and without him, the interest in golf apparently diminished, with enterprises associated with audience interest taking a great financial hit since he’s been away from the game.

Frankly, I don’t care one way or the other.

Nonetheless, had a lengthy article focusing on Tiger’s “confessions.”  Evidently, he said he “was living a lie.”  Well, that’s true.  He was making lotsa money presenting himself as a clean-cut family guy, all the while arrogantly flying girls around the world to meet him for “sex breaks.”

He also said “Yeah, I tried to stop, and couldn’t stop.”  WHAT???  Where does the word “couldn’t” come from?  The only irresistible impulse is one which is not resisted.  He enjoyed that very enticing perk of fame and money:  the adoration of women and lot of varied sex.  There’s nothing new here in the history of mankind.

Once you cross that line, however, it gets easier and easier to feel as though you are safe and entitled, and it becomes a bigger and bigger part of your everyday life – whether your obsession is sex partners or donuts.

I’m disgusted that Tiger Woods is being yet another bad role model (“the devil made me do it, and I had to exorcise the devil in rehab”).  To me, he is still lying.  He could control his impulse any time he wanted to, but he didn’t want to.  The risk-taking was exciting, and the orgasms and feeling of sexual control over women was way too thrilling for him to decide to give up.  He’s giving it up now because it ended up costing him big-time.  See?  The decision was made when the math came out different from before.

In my book, Tiger Woods won’t change until he takes responsibility.  In his comments, he also said that “stripping away denial and rationalization, you start coming to the truth of who you really are, and that can be very ugly.”  True enough.  And he should say the truth:  that he enjoyed the perks, but that the trade-off ultimately wasn’t worth it.

Breast Milk As A Weapon

Recently, there was a news story about a woman who faced a felony charge of squirting breast milk into the face of a deputy law enforcement officer.

The woman, from Kentucky, was arrested for public intoxication. As she was changing into an inmate uniform after her arrest, she squirted a stream of breast milk into the face of the female deputy watching over her.

In the press release from the Kentucky Detention Center, the deputy de-contaminated herself from the “bio-hazard” and the woman was charged with third-degree assault.

The original charge, public drunkenness, was merely a misdemeanor offense; the assault is a felony charge and a $10,000 bond was set.

Of course, the media picked this up, and everyone chuckled at the story. People are debating about whether using breast milk as a weapon should constitute a felony assault case, and there are plenty of laughs going around.

The deputy, however, is not laughing.

She has to go through months of testing and waiting to see if she has contracted the HIV virus.

Sadly (and stupidly, I think), we can’t legally test the inmate immediately for HIV – some nonsense about privacy. We have to let the deputy wait, wonder, and worry. That’s simply not compassionate and certainly not fair.

That this inmate is drunk as a mother seems bad enough, but to intentionally squirt her bodily fluid into someone else’s face has the intent to humiliate or harm.

A felony charge is appropriate.

And that baby needs a better mother.

Botox Study is Laughable

A recent “non-study” purported to conclude that Botoxing the muscles between your eyeballs keeps you from frowning which feeds back to keep you from feeling bad, down, or negative.

In other words, if you can’t frown, you can’t be unhappy!

This is so stupid that it makes me wonder if the Botox industry paid this guy to come out with this as a means of changing the view of Botox from “cosmetic” to “injectable” psychotherapy.

You wanna be happy for the rest of your life?  Well, you can do that even if all your “emotion” muscles work, and even if you are not particularly attractive.  Anyone walking around in a deliriously joyful stupor just because they got a little plastic surgery is unbelievably superficial to start out with.
A few times a year, I get my frown lines Botoxed, simply because I furrow that line deeper and deeper when I think or concentrate.  It gives the impression to others that I’m frowning, when I’m perfectly content with the universe.  Besides, a furrow that deep takes a lot of makeup to fill in that crevice, so I think of it as a cost-cutting measure too (kidding)!

Right now, I’m writing this as I see the sun popping up from behind a mountain.  I am swept away by the majesty of this scene, and grateful that I am alive another day to experience this sunrise.  That makes me happy.   Being happy is mostly about what you choose to take in and what you’re willing to give out.
Forget stupid studies about frown lines….they’re meaningless against the beauty of a sunrise.