Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Wrong Source of Motivation

Tuesday we had a consultant from The Investors Group come in to speak to our team about maximizing opportunities for themselves, and how to turn a little something into a long term something. Basically, we wanted to have someone other than the manager (who they are used to) deliver a way in which we can take full control over our destiny instead of focusing on what we don't have.

Trevor (who definately swims upstream) did a great job. Not only did he point out how we can invest and better our lot in life (using simple and effective tools and a great delivery method)... he told us why we don't already do this.

The answer: disproportionate risk avoidance. This is a fancy phrase to say we are more afraid of losing than we are motivated by gaining. He asked one of our team members to come up and flip a coin. "if it's heads I will pay you $175... if it's tails, you pay me $100 - cool?" and of course our team member declined.

This makes no sense if you think about it unless we come back to how we wire ourselves to think... the law of large numbers states that flip enough times and the odds would have worked out in the team mates favor. The fact is, we hold onto our $100 we already have tighter than we do our goals of acheiving more.

This was obviously a financial example, but it can be tied into other realms very easily... we are afraid to risk period. We would rather remain comfortable than venture outside our comfort zone and 'risk' new experiances, relationships, and more.

It is easier to complain in the staff room about the working conditions than it is to put your hand up in a staff meeting in front of your peers and say, "I think we should try this...". This is because we know what it's like to want more, and we are okay with what we don't have even if we aren't happy. It is easier to be a victim but know what your day is like than to take a risk, be a champion, and venture into the unknown to affect change.

But it gets us no where! Even if we are not talking about your money... it's not good enough to complain but do nothing. The funny thing is, most victims complain about their situation, do nothing to remain in their comfortable surroundings and with people they know, but then complain about their surroundings and how they are surrounded by idiots!

So what do we do? That much is simple and scary. The action (in concept) is simple - put your hand up, say yes to the coin flip; take a risk. Taking the action (doing something) is scary because it is unknown. When we come to terms with the fact that it is the unknown we are afraid of, and not the change we want to affect, we will all move ourselves forward without hesitation.

So - stop disproportionate risk avoidance. Stop fearing change and choosing (by default) to remain where you don't want to be.

Start dispoportionate risk taking... start erring on the side of action vs talk. Start being the vehicle of change in your own life, and then tell others how (not easy but) effective it is.

If you find yourself telling someone else "I don't understand why I used to think that way..." then you'll know you've made it! So flip that coin and you'll give yourself $175 instead of hoarding less.

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