Monday, October 22, 2012

Let me be your motivation: Why having your butt handed to you can be a good thing

I've been thinking a lot about motivation lately. Where is it? Is there a motivation GPS for sale? If not, somebody needs to get on that, because we'd all be better, more productive people if we could just find the motivation needed to change our self-defeating behaviors.

Speaking as someone who has a lot of ish that needs to be changed, my motivation for changing isn't always rooted in life experiences or just a desire to better a person. Sometimes I do something that's embarrassing or humiliating, and that's plenty motivation to NOT have a repeat performance. That's probably not the best reason to "do betta," but it works and you can't argue with success.

Take President Obama for example (yeah, let's just start at the VERY TOP, shall we?). As you we all know, the first presidential debate with Money Makin' Mitt was a failure of epic proportions. POTUS turned in an embarrassing debate performance that shifted the polls and gave Romney momentum in the final weeks leading up to the election, all in one friggin' night.  Uh, ungood.

Fast forward to the second debate on Oct. 16, and POTUS brought is "A" game. He gave Mittens a drubbing that talked the Democrat base off the cliff and contained the damage done in the first debate, again in one freakin' night (debates are funny that way). The downside/upside of all this: Tonight is the last debate.

While winning the election seems like the obvious motivator here, you can't deny the embarrassment factor in the POTUS' debate turnaround. I'm sure that the president had a lot of thoughts running through his head when watching the first debate replay, such as:
  • Man, I should have actually taken this debate seriously. Too much is at stake. 
  • I'm better than this. 
  • Well, that was a HOTTTT mess. 
  • God, I wanna punch Romney in his smug face.
I kid about the last one (well, not really), but you see my point.  Being embarrassed forces you to assess your behavior, and used correctly, can serve as a catalyst for positive change. Here's why:

1. Embarrassment bursts your bubble

Being embarrassed has a way of pricking your protective bubble and forcing you to rejoin the real world. You can't do better until you pull your head out of the sand and confront your issues.

2. Embarrassment forces you to be honest with yourself

OK, now that you've shaken off the sand, get serious and ask the hard questions: Why did this embarrassing thing happen? Was it something beyond your control? Or, did you take a situation/person for granted and not get the response and/or behavior you expected? At this point it's easy to cast blame on everyone but yourself, but it's a losing battle. You know the truth. Accept it, take responsibility and make a plan for change.

3. Embarrassment awakens your determined nature and competitive spirit
You were embarrassed doing something that you know that you can do, but you didn't live up to your own standards. It's not for lack of knowledge, skill or ability, but you "bring it" for whatever reason. You're better than this and  you're going to prove it, to yourself. Success leads to confidence and confidence leads to success (at least I think so). 

All of this is of course easier said than done because embarrassment just doesn't feel good when it happens. It stings, burns, get my point. However, once you get past the initial pain, man up; see it for the blessing in disguise that it is; and turn that damaging negative into a triumphant positive.

Was this post random enough for ya? Yeah, I thought so.

Stay random,

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