For some of us, we are highly motivated by stupid stuff.
Some of us are motivated because we want to prove ourselves to others. I remember one of my managers early in my career in the hospitality industry saying I would never be an entrepreneur. There’s nothing more I love than someone telling me I can’t do something. It’s like this smouldering fire inside of me getting a few massive logs tossed on it. I just have to prove them wrong.
And then there’s the prove ourselves to our parents. Anyone still doing that? Think about it, though. It works. We spend years and years trying to live up to our parent’s expectations. Some of us go to therapy because of it. Others use this dysfunction to drive us to new heights.
Another example is from my book, Raise Your BAR, where I describe the power of perfect strangers. When we were teenagers, our parents would say something like, “If everyone at school jumped off a bridge, would you?” Back then, it was called peer pressure but as adults, the pressure doesn’t have to come from our peers. It can come from perfect strangers. Have you ever kept running just to show the other people in the park that you were a runner not a walker? Or have you bought something you really didn’t need but because “everyone else had one”, you needed one too? I remembered the queues that went on for blocks when McDonald’s had Hello Kitty dolls as a promotion. Was everyone in that queue a die-hard Hello Kitty fan? Of course not. It’s the power of a bunch of perfect strangers.
Some of us are just rebels and get motivated by doing the opposite of what everyone else does. When the market tanks, I buy. The more bad news there is about a particular sector or a region, the more I’m investing. If everyone else is going left, we go right. It’s just how we are.
The cool thing is that even though it’s dysfunctional to be motivated by some of these things, once you are aware of your dysfunction, you can use it to your advantage. What others see as a liability becomes your asset. Why change something that works for you? As I always say to my clients, if it’s not broken don’t fix it. If being motivated by what other people tell you can’t do or by perfect strangers works for you, why change it? If being motivated by proving your father wrong keeps you obtaining your personal best, why fight it?
Discover your rebel side and use it to propel you forward. What’s your fight? Who do you need to prove wrong? Who do you need to impress? Even if that someone will never know how you won in the end. Sometimes having a competition with someone who doesn’t even know there’s one going on is the best fun you’ll ever have!