by Darrin Schenck

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by Darrin Schenck

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It is not often that I recommend focusing on the negative, but maybe I should.  And here is why, it can be the most motivating of circumstances.  Allow me to elaborate…

It is one thing to know that if I work hard at my job I will earn a paycheck and be able to pay my bills.  But what about the alternative?  If I don’t work hard (enough) at my job, I will get fired and then I will not be able to pay my bills.  To take it a step further, you could be kicked out of the place you live, not have money to buy food, etc.  What if it is not just you, but a spouse and kids to support as well?  Now all of you are on the street.  Sounds ominous, but then again you have driven past people on a street corner who probably have a similar story of how they ended up there.

Sometimes focusing on the negative is a stronger motivator than looking only at the positive.  If you were not worried about graduating college, you would sleep through classes and not take exams.  Because there is money involved in keeping you at school, people who are counting on you to perform, you get your butt to class and do your best to learn enough to graduate.  Some do a better job than others, but most are going to get the job done well enough to meet the goal.  The negative side of not doing so is a strong push towards getting across the finish line.

Maybe this is something you need to consider when a little extra motivation is needed.  I can tell you during my athletic career I spent a lot of time doing work and extra work to avoid losing.  Yes, you read that correctly, I was not preparing to win as much as I was working hard to avoid losing.  I hated the thought of losing to opponents that I was even with or slightly better than.  I could do a fair amount more work than maybe necessary with the motivating thoughts of getting handed a second place check or trophy.  It was easy for me to get that second wind when times were getting tough, all I had to do was dwell on the negative.  Not doing the work in advance opened me up to the possibility of losing far more than when I did the reps.  In my mind, it was a near guarantee that if I did the work now, I would not lose later.  This was not always the case, but is a 5 year run I went 135-9, so I think it was working for me.

You can put this same negative motivation approach to relationships as well.  If I get lazy and don’t make plans on a regular basis or buy flowers randomly and for no reason, my wife may start to think I am taking her for granted.  She might think that the way I look at her has changed, and she will start to act accordingly.  To put that same negative consequence spin on things, our relationship would deteriorate, causing more fights and an unhappy living environment.  Maybe eventually it would lead to divorce, a dividing of assets and a forced restart of life.  That would be awful and I would never want to experience that.  I am bound and determined to beat the odds and have a lifelong happy marriage and a true partnership throughout the years.  So I do the work; I make the effort.  I plan nights out, an occasional trip and I buy the flowers for no apparent reason.  I strive to make sure she knows, without a doubt that she is the only one for me, and I will do anything for her.

So as a recap, maybe looking at the negative side of things, the consequences of not doing something, is a better motivator than looking at the positive of doing that same thing.  I am a positive person, but have used the negative motivation many times in my life and I am a firm believer that this can be a strong motivator.  I would highly recommend that you work on this and use it when a little extra is needed to get something done.  It has worked wonders for me over the years.

I wish you luck in your endeavors.

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