You’ve all heard the old question, “Why did the chicken cross the road?” To get to the other side.
It’s an old, dumb joke. But the more important question is “WHY did the chicken want to get to the other side?” Somehow or other he had to be motivated.
And every animal and every human being is motivated by one of two things: they’re either trying to get to something or they’re trying to get away from something. Or as the social psychologists would tell us … all human behavior is motivated by reward (the get-to motivation) or punishment (the get-away from motivation).
But these two traditional forms of motivation have their limitations. They only work to a certain point. For example, if you were to receive a $20,000 pay increase tomorrow, how many of you would do your jobs any differently? Not very many, I would wager. There’s come a point in get-to reward motivation that it no longer produces any huge differences in motivation levels or productivity outputs.
In other words, you can go to Sea World and feed Shamu the whale a fish every time he does a trick. And the better he performs, the more fish he gets. But there will come a time when you can feed Shamu any number of fish and it won’t up his performance one bit.
The same principle applies to get-away-from punishment motivation. You can put a shock collar on a dog and shock him every time he does something you don’t like. He’ll probably stop doing those things. But that dog has some built-in limits. You can shock him so hard and so often that you’ll eventually kill the dog, not just his behavior.
Well, I’ve got some good news for you. There’s a third secret in motivation that goes beyond the traditional reward and punishment motivation. Those old forms of motivaton work on the mind and body … BUT they do not touch the spirit … where the greatest of all motivation is to be found.
That third secret in motivation is tied in to purpose. When I ask people in my audiences how many of them want to reach their full potential, almost all their hands go up. When I ask them how many believe they’re on Earth to fulfill a purpose, all their hands go up again.
But when I ask them what their purpose is, all the hands go down. After all, none of them have ever had a course in discovering their purpose. They may have been to 12 or even 18 years of school without getting a single hour of training in discovering and living your purpose.
And that’s unfortunate. The part of us that is known as spirit DOES NOT respond to the traditional reward and punishment motivators. The infinite well of power lying in our spirits, ready to break forth, and accomplish great deeds, is driven by purpose. I encourage you to discover your purpose and then live your purpose. Your motivation … and resulting satisfaction, fulfillment, and success … willl astound you.
If you’re not sure how to find and live your purpose, please join me at my two-day program on “The Journey to the Extraordinary.” The next one is coming to Chicago on October 27-28, 2011. To read about it, go to