The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Early motivations

When talking to leaders, I’ll often hear about the elegant motivations they have. Archie, for example, is focused on assisting the development of young and aspiring team members. He explains how he finds pleasure in seeing them change their way of acting.

And while this is certainly true, it is the motivation he shares with everyone. The ability to share it with everyone helps people persuade themselves and others that they are doing what is appropriate. They stick to what they expect society will validate as the right behavior.

Quite often, however, when one asks a few more times what it is that they find motivating other ideas will appear. But below there often still is a motivation that pushes people and that they don’t dare to share. They hesitate to talk about it, as it seems so small, could indicate desires that make one feel ashamed, or lead to feeling somewhat helpless compared to all the successful people around.

In his newsletter, Arnold Schwarzenegger shares how he didn’t always have the motivation he has today. In his youth, and for his daily motivation he would also think about the way girls could look at him and his muscles or how his daily training would one day prove his teacher wrong. As he wrote: “Absurd goals have driven people since the beginning of time.” And he goes on to talk about Michael Jordan who “wanted to prove the coach that cut him in high school wrong.” It led him to become the greatest basketball player of all time.

Both, Jordan and Schwarzenegger, changed their objectives and motivations as their careers unfolded. They didn’t stop their career once they had proven their teacher wrong. But they had these objectives as they served to get the fire started.

They needed something that would kindle their fire and fuel them. This is true for everyone. But people often hesitate to admit it openly and to the world.

And as they don’t talk about it, those who only hear others talk about somewhat lofty motivations will find themselves wondering about their own objectives. To an extent, they assume that their objective might not be good enough.

They can’t yet see how far even the smallest motivation can carry them.


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