EppsNet Archive: Motivation

10 Reasons That NY Times Chart Might Not Mean What You Think It Means

From the New York Times: Money is not the only metric for measuring life outcomes. Charts and articles like this seem to reflect an inappropriate obsession with narrowly materialist values. If you do want to measure your life with money, it looks like the 99th percentile is where you want to be. Why aren’t you there? Why aren’t you a CEO? Why aren’t you making a million a year? If you can’t figure out how to get there, don’t begrudge the people who did figure it out. If you don’t have the education, motivation, intelligence or skills to get there, don’t begrudge those who do. The amount of wealth is not a fixed amount. It’s not a zero-sum game. If it were, it would be concerning that a few people are very wealthy. But it isn’t. The distribution of income has to be skewed to the right because income is… Read more →

More Words and Phrases I’m Sick Unto Death Of

Americans are the fattest, dumbest people on earth . . . and because being fat and dumb are remediable given the proper motivation, it’s fair to say that Americans are also the most unmotivated people on earth. This is not to say that all Americans are fat, dumb and unmotivated. There’s a subset of Americans who get up every morning, brush their teeth, go to work, excel at what they do, come home, set the alarm and get up and do it again tomorrow. And take care of their families. These people are carrying the rest of the country on their backs. But for the average American, the best explanation for his or her life being the way it is is likely to be “I’m fat, dumb and unmotivated.” That’s a pretty tough admission to spit out though so most of us look around for something more palatable to sell… Read more →

BE THE HAMMER!

I’m a special teams coach. I get guys to run 60 miles an hour into each other and like it. I always tell my players: Be the hammer. Not the nail. — USC special teams coach John Baxter FIGHT ON! Read more →

Personal Goals

In any organization, no matter the size, the fundamental motivational unit is the personal goal. Any motivational scheme that does not build upon the diverse ecology of personal goals is doomed. — Jim McCarthy Read more →

Insulting People as a Public Service

There was a troubled-looking guy in Petco this afternoon giving away packets of Natural Balance dog food. He looked like a meth addict or something. As I walked past him, he mumbled, without making eye contact, “Want some free dog food?” “My dog won’t eat that shit,” I said, which is not true, but it certainly took the wind out of his sails. Now you might say I wasn’t very charming but by verbally assaulting him in that way, I was motivating him to rehabilitate himself and get a real job. Tough love . . . Read more →

No Accountability Without Volition

There is no accountability without volition, you’ve noticed, right? You can’t go “You got to ship that by November 1st and I am holding you accountable.” It doesn’t work that way. You can’t hold someone else accountable, you’ve got to hold yourself accountable. It’s just like you can’t motivate someone else; you got to motivate yourself. And the more that you motivate people and hold them accountable, the more infantile they become. — Jim McCarthy Read more →

The One-Sentence Motivator

My friend G.L. Hoffman has a great post over at U.S. News and World Report called “The One-Sentence Motivator.” His own one-sentence motivator (spoiler alert) is “Be the man you dreamed you could be when you were a little boy.” Here’s mine: To those who despair of everything reason cannot provide a faith, but only passion, and in this case it must be the same passion that lay at the root of the despair, namely humiliation and hatred. — Albert Camus It’s not as heartwarming as the little boy one but it gets me out of bed in the morning . . . Read more →

Interview FAQ: How Do You Motivate People?

In 1960, Douglas MacGregor of the MIT Sloan School of Management developed two theories of workplace motivation, Theory X and Theory Y. Theory X assumptions People have an inherent dislike for work and will avoid it whenever possible. People must be coerced, controlled, directed, or threatened with punishment in order to get them to achieve the organizational objectives. People prefer to be directed, do not want responsibility, and have little or no ambition. People seek security above all else. Theory Y assumptions Work is as natural as rest or play. People will exercise self-control and self-direction in the pursuit of organizational objectives. Commitment to objectives is a function of rewards associated with their achievement. People usually accept and often seek responsibility. Imagination, ingenuity and creativity are widely, not narrowly, distributed in the population. The intellectual potential of the average person is only partly utilized. I come down strongly in favor… Read more →

Profiles in Management: The Protector

Cast of Characters Manager, the leader of a software project that is floundering because his needlessly complex design cannot actually be implemented. Programmer, a programmer on the project.   Manager: Keep working hard, and I will protect you should things break down. Programmer: Protect me from what? That sounds kind of ominous. Manager: Some people may be worried that if the project fails, they may get a bad review, or not get a bonus. But I’m looking at whether or not people are working hard, even if the project isn’t going well. So as long as you’re not goofing off, and you don’t have a bad attitude, you should be all right.   A “bad attitude” in these cases is defined as pointing out that 20 people have been working on the project for two months without producing a single working line of code, because they’ve been asked to yoke… Read more →