Such a fleeting thing, this motivation. And yet, so very very critical. The graphic above is so fabulously scientific with those big big words that may or may not make sense in your daily life. Hygiene? Really? I’m motivate by whether I can take a shower or not? Ok, I know that’s not the real translation, but that’s what popped into my wee little brain when I read it.
And self-actualization? Lordy – big words that say ”hey, I motivate myself, thank you very much”
What I do get from that chart is just how abstract the whole thing is. And it can change daily..heck, even hourly, right? For sure it changes as you age.
What has me thinking about it is Alex and his utter and complete apathy towards school & learning in general. I was at my wits end with him again last week and his grades dipped yet AGAIN and just a week before finals no less. Basically he needs to rock his tests over the next three days in ways he has NEVER shown before in order to prevent failing grades in 3 of his 5 classes.
He is currently NOT responding to this method of motivation:
We’ve removed all the fun extras in his life AND postponed his driving lessons/permit until he reaches a specific GPA.
So I asked him last week – does he have ANY idea what is up? My mom had justifiably suggested it could be a result of the concussion he sustained in October. EXCEPT….he’s been this way since 5th grade quite honestly. It just seems to get worse every year. So it’s got to be something internal for him.
The trouble is, at 15 the whole “self-actualization” concept is REALLY foreign unless they are blessed to be born with some intrinsically deep passion for a particular field of study.
So when all the adults around him are stressing the importance of good grades to allow him to get into college – four more years of hated school all the while floundering around not having a damn clue what he wants to do – his mind thinks – why bother? Money and career are too abstract to him. That’s still all out there in that nebulous “future” thing.
This is his current opinion on “motivation”:
It’s not real. There are no obvious goal posts as there are in football. There is no home plate to step on like in baseball, no visible finish line to cross with a medal handed to you at the end.
He’s outgrown the more childish motivators – rewards of money or video games or anything like that. But he hasn’t been able to figure out what the next step is. I think he has a DESIRE to figure it out, that his inability thus far TO feel any passion for any field of study or possible career is frustrating him as more of his peers do start to figure it out. And I do know that if he is overwhelmed, he shuts down.
I know I want him to have what I have – a job/career that not only provides the bottom half of that pyramid – you know, money so I can buy soap to take daily showers (!) but it also provides me the warm fuzzies at the top half too.
I guess that is my new motivation – to help him find his. Because I really really don’t want him to end up like this: