Why those silly motivational photos don’t work.


Not a day goes by that you don’t see another one of those silly motivational quotes attached to cute picture of someone gazing over a cloudy snow covered rain forest. Occasionally we are moved enough to tap the like button but I question whether we have ever had an earth moving experience in which the words on the picture jump off so hard that it knocks us off our feet and into a new pathway that is profoundly different to one we are currently on. The reason they don’t work is simply – the words on the page talk to our cognitive / logical brain and not to emotional brain – the statement might make logical sense, but emotionally I am simple not invested. Our emotional brain has no propensity for language, it simply feels. While our cognitive brain then tries to kick in an provide an explanation to the situation (we often refer to this as the features and benefits). Here is another way of thinking about it – most car sales people will try and sell you a car based on the features and benefits of the vehicle, while you think these factors are swaying you to make a decision the reality is you select the car based on one simple fact  – it just feels right. Don’t get me wrong the chances of buying a sports car when you need an SUV is slim but comparing the latest BMW to the Lexus will have little to do with features and more to do with your emotions.  So back to those pesky photos – our motivations to achieve a goal should be considered on a continuum. The Motivational continuum mind-set suggests we are either motivated to succeed (MTS) or motivated to avoid failure (MAF). My new book explores this concept and simply suggests that we are more successful when we see failure as a stepping stone to future success (MTS) rather than viewing failure as threat to our ego and psyche. So the next time you set your mind on achieving a goal – ignore the silly photos and rather channel your energy to ensuring you have the appropriate level of accountability to achieve the goal, you learn from your mistakes (but aim to make them quickly and cheaply), and finally use behavioural strategies instead of cognitive ones (difference between saying you will get up early for a run vs placing an alarm clock on the other side of the room forcing you to get up)

Now go for that run and enjoy it!

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