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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The devil made me do it

Last night on The Biggest Loser, Alison Sweeney informed Bob & Jillian's team that they had been "destroyed" in last week's weigh-in by the "Uknowns," the team training with Ninja Guy and Boxing Gal. Ali gave Bob & Jillian's team a challenge. Win the weigh-in this week and no one would be eliminated, plus the winning team would win $10,000.

The team rallied, worked hard, worked together and came out victorious -- keeping their team intact and earning the money to split among themselves. But it got me thinking about motivation.

It doesn't seem that Bob & Jillian's team was motivated most by the money. It was kind of a nice bonus. They were certainly motivated by the promise of immunity for everyone, the chance to stay on the ranch for one more week. But it seemed to me that they were most motivated by pride, not wanting to wind up in second place again.

Then I started thinking about what motivates me to do certain things. In the case of last year's Go Red for Women Better U challenge, I was motivated to eat right and exercise in large part by the knowledge that I'd be parading in front of 1,000 people at the Go Red for Women luncheon. Being the the first-born people pleaser that I am, I am frequently motivated by a desire for approval, which leads to me to sometimes say yes to things when I'd really rather say no. Sometimes I'm led to do things out of a sense of fear (though that same feeling can stop me in my tracks as well).

As parents, we often get our children to do things by either holding out a carrot -- a late bedtime, extra videogame time, a treat at the store, or by holding a negative consequence over them -- early bedtime, no videogames for the day, an extra chore.

But as has been shown by the competitors on season after season of The Biggest Loser and in countless other life examples, those who are most successful at whatever they set out to achieve are those who find their motivation from within. So my question is where does that internal desire come from? How do we nurture it in ourselves? How do with cultivate it in our kids? 

What accomplishment are you most proud of and what motivated you to achieve it?

Because this is sort of thought-provoking post, I'm linking it up with Shell's "Pour Your Heart Out" meme for today. 


Joanie said...

Oh, wasn't it mean of the Unknowns to send donuts to J & B's team? Good for them for getting rid of them and not retaliating! And then beating them at their own game! I was really happy to see J & B's team win the weigh-in!

I was motivated to quit smoking 19 years ago and I'm proud to say I've never picked up a cigarette since!

Shell said...

I think it takes time for kids to develop that intrinsic motivation. We can help by not always offering a reward for something, but I think it's something that comes with time.

I know I HATE to be last in anything. I don't even have to be first, but I better not be last.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...I think my motivation comes from not wanting to give up as I get older.

I get comments like "oh, you look good for (fill in the blank...your age, for having two kids).

How am I supposed to look? Am I supposed to give up and wither away quietly?

Amy said...

@Joanie -- Your lungs and your skin and teeth thank you for giving up smoking so long ago!

@Shell -- Good thought about not rewarding kids for everything.

@hotmess -- I need some of that motivation instead of allowing my age be an excuse.