Posts Tagged external motivation

Improve Your Life with the Levels of Development

If you’re like most people, you probably want to improve your life in some way. Whether it’s improving your decision-making skills, your relationships, or your job situation, the desire for change and life improvement is an important human urge. No wonder there are so many books and websites dedicated to personal and professional growth.

In my own experience and in working with countless others, I have found that once you implement the Levels of Development into your life, change and growth are natural byproducts. That’s because the Levels of Development essentially gives you a rubric for making decisions and living your best life. It’s one of the simplest tools to use to improve your life

How is this possible? It’s … >>>


How the Levels of Development Help Us Understand Motivation

I created The Levels of Development to help people of all ages understand the difference between external motivation and internal motivation. While it’s true that technically all motivation is internal, often external factors prompt us to take action. This is the case for both adults and children. Knowing why you’re doing something is important for decision making, acting responsibly, and ultimately reducing stress.

So let’s quickly review The Levels of Development. As with any hierarchy of levels, the most advanced or highest level is placed at the top.

Levels Of Development

LEVEL D – Democracy (highest level)

  • Develops self-discipline
  • Demonstrates initiative
  • Displays responsibility
  • Does good because it is the right thing to do
  • The motivation is INTERNAL.

LEVEL C – … >>>


Both Internal and External Motivation are Part of Life

When it comes to motivation, many people believe that internal motivation is the only one that’s important. That’s not necessarily true. Both types help us live our life to the fullest.

The Levels of Development highlights both internal and external motivation. And it’s important to realize that we live our lives on all levels of the Levels of Development.

Rich Lowry, in his book “Lincoln Unbound” (2013), states that some people convinced Lincoln to run for the Illinois state legislature in 1832. He was just 23 at the time. This was certainly external motivation. I had similar experiences when a colleague suggested I become a high school principal. (At the time, I already had served as a high school assistant … >>>


Understanding Internal Motivation and Feelings

Very often, people don’t fully understand why they do or think things. Are thoughts, feelings, and actions driven by internal motivation or external motivation?

Let’s look at feelings and how internal and external factors affect them. Most people have a hard time untangling the sources of various positive and negative feelings and are prone to misunderstand their causes. In a classic demonstration of this, the current day’s weather affected how people being interviewed rated how well their entire life had been up to that point. They were more likely to characterize their whole existence as sunny when the weather was nice. Conscious awareness of this reaction, however, brought about an immediate change. When the interviewers called attention to the weather … >>>


Discipline and the Raise Responsibility System

In the Raise Responsibility System, we speak of Levels of Behavior, with Levels C and D being the two highest. The main difference between the two lies in the difference in motivation. While an action at Level C and D can look identical, it is the difference in the MOTIVATION that identifies one person’s action as being at Level C and another person’s as being at Level D. When your students are acting at either level, discipline issues are greatly diminished.

Here is an example to clarify the difference in the two levels:

Students at Level C do home assignments, but only after being reminded by a parent. At Level D, students complete home assignments simply because they know that … >>>


Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – December 2014

Volume 14 Number 12


  1. Welcome
  2. Promoting Responsibility
  3. Increasing Effectiveness
  4. Improving Relationships
  5. Promoting Learning
  6. Parenting
  7. Discipline without Stress (DWS)
  8. Reviews and Testimonials 




My moods are my responsibility.

(Remember that the ONLY way to change an emotion is to redirect your thinking. Emotion ALWAYS follows cognition.)


External motivators unfortunately are used extensively in schools and homes. These include telling young people what to do, threatening and punishing them, and rewarding them for things that they should do. These approaches teach young people OBEDIENCE. The shortcomings of obedience appear when teachers and parents are not around to use these EXTERNAL motivators.

The “Raise Responsibility System” focuses on internal motivation, which builds the vision

>>> READ MORE >>>

Explaining the Difference between Internal and External Motivation

Using a  butterfly analogy easily explains the Hierarchy of Social Development.

A major problem in learning occurs when students exhibit inappropriate behavior during a lesson. The usual approach in working with the youth in question is to refer to the irresponsible behavior. This approach oftentimes leads to an escalation of anxious feelings on the part of both the teacher and student. The reason is that anyone, regardless of age, finds it extremely difficult to separate oneself from one’s behavior. You can prove this to yourself by reflecting on your last evaluation. Was your self-talk something like, “Well, my evaluator is not talking about me-just my job performance”? If you didn’t separate yourself from your performance, how can we expect a … >>>


Are all class incentives discouraged in this discipline approach?


I’m new to Discipline without Stress so bear with me.  I’m wondering if whole-class incentives for staying on Level C or D is appropriate.  For instance, if the whole class can stay on Level C or D for a certain amount of time, then could there be some sort of reward like a movie, free time or Preferred Activity Time?  Does this completely fly in the face of Discipline without Stress?  Are all incentives discouraged?


I can only speak for myself but here are several reasons why I, personally have decided not to offer incentives in my teaching:

1)  The basis of the Discipline without Stress program is that it’s counterproductive to reward expected behaviors.

2)  Once an … >>>


Research on PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports)

I received the following excerpt from a doctoral dissertation and reproduce it with the author’s permission:

“As you can tell from the dissertation excerpts I sent you, I have thoroughly researched your approach to discipline, as well as countless others. Unfortunately, the many other more traditional approaches have failed us as educators. I spent the past nine years in administration trying to make a difference in public education.

“But more importantly, I wanted to impact the course of public education positively. Catching kids doing something good and then reinforcing those acts by positive rewards is a component of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) that I experienced firsthand. As a matter of fact, I was delighted to spend my first … >>>


When to Teach the Raise Responsibilty Sytem


I had the pleasure of hearing you speak in New Orleans. Thank you for your encouraging words.

I am a fourth grade teacher who desperately wants to move away from students only working for rewards, which is the nature of “behavior plans” at my school. After implementing a few of your strategies in my classroom, I am pleased with the way my students have responded. Because I, and all their previous teachers, have used rewards, I am unsure how the students will react if I do away with all tangible rewards.



Use principle two, CHOICE, of the THREE PRINCIPLES TO PRACTICE of the Discipline Without Stress Teaching Model.

Rather than stopping the use of rewards, give … >>>


I’m a bit put off by the “reverse A-D system.”

I teach Marvin Marshall’s Discipline without Stress levels but I’m a bit put off by 
the “reverse A-D system.” D being the best goes so opposite to how we usually think of grades or levels.

Although it’s true that school letter grades and the Discipline without Stress Hierarchy levels are arranged in opposite orders, at my K-6 school we have never experienced any 
confusion with this. I think that’s because we purposely 
do everything we can to keep grades separate from discussion of the Discipline without Stress Hierarchy. The 
two are not connected. Certainly, both provide tools of evaluation, but one is a 
tool of EXternal evaluation and one is a tool of INternal evaluation.

The Hierarchy is … >>>


What can be done so students know that the intrinsic is always most important?

I will start teaching next year and would like to get some ideas on behavior management and the use of rewards. I’m looking at a variety of discipline approaches, including Discipline without Stress.

I have a question: If a teacher does choose to provide extrinsic rewards, what should he or she do to make sure that students know that the intrinsic is always most important?

Would you agree that actions speak louder than words?

If a teacher chooses to reward a student extrinsically––but at the same time tells the student that the intrinsic reward is always more important––what message does the student actually receive?

If this is done routinely, sometimes both at home and … >>>