What Motivates People

what motivates peopleHave you ever wondered what motivates people? While motivation is complex, I’ve long asserted that people are motivated to do good when they feel good. In other words, your mindset affects your motivation and performance tremendously.

Like teachers and parents, sports coaches are in the motivation business. Have you ever heard of Dean Cromwell? He was the track coach of the University of Southern California from 1912 until his retirement in 1949. No other coach in collegiate track has ever approached his records. His teams won 21 national championships, had 13 world record holders, and at least one of his protégés won an Olympic gold medal during his 39-year coaching career.

Cromwell was a master at motivation. He knew how to get people to believe in themselves, which resulted in phenomenal performances from his athletes. He truly knew what motivates people.

He believed in always keeping everyone in an optimistic mood. Yet, he didn’t give fiery pep talks. Additionally, he always kidded on the “upside, never on the downside.” He never made fun of anyone—never a putdown, but always a buildup.

This highly successful coach believed that all athletes (read everyone) would try harder when they are seeking to live up to someone else’s image of them. For example, one year he had a champion pole vaulter named Bill Sefton on his team. He also had an unproven sophomore vaulter, Earle Meadows. Every time Sefton improved his own mark, Dean Cromwell would tell Meadows, “You can do it if Bill can.” One day Sefton broke the world’s record. A few minutes later Meadows tied it.

The point: Pump up a person’s good feelings if you want that person to succeed. That’s what motivates people.

What can you do for your students and children to motivate them to succeed? What image of them can you instill in their minds that will make them want to become that exceptional person? That’s what true motivation is really about. I welcome your comments about what motivates people on the Without Stress Tips Facebook page.