Note: This is a guest post by David B. Bohl of SlowdownFAST.
Imagine you are giving one of the biggest and most important presentations of your life to a potential new client or business partner. You are sure that you know it all and can win them over, so you go in thinking that it will be a piece of cake. You whip out the fancy PowerPoint slides and graphs, crack a few jokes, and deflect any questions that have a negative tone to them. You are on top of the world and you know it!
The next day, you find out you didn’t get the project.
How would you feel? Devastated? Cheated? Angry? What if when you got back to the office your co-workers started criticizing your presentation and your method of delivery? What if others pointed out your mistakes in front of others? Now how would you feel? Ganged-up on?
Not so fast. They may be trying to help you.
It’s called negative motivation, and many people believe that it is necessary to get people fired up. Sometimes it’s the only way to get people to understand where they went wrong.
Recently, the tactic made headlines when the Ohio State football team got a dose of negative motivation through a special DVD created by coaches at Ohio State that consisted of put-downs, insults, and attacks against the Buckeyes that followed after their 41-14 loss to Florida last year in the BCS title game.
How did the players react? Some were a little upset, but many of them saw the message behind the words. They got motivated, they understood how they failed last year, and they realized that perhaps they were a little too optimistic that the title was going to be handed to them on a silver plate.
Negative motivation is part of a trend of new self-improvement techniques being practiced by many personal development coaches. They are using the power of the word to let people know that everyone has room for improvement – even them. While they aren’t going around using foul language or personal attacks, they are using negative feedback – the rigorous truth – to help people make a positive change in their lives.
Some of us at times think that we are the undisputed expert on a subject – there is nothing we don’t know and people would be a fool to listen to anyone else. What we don’t realize is that by being over-confident in our abilities, we can often become so stuck. As the world changes around us, we don’t realize that what was true yesterday isn’t quite so true today. With technology and the world changing so fast, it can be challenge to keep up – and if we slack off and stop learning or discovering then we opening ourselves up to failure.
Negative motivation can give us that needed “deflation” we need to bring us back down to earth. It helps us realize that maybe we do need to update our skills, read up on current trends, or just be a better person to those around us. None of us can hold ourselves above anyone else – we all have our strengths and weaknesses, and that is what makes us unique individuals. We all need a healthy dose of reality every now and then to make sure we don’t forget that we are all on equal ground on this planet.
So how can you use negative motivation to make a positive impact on your life? When it appears that others may be putting your skills down or questioning your authority on a matter, listen to what they are really saying. You may be able to help yourself by learning that you were wrong, or that you do have flaws. It is also in your best interest to find ways to help find a solution that highlights not only your abilities, but you as a person as well.
Negative motivation can be a powerful tool to help you grow. Are you ready for a tough dose of reality to get you back on the track to lead a successful and prosperous life?
David B. Bohl writes about living your vision at his own blog: SlowdownFAST. If you enjoyed this article, you may like to subscribe to his feed, or read one of his most popular articles, Conflicting Desires: Knowing That We Have Enough vs. Always Wanting to Better Ourselves.
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