Motivation is not a problem when the problem is the motivation

15th Feb 2017
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The word culture by definition means growth. But growth has been left to the ambiguous precinct of one's understanding of one's self and the world one inhabits. Therefore, most of us treat problems as inhibitors of growth. We develop a tunnel vision when it comes to situations that require us to do just the opposite. Problems reveal to us the bigger picture, provided we look at it objectively.

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Here are a few ways in which problems can prove to be invaluable motivators and help you become a better person:

They give candid appraisals

We all like to believe that we can overcome all troubles, because we are strong, able-minded people. More importantly (or shall we say ominously), most people believe that their B-schools or college or university has somehow trained them to be Hulk-like when it comes to dealing with any problem. Naturally, it is not so. And it is the reason why many college dropouts show a greater ability to deal with problems than someone whose understanding of problems, and therefore solutions (both process and application), is life-tested and not lab-tested. How you face and deal with your problems displays your understanding of what you do. More importantly, it puts you face-to-face with who you are – tough or a rookie, seasoned or naive, strong-minded or gullible, active or just lazy. These accurate updates, while harsh at first, go a long way in helping us improve upon ourselves. In this sense, problems motivate us to become better at being who we really are.

While they may be personal, they can bring you down in public

Most of us take our behavioural deficiencies at home for granted. We eat where we like, sleep when we want, and snap and act unreasonably short-tempered when we feel like it. Why? It is because our parents forgive us easily more often than necessary. But if such behaviour is displayed with colleagues, clients, or customers, we indeed pave the way towards our own humiliation. And that sometimes is the best way to make us stop, think and then react. Writer Robin Camorate puts it succinctly when she says, “If you're sceptical, recall stories of people who've made massive lifestyle changes and gone from couch potato to marathoner. They'll often tell you that they made the decision to change after a humiliating experience in public.”

A problem hurts where it matters the most

Once upon a time, a Chinese Kung Fu master decided to lock himself up in his room because he could not find a worthy adversary. His desire to be challenged by a worthy opponent is eventually satisfied when he meets a grandmaster who challenges him to the extreme limits of his mind and body.

Problems keep us on our toes and our minds active. And keeping ourselves physically and mentally fit is a deep-seated human desire. Problems are one way of motivating us to keep our wits about us.

Problems motivate you to keep problems at bay

Whether they shape us or scrape us, at the end of the day we don't like to be troubled by anything. Yet sometimes, the best way to be able to avoid pain is only after experiencing it in the first place. Say, if you hired in a rush, the employee thus hired can prove to be a disaster. Once bitten, you will be sure to not repeat your mistake again.

While problems help shape our character and decision-making ability, it's hardly beneficial to invite trouble where they must be none. If things are going smooth, then it doesn't mean that something is wrong. It simply means that you are doing what you need to do right, both in life and at work.

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