Want to motivate your kids, (or anyone you are responsible for)?
Focus on “identity”.
Seriously, parents, you tell your children “WHO THEY ARE !!!”
Use this ability to lead them to become something others value.
It is literally your ONE JOB !
“You are so creative! I love how you made “that cool thing”. It shows me what you are capable of.”
“That’s amazing! And it’s so much better than it was last week.”
(Compare the child only to the child they were, and never, ever other children or adults.)
“Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who someone else is today”
This will “scaffold” the identity for future achievements.
From real adult leaders:
“I trust you to make the decision on this. Together, we will learn from the outcome, and make things better because we are a team.”
(i. e. No Monday morning quarterbacks!)
This is my favorite way of teaching altruism, or “to give is better than to receive.” Our culture is so focused on material things, that my children are not impressed by gifts at all. They are too busy looking for the next one. That’s a form of addiction, isn’t it? So, I found the only truly valuable thing I could give my girls is trust. “I trust you to make the right choice.”
Unconditionally. Including the followup. Unconditionally.
Start with positive reinforcement when they are young. If you trust them, they will trust you, and they will tell you when they are ready for negative feedback. I guarantee it. I’ve tested this approach on hundreds of students of all ages in thousands of lessons. They will tell you out loud in their own way when they are ready for the really painful stuff. Beginners know what they are doing wrong, they don’t know how to do it right. Hearing it out loud just pours salt on the wound.
“Those who know, do.
Those that understand, teach.”
“What you are speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you are saying.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
“An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
“Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, it is the only means.”
- Albert Einstein
“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.”
- Marcus Aurelius
Now take that hill soldiers! BURN THE FASCISTS !!!!!
(Gotcha! Good luck using identity politics on my kids. (Olivia would say “That’s the bad choice Dad.”))
P.S. Heads up! If you do this as a parent, or teacher there is literally no upside for you, as an individual, in the long run. Your subordinates will out pace you much more quickly with this approach. Bond them to you “with hoops of steel”, and you will be stronger for it. Authoritarians always fall. Authorities fall when something better comes along. Get used to it, or get out of my way.
This was inspired by this article.
12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson.
And, most of all, by being Dad.