Wednesday, September 24, 2008

motivation 2.0

A friend of mine left this comment: “how do you force people/teach people to become motivated? Second, how do you teach people to be responsible for their actions (which I think is the other key problem with our society)?” For starters, I didn’t know what to write about today, so thank you for the solution to my problem. Unfortunately there are no easy answers to such a question that baffles just about every hard working, tax paying, upwardly mobile American in our 50 states.

I honestly think there is little solution. There isn’t an incentive and/or punishment that can motivate the unmotivated. Should we throw more money at them? Should we improve programs that reach out to these people and preach the merits of personal development? There are a number of individuals who honestly have the motivation yet lack the resources to escape the cruel hand life dealt. My heart goes out to them, and I fully support government programs that help clear the path and help push them along. However, too many individuals are fully content with taking a Pedi-Cab all the way down easy street. But, on this road, it isn’t the guy with crazy hair, a touch of BO, and killer legs pulling the cart. It’s unfortunately people like you and me.

So, I lack a good answer to this question. Incentives and consequences are the only things that seem like quasi-solutions. However they don’t seem much help either. The incentives are clear. With a little help in the beginning, the incentive is becoming a member of society that is more of a valuable cog in this societal machine and less of a leach on our backs. I’ve said it before, although I don’t throw a party when I pay my rent, bills, or car insurance, the sense of satisfaction from doing it on my own makes up for the sad balance in my checking. Also, unless we want crime rates to soar and an increase in roadside bums, I’m not sure what detrimental consequences our nation can offer the leaches for lack of self improvement/motivation. Any consequences that enter my mind would probably label me a barbarian or some heartless sociopath…

So, I believe that part of the answer lie in expectations. The rights that are afforded to the everyday American citizen are a system of protection and a way to attempt to level the playing field. However, it is not a contract between government and citizen that guarantees a certain lifestyle or things that are anything but basic human rights. A huge chunk of the reason I lean more right than left lies in my advocacy for personal responsibility. Obama preaches on change. Many of those changes seem to be a foot in the door to socialism. I want LESS government in my life. Unless I am a criminal or victim of a crime, I don’t see why the government should be involved in my personal life in anyway. The expectation should be set that government serves as a means of protection and temporary support in catastrophic situations, not a nurturing mother to breast feed you all the way through retirement.

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