Coercion is a Deadly Enemy of Motivation


Coercion Kills MotivationDon’t kill your motivation with too many “shoulds” or “oughts.”

Don’t say, “I’m doing this because I should.”

Instead, say “I’m doing this because I choose to.”

Focus on “choice” and focus on the benefits that you’re moving towards, or the pain that you’re moving away from.

Focus on your freedom to make choices and take actions. What you should or ought to do are inputs, but ultimately you choose to do what you do.

In Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy Revised and Updated, David Burns writes that using coercion takes away motivation.

Key Take Aways

Here are my key take aways:

  • Don’t should or ought yourself to death.  This drains your energy and takes away your choices.
  • Make it a choice.  Drive for results by choosing your actions.  Sure they may still be the things you should or ought to do, but the key is that you’re exercising your freedom to choose.

Coercion Can Kill Your Motivation

Don’t ruin your motivation with “should” and “oughts.”  Create choice for your actions, and exercise your choice.

Burns writes:

“A deadly enemy of motivation is a sense of coercion. You feel under intense pressure to perform – generated from within and without.

This happens when you try to motivate yourself with moralistic “shoulds” and “oughts.” You tell yourself , “I should do this” and “I have to do that.”

Then you feel obliged, burdened, tense, resentful and guilty. You feel like a delinquent child under the discipline of a tyrannical probation officer.

Every task becomes colored with such unpleasantness that you can’t stand to face it. Then, as you procrastinate, you condemn yourself as a lazy, no-good bum. This further drains your energies.”

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