Dissatisfaction as a motivator

Posted: October 30, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,
sad face

Photo by Brianna Lehman
used under creative commons license

So, I’ve been thinking about motivation. More specifically, I have been thinking about how to get people to submit to my evil plans (insert scary laughter here). It’s almost Hallowe’en and my thoughts have turned to the dark side. I used to have to get students to do stuff like study fractions and the Mesopotamians. Now I have to get adults to do stuff like incorporate effective use of technology in their teaching.

One of the blogs that I read is The Leadership Freak by Dan Rockwell. His blog is not about education, but his brief posts often strike a chord. Leading, directing, teaching–they’re all related. So, the other day he wrote about dissatisfaction as a motivator for change. He said that all the great vision in the world is not going to get people to change if they are not at least somewhat dissatisfied with the present situation.

Change movements begin with dissatisfaction in the present. Create want. People won’t change until they want change.

This got me thinking.

Although I am not a rose-colored glasses wearer, I am a positive person for the most part, or at least I like to think I am. I can wallow in “things are terrible” land for a while if I have company, and I can even get stuck there, but it’s not where I feel most at home. My point here is that I would rather cheerlead and talk about the great things that are possible with some change or other than go the dissatisfaction route. But, Dan suggests that this is not going to work. And, I have to admit it’s not working as well as I would like for me.

So, I may try putting one foot into the dark land of dissatisfaction. I’m going to have my Hallowe’en candy with me in case it’s not a nice place. I am not going to sow doom and gloom where ever I go, but I’m considering tossing little dissatisfaction idea bombs here and there. (This all sounds very militaristic to me, but idea-bombs seems ok for a non-violent person, yes?)

I will kind of by like Miss Rumphius in the classic by Barbara Cooony. Miss Rumphius rides around her town sowing wildflower seeds to fulfill one of her goals: to make the world more beautiful. People in the town start to think she is that crazy old lady with seeds in her pocket. I’ll admit, I’m not looking for people to think I’m older than I am, but I’m ok with crazy. (WOW! I am sounding just like my grandmother here. Many years and a city ago when I told her people were going to think a crazy old lady lived in my apartment if she continued to step out onto the balcony in her slip, heels, and purse to smoke, she replied “I am not old!” She did not bat an eye at the crazy label. I miss her.)

Anyway, maybe these dissatisfaction idea-bombs could have a bit of an odor too? The kind that hangs around a while. Hmm, how to stay positive and yet encourage a little dissatisfaction? Is this something that will work for me? Reader(s), has it worked for you?

  1. olivemom says:

    I am totally on board with this and end up doing it all the time while trying to get parents/teachers/administrators to work together! Well-timed ideas designed to nudge someone into action while not actually discouraging them can be really effective–especially when the person ends up thinking it was their idea in the first place.

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