CNB News – As an educator, the question has been put to me several times on why many students are not focused on their education and learning. A university lecturer said to me not too long ago, ‘Students have never been this indolent.’ What could be the missing link? Well, I hold a slightly different view from the assertion that it is the distraction of their time, and that it really can’t be helped. Having been an advocate for improved reading culture in the country, I have come to know that book haters are not born. Rather, they are made. So, today’s learners can be made to be book lovers instead. Sure, they can!
Aside from learning and education, there seems to be lethargy and apathy in the way many people approach life generally, particularly when it comes to personal development. And not much growth and progress can come to anyone except he or she personally takes the bull by the horn to develop potentials and capabilities in order to build human capital. Yes, events and circumstances can force or push someone to go for things, but a lot of times it may not be in the right direction if certain inner values have not been developed. Again, using academics as an example, many students resort to exam malpractice today not just because they have not prepared for the particular exam, but also because they have not personally built the value for academic integrity. What is missing there? Self-integrity through self-development, which in turn can be kickstarted by self-motivation. That is the essence of Motivate Me, a unique self-help book authored by Lauretta Davies on the ideals of self-motivation as a critical factor for success in life.
Waiting for life to happen or until life happens before one gets up to do something meaningful and purposeful is not the best recommendation for success and accomplishment. According to a dictionary, self-motivation is the ability to do what needs to be done, without influence from other people or situations. And according to Lauretta in Motivate Me, people with self-motivation can find a reason and strength to complete a task, even when challenging, without giving up or needing another to encourage them. Regarding self-motivation, there is always the inner drive factor whether or not there is an external factor aiding or hindering the motivation. This may well be the missing link for many people, which has literally kept them from succeeding and blocked their path of influence and affluence. Lauretta Davies gives an illustration in bringing home her point about two working class persons, Mr. A and Mrs. B, and how they are faring in career and life:
1. Mr. A sees his work only as a means to pay bills, cater for family, and please his employer. Mrs. B really needs no such external factors to be at work every day because she finds fulfillment in what she does.
2. Mr. A, as a professional, takes on extra courses only when it is required by the organisation he works for to aid his promotion. Mrs. B on the other hand keeps going for extra courses not necessarily because of a promotion in the offing but because she wants to be fulfilled in her career in the short and long run.
3. Mr. A goes to the gym only when his doctor prompts him to do so. Mrs. B on the other hand likes the way exercise makes her feel and schedules time at the gym whether or not it is recommended by her doctor.
Who do you think will have a more successful career – and a whole fulfilled life? Mrs. B of course, and you can tell the difference: Mr. A is motivated externally, and will do just enough to meet those external demands and pressure, a lot of times drudgery and dragging in doing so. Mrs. B on the other hand is happy about herself and her work and other engagements, putting in extra efforts and going for goals higher than external demands because she is internally driven. She is self-motivated while Mr. A is not.
Is Mrs. B a born self-motivated person? According to Lauretta’s Motivate Me, probably not. Though there could be a hereditary or environmental factor that may play out in one growing to become a self-motivated individual, the ideals of self-motivation are mostly learned as skills. Anyone can become self-motivated by exercise and practice. People only remain like Mr. A because they have not taken time to develop their self-belief and confidence, and have not mastered self-affirmation and competence – to their disadvantage in life. Self-motivation is a skill-based ability rather than a gift of heredity.
To make it so critically essential, mastering self-motivation skills tends to key one into having the right values for academic, career and life success. The personal value attached to something gives a direction as to how that thing can motivate – intrinsically or extrinsically. That may well be the main difference between Mr. A and Mrs. B in Lauretta’s illustration. The values Mr. A attaches to life, work, progress and success is different from Mrs. B’s values, thus the difference in perspective and later results. Mr. A for instance may most likely be living for gratification – pleasure and no pain – while Mrs. B will not mind delaying gratification – pain first and later pleasure. Not the same perspective about life, and ultimately not the same result. A person’s values are a litmus test for what motivates him and how he is motivated internally or externally.
Another challenge, according to Lauretta, with not being motivated from within is that external rewards may be a ‘dangling carrot’ that one would have to continue to chase – unto weariness. A promotion may be promised by an employer which may not become a reality. If one finds his motivation in such a failing promise, the drive will be put out at some point. But if one has an inner drive based on a value not predicated on external circumstances, he can keep going on with such zeal and zest. Success can hardly be achieved without being driven from within. Anything you get self-motivated about, you tend to get better and greater result in.
Lauretta goes on in this self-help book – for young and old, students and the working class – to showcase the building blocks for self-motivation, which include self-confidence, self-affirmation, self-discovery, self-integrity etc. Her free-flowing expression makes the motivational book easy to read and follow, while the illustrations and life examples in the different chapters of the book help to really buttress her points and make the nuggets she is passing across ‘pieces of gold’ for the reader to cherish and use to his or her advantage. Most importantly, the Motivate Me action at the end of each chapter gives the reader the opportunity to build all the blocks for self-motivation, one on top the other – for career and life fulfilment.
As an educator, I recommend this book for all students from the secondary school level. I have always believed that good motivational books should be introduced to students from age 12 or 13 and all the way to young adulthood as undergraduates. Not only will it greatly develop their interest in reading and endear them to lifelong learning, but it will also help mould their attitudes right from their formative period in life. Also, as a professional, one that has employed self-motivation to cross from one career path to another and still be a success, I can tell Lauretta’s Motivate Me should be a companion. With all the uncertainties in the corporate environment, self-motivation is just so necessary and vital.
Setting goals, getting started, keeping on, and forging ahead despite the odds require the skills of self-motivation and the competence it affords. Lauretta in Motivate Me has done justice to this vital aspect of self-motivation. Those seeking or needing this rather subtle but critically important aspect can definitely find it now – to their success!
– Michael Omisore
Education Columnist and Consultant, and the Author, Smart and Brilliant Writing Book Series
NB: To order copies of Lauretta’s Motivate Me as an individual, corporate organisation, religious body or school, contact the publisher via:
Phone: +234 802 319 6221
Email: [email protected]