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Why Are Buying Shoes and Getting Motivated Similar?

MotivatedThere are countless books and materials on “How to get motivated” or “What are some motivational techniques?” Although this material is interesting and you are able to learn a tremendous amount by partaking, it seems to me, how one gets motivated is very much like buying a pair of shoes.

Everyone has a different size foot. The length of the foot is unique. The width of the foot is unique. The combination of these two measurements becomes a unique combination. Add to the mix high arches, low arches and who knows what else and we have quite a number of possibilities.

This is just like motivation. Depending upon what it is we are being motivated to take action upon, we each may require another type of motivating factor.

It might actually become easier to identify what types of behavior will definitely not motivate you to take action – on anything. For example, a number of us would probably agree that being yelled at, screamed at and verbally abused would not be the way to motivate us to take action. It may come as a shock, but there are certain groups of people who find these techniques do work, and in fact, is the standard by which everything works out for both sides. Think about high school football coaches and players in Louisiana or Texas, just to name two locations. This is not to condone or pass judgment on the correctness or incorrectness of this behavior in this setting. Just pointing it out as it does exist and happens to fit this topic.

You may find you are motivated by a different style or method, depending upon what the timing, urgency and other factors related to the action which needs to take place. It is my suggestion that you create a simple grid for yourself. The purpose is to conduct a bit of research about you. This will enable you to immediately overcome the analysis by paralysis we all face when we are dealing with the unknown.

First, mark down what you know about yourself. What types of motivation work with you when you have an urgent matter to take care of? How about when the due date is out further, yet others want to see progress, not something whipped up at the last minute.

Second, is to ask others to answer these same questions – about you – from their perspective. You should now have a clear picture of what motivators will work for you and when. Consider these your strengths and continue to build these up and allow others that you are working with and interacting with to know these facts about you.

If you ignore this advice you might just find that your feet will hurt and you need to purchase a new pair of shoes.

Care to share some of your key motivators and for what type of activity?

Mitch Tublin is an advanced certified executive and personal coach who resides in Stamford, CT.


  1. It is interesting to think about what motivates each person. I once had a teacher who taught, “Everyone is motivated. They just might not be motivated to do what you want them to do.” 🙂

  2. My key motivator is accountability that is why I had to create a website to commit to going on dates and blog about them (SHARING IT WITH WORLD) so I wouldn’t give up every time I had a bad one. Let’s face it, with all these people holding me accountable I know I won’t quit even when I want to.

  3. I think awareness is key. Most people are not motivated to do anything unless they can see that taking an action will provide them with some sort of benefit. Until the pros outweigh the cons in their mind, they will not shift out of ambivalence into action.

  4. Mitch this somewhat reminds me of Dr. Gary Chapman’s “The Five Loe Languages.” We need to speak the language that our mate speaks and move toward that. (Those high school coaches need to know their players’ love languages quite frankly.) Not everyone is motivated by yelling.

  5. Mitch,
    I agree that getting to know what motivates YOU is important. I also know that the exercise you are suggesting is powerful. It’s always interesting to see how others perceive you.
    Write on!~
    Lisa Manyon

  6. Heidi Alexandra says

    Great topic Mitch – it’s interesting I’ve always pondered whether motivation or inspiration whether the internal or the external is more important.
    Your article reminds me of this quote:
    “Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.”
    ― Thomas Jefferson

  7. Interesting reading your blog and the other comments – such diverse thoughts! Of course, I always consider the nutritional factors and think about low levels of the catecholamines leading to low motivation, the blahs and poor focus.