Using The Negative As Motivation

Apr 21, 2023

There is a saying in performance psychology that I myself use that states “Be motivated by what you want to achieve and not by what could go wrong.”

 Good advice but the reality is, we can only be motivated by focusing on what we want to achieve by a deep understanding of what the opposite looks like. Often, people get sick and tired of living in the opposite and this becomes the motivation to change how they live.

 Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson has spoken of how people often remark how they admire his courage to say the things he does, yet Peterson said he says these things because he fears the opposite.

It is his deep study of tyrants and atrocities throughout history that inspire him to steer his language and behaviour towards the opposite.

One of my most favourite scenes from the series Yellowstone that depicts the tough life of living on a ranch, is where a young man called Jimmy, a newcomer, starts his day still racked with pain and fatigue of the day before.  

As Jimmy slowly and painfully mounts his horse, he starts to cry with the discomfort of his new life. Lloyd Pierce the old rugged veteran ranchman rides over to him and says:

“Rough business becoming a man ain’t it?”

“Sure beats the alternative though.”  

Sadly, it’s the alternative that men are starting to embrace because they fear the discomfort and responsibility of who they are supposed to be.

 This isn’t harmless.

If a man isn’t going to cultivate courage and toughness he will  move towards the opposite and this includes all of the psychological deficiencies and inevitable moral decline that come with it.

There has been far to much debate and coverage of the new man who has been taught nothing more than, show your feelings, it’s ok to cry and show your feminine side.

Whilst this isn’t itself bad advice, it becomes harmful when there is no other masculine code or advice to go with it, or the fact that sometimes it isn’t alright to show your feelings and feminine side.

Many men, do not feel enough, so this is terrible advice for most men who actually want to be mentally strong, courageous and disciplined.

Many young men have been led to believe if they are harmless, they are good but in reality, being harmless will result in becoming a victim.

A man that can’t stand for himself can’t stand for anyone else.  

The world certainly isn’t improving with the sway towards the opposite of manly courage.

If anyone would like to know where the current moral degradation and weakness that is infecting society comes from, including the global leaders, it is the deliberate cultivating of weakness.

Strong men lift others to be the best version of themselves they can be, whilst weak men seek to control and suppress others to make themselves feel better and more important.

Yet despite the numerous tactics and defence mechanisms available, nothing removes the reality and recognition of personal fragility.

Money, prestige and accolades only temporarily distract attention from the never ending deep knowing, that a man could be so much more.

Jean Cocteau hinted at this when he wrote:

You have comfort. You don’t have luxury. And don’t tell me money plays a part. The luxury I advocate has nothing to do with money. It cannot be bought. It is the reward of those who have no fear of discomfort.”

We should fear the opposite and make a consistent effort to speak and behave in a way that helps others do the same.



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