Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Day 8.148 One Contagious Commodity

I would like to talk about motivation. Again. The road as proxy.

This is so important that I will risk tediousness and repetition in the attempt to further explore. And please remember folks that this is my way of thinking through. If I can get these fleeting thoughts isolated long enough, on paper, in verse, as prose or simply as incoherent verbal doodles, maybe we can stumble a little closer to the source. I want to try again to get it right.

In the lab, they use a tasty term called emotional contagion to better describe what we have long known to be true. Namely, that there is power in the pack. The group, team, class, unit or assembly's sum is much greater than its parts.

But it is the parts that matter.

Your part.

You, should you decide to play, have a huge responsibility. Remember the saying that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link? This is that. YOU do not want to be that link. That might be motivation enough, but is is motivation by fear - as not wanting to do or be something is worse, much worse, than wanting to be it or do it. One is positive and the other anxiety filled double negative.

Example: Do you exercise because you do not want to get fat? Or do you compete as a celebration of the human spirit?

There is no doubt that we are motivated by others doing exactly the same thing we are doing, but better. Or faster. Or more graceful. Or longer. Or more commercially profitable. Or with more joy.  It makes me a better athlete just watching those who have accepted the awesome responsibility of achieving championship status.

I am motivated and humbled at the same time. Something stirs inside compelling me to seek similar. I want to go faster, climb stronger, swim more fishlike and run smoother simply as a result of being a teammate to those who embody these traits.

These lessons are caught - not taught. We learn by doing. We are motivated by those whose enthusiasm and élan are contagious. When played out this phenomena is more powerful than, well, a steam locomotive firing on all cylinders, to massively mix the metaphor.

It is like laughter. It is like returning a warm smile. It is team effort. I do not want to let the team down by my lack of luster. I must inspire and motivate my team, my class, my unit to achievement and success. I will ask the weakest link to keep the faith and carry on. Never give up. I got, we got, your back. Give me 100% effort and I won't cry if defeat is the outcome. Because that effort, presence and attitude is a higher, greater, sweeter victory than any final score could ever signify.

The emotional contagion means leading by example. Putting your game face on display in a focused and relaxed manner.

In other arenas it is knows as grace under fire.

One contagious commodity.

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