Motivate but don’t manipulate: Motivation creates inspired energy but manipulation creates only stress.

A small fire creates little heat.

If you are waiting around for motivation to come along or turn up, forget it. You stand more chance or hitting the jackpot on the lottery. Motivation isn’t something that turns up but something that is turned up. Let me put it like this: If your ‘get-up-and-go’ has ‘got-up-and-gone’ then get up and go after it and motivation will catch up with you along the way.

R. Ian Seymour

Zig Ziglar tells the following story. It seems a gentleman worked on the 4pm to midnight shift and he always walked home after work. One night the moon was shining so brightly that he decided to take a shortcut through the cemetery, which would save him roughly a half-mile walk. There were no incidents involved, so he repeated the process on a regular basis, always following the same path. One night as he was walking his route through the cemetery he didn’t realise that during the day a grave had been freshly dug in the very centre of his path, and so he fell into it. Desperately, he started trying to get out, but his best efforts failed him. After a few minutes he decided to relax and wait until morning when someone would help him get out. He sat down in the corner and was half asleep when a drunk stumbled into the grave. His arrival roused the first guy, since the drunk was also desperately trying to climb out, clawing frantically at the sides. Our hero reached out his hand, touched the drunk on the leg and said, ‘Friend, you can’t get out of here’ – BUT HE DID GET OUT! Now that’s motivation!

Charles Schwab, who supervised all of Andrew Carnegie’s steel mills, had a mill manager whose men were not producing their quota at work.

“I’ve coaxed them; I’ve pushed them; I’ve threatened them with being fired, “the manager told Schwab, “but nothing works. They just don’t produce.”

It was the end of the day, just as the day shift was leaving and the night shift was coming on. Schwab took a piece of chalk and then, turning to the nearest man he asked, “How many production runs did your shift make today?”


Without another word Schwab chalked a big figure 6 on the floor and walked away. When the night shift came in, they saw the 6 and asked what it meant. “The big boss was in here today,” the day-shift men said, “and he chalked on the floor the number of production runs we made.”

The next morning Schwab walked through the mill again. The night shift had rubbed out 6, and replaced it with a big 7. When the day shift reported for work the next morning they saw the big 7 chalked on the floor. So the night shift thought they were better than the day shift, did they? Well, they would show them a thing or two. The men pitched in with enthusiasm and when they quit that night, they left behind them an enormous, swaggering 10. Things were stepping up.

Shortly, this mill, which had been lagging way behind in production, was turning out more than any other steel mill in the industry. And what was the reason? Here is Schwab’s reasoning: “The way to get things done is to stimulate competition. I do not mean is a sordid, money-getting way, but in the desire to excel.”

“I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people,” said Schwab, “the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement. There is nothing else that so kills the ambition in a person as criticisms from superiors. I never criticize anyone. I believe in giving a person incentive to work. So I am anxious to praise but loathe to find fault. If I like anything, I am heart in my approbation and lavish in my praise.”

[Note: Source: Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People, p.46-47]

Alan Loy McGinnis, Bringing Out The Best in People, p.126-127 also Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People, p.192-193

For the lack of motivation: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the famous 19th century poet and artist, was once approached by an elderly man. The old fellow had some sketches and drawings that he wanted Rossetti to look at and tell him if they were any good, or if they, at least showed potential talent.

Rossetti looked them over carefully. After the first few he knew they were worthless, showing not the least sign of artistic talent. But Rossetti was a kind man and he told the elderly man as gently as possible that the pictures were without much value and showed little talent. He was sorry, but he could not lie to the man.

The visitor was disappointed, but seemed to expect Rossetti’s judgment. He then apologised for taking up Rossetti’s time, but could he just look at a few more drawings – these done by a young art student? Rossetti looked over the second batch of sketches and immediately became enthused about the talent they revealed. “These,” he said, “Ah, these are good. This young man, whoever he is, has great talent. He should be given every help and encouragement in his career as an artist. He has a great future, if he will work hard and stick with it.”

Rossetti could see that the old fellow was deeply moved. “Who is this fine young artist?” he asked. “Your son?”

“No,” said the old fellow sadly. “It is me – 40 years ago. If only I had heard your praise then. For you see, I got discouraged and gave up – too soon.”

Source: More of The Best of Bits and Pieces, p197

“What makes life dreary is the want of a motive.”

George Eliot (pseudonym of Mary Ann Evans, 1819-1880), English novelist

“When people are highly motivated it’s easy to accomplish the impossible. And when they are not, it’s impossible to accomplish the easy!”

Bob Collins, (U.S. radio personality)

Often motivation comes after, or as a result of taking action, and not before. Sometimes you have force yourself into action; you have to be bold, have courage, take a leap of faith and then motivation catches up with you. This is what happens to young eaglets when they learn to fly: They jump into action and take a leap of faith. Well, actually, they are usually forced into action! Maybe you have heard the phrase, ‘stirring up the nest’? This relates to stirring up a hornet, bee or wasps’ nest but it could just as easily refer to what happens when it’s time for the eaglets to learn how to fly. You see, for several weeks the eaglets have sat around watching and waiting, and also being waited upon hand and foot, as it were, by the parent birds. But finally the time comes for the offspring to leave the nest and the issue then becomes how to inspire them to do so. This is where they are given a helping hand, (or wing)! One day the mother bird senses the time has come, so she stops feeding the eaglets. Of course, this makes them very eager! Next she begins to demolish the nest, literally tearing away great chunks at a time and letting them fall to the floor. This makes the eaglets very uncomfortable! Finally, – now that they are hungry and homeless – the eagle flies to a nearby perch and calls to her offspring to come. It doesn’t take long for them to get the message! Sooner, rather than later, they jump into action, take their leap of faith and begin to fly!

Sometimes, you have to push yourself (or others) into action. It’s like drawing water from a well; you have to prime the pump (expel the air) and then apply force before the water flows freely. Likewise, sometimes you have to force inspiration to flow before it flows freely.

R. Ian Seymour

R. Ian Seymour, excerpt from Discover Your True Potential

Inspirational Olympic Family love

The benefits of reading a motivational book or listening to a motivational speaker don’t last for very long. There again, neither does taking a shower but it’s still a good idea to do so every once in a while!

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13 NKJV) – In my own strength, nothing; in God’s, everything.

“What some people need is a really good kick in the seat of their cant’s.”


Motivation is a contraction of the words, ‘motive-in-action’ – it empowers us to act.

Motivation fuels our desire to progress, to grow and develop.

Motivation helps us to persist in the face of adversity.

Motivation enables us to see new opportunities and then seize new opportunities.

Motivation gives us the energy and desire to win.

Motivation is the key to success – it comes from within.

Motivation is not something that we are born with, nor is it something that is simple learnt – it is a state of mind; an attitude.

Motivation, like a fire, has to be ignited and then fed continually.

R. Ian Seymour

Every morning on the African plains a wildebeest wakes up. It knows that in order to survive it must run faster than the lion, otherwise it will be killed and eaten. Every morning on the same African plains a lion wakes up. The lion knows that in order to survive it must run faster than the slowest wildebeest, otherwise it will starve to death. The lesson here should be plain to see: It doesn’t matter whether you are a wildebeest or a lion, just make sure when you wake up in the morning that your feet hit the floor running!

Sometimes the best way to offer a person a helping help is to simply give them a good strong push in the right direction!

Motive is everything.

“If people lose motivation and purpose, they usually die fairly soon afterwards. If they don’t die on the outside they die on the inside.”

Van Crouch, author and speaker

You can’t motivate people who don’t want to be motivated because the door of motivation has to first be unlocked from the inside.

“Life is like a ten-speed bike: Most of us have gears we never use!”

Charles M. Schultz, cartoonist and author of ‘Peanuts’

When you meditate on your past accomplishments and remind yourself of what you have already achieved, you feed your spirit and motivate yourself to further success with a ‘Can Do’ attitude.

Just do it

A Dozen Ideas to Motivate the Troops and Create a Better Working Environment:

  1. Reward good performance to encourage repeat performance. Think what happens when you acknowledge and reward or praise a child’s performance.
  2. Ensure all employees know exactly what is expected of them. Clearly defined roles, duties and lists of scheduled tasks creates a positive atmosphere and a continuous striving to achieve.
  3. A disciplined working environment is a positive working environment conducive to achieving results. Think of the armed forces. Discipline in business, however, means order and control, which is not the same as authoritarianism.
  4. Ensure that all staff have the necessary tools and equipment available so that they can perform well.
  5. Give each employee the opportunity every day to perform the duties that they are best at and enjoy the most.
  6. Ensure that each member of staff receives regular recognition or praise for work that has been done well. Regular means on a daily basis or, at the very least, weekly.
  7. Employee progress reviews (one on one) should be conducted at least once a year (preferably twice) with particular emphasis given on enhancing employee self-esteem not depleting it. Keep employees in the know with regards to the future, e.g. possible promotion, transfer, pay rises, new training programmes etc.
  8. Staff members should have regular opportunities to learn and grow through new training. There must also be regular and on-going mentoring/coaching sessions from a superior.
  9. Encourage employee suggestions and dialogue. Get them involved and let them know their opinion counts by taking the necessary action.
  10. Corporate entertainment and social events, whilst costly, are a great way of motivating the troops and creating a happier, more open and thus better working environment.
  11. Brain storm ideas to create a better working environment.
  12. It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice.

Ideas from a Spring Harvest recording – 1999, At Work Together – Jill Garrett from Gallup

Motivation is the ability to set people on fire but without making their blood boil.

People who are on fire spread ‘motivation’ like wildfire.

It takes more than motivation to create a winner; it also takes talent: If you motivate a foolish person you just end up with a motivated fool. It is only when you motivate a talented person that you end up with a success.

Even in the coldest flint there is fire… if you will work hard enough to find it.

“Motivation alone is not enough. If you have an idiot and you motivate him, you end up with a motivated idiot.”

Jim Rohn

To lift someone up you have to be on higher ground yourself.

“Some men have thousands of reasons why they cannot do what they want to, when all they need is one good reason why they can.”

Willis R. Whitney (1868-1958), late vice-president of General Electric

“You cannot push anyone up the ladder unless they are willing to climb a little.”

Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), US steel manufacturer and philanthropist

In ancient times, invaders would sail to foreign shores. Their goal was to conquer, plunder and pillage. They would decide upon their destination, prepare themselves for battle and then set sail. As soon as they landed on the alien shore, they would make their commitment irrevocable by setting their boats on fire and destroying them. (Hence the term, ‘to burn your boats.’) In so doing, they made the ultimate decision. Now, there would be no going back or staying put. From there on in it was either do or die, victory or defeat! How’s that for self-motivation?

R. Ian Seymour

R. Ian Seymour, excerpt from Maximize Your Potential

Sign on a firm’s notice board: ‘Firing will continue until morale improves!’

“If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.”

Vince Lombardi

The key to motivation is to have a person do something because they want to do it, not because you want them to do it. As the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

Inspirational Breaking boundaries, beating benchmarks Bob Beamon’s World Record Long Jump 1968

Inspirational Olympic Timeline

Inspirational Powerful Inspirational true story Never give up! Barcelona 92

Inspirational Sir Nicholas Winton BBC Programme That’s Life aired in 1982

See also Text