The third factor in the model for self motivation is environment, the physical environment, the place where you do your work, and the social environment, the people and organizations that surround you. The model for self motivation tells us that both parts of your environment have a direct impact on your motivation.
The impact can be positive but it may be negative. This means that your environment may be adversely impacting your motivation. When we use the model for self motivation we use our intention to make sure our environment has a positive impact on our motivation. This means enhancing the positive aspects of our environment and minimizing any adverse impact.
In this blog post I will focus on minimizing the adverse impact of an unhealthy social environment.
What do I mean when I say an adverse social environment? I am referring to an environment in which there are people who not only don’t support you in the achievement of your dreams, but may actually be, intentionally or otherwise, sabotaging you. Do you have someone in your life who is doing this?
That person may be a naysayer. A naysayer is a person with an aggressively negative attitude. Nothing is ever right for a naysayer, and that includes your ideas, hopes and dreams. What a naysayer says is not directed personally at you. Nevertheless, naysayers may be a negative impact in your social environment.
Dealing with a naysayer isn’t too difficult. One strategy is to realize this is who the person is, or at least wants to appear to be. Nothing may be going right in the naysayer’s life, so by making life unfair, unkind, or whatever, they attempt to present themselves as victims of life, rather than taking responsibility for their misery. Nod your head at what the naysayer says, and just keep on your path, the path you know is the correct one. And who knows, maybe you will have a positive influence on the naysayer.
What is even worse than a naysayer however is someone whose comments are directed at you personally. I refer to these people as motivational vampires. These people suck other people’s motivation. There are many reasons a person would want to rob you of your motivation. For some vampires that you have dreams of bettering your life, threatens them, makes them feel inadequate. Others may be so miserable in their own lives that it bothers them when someone else actually feels positive and hopeful. Vampires see their job as keeping you down.
Whatever their driving force is, it is irrelevant to what you do in your life. Your job is not to make them feel better by being kept down; your job is to make the best of your life. And if your vision is going to improve your life, than your job is to make it come true. And to do that is going to require you to become and to stay motivated.
So you are going to have to deal with your motivation vampires. How do we deal with them?
The best thing may be to totally cut them out of your life. But don’t forget the main rule of life changes: to make a change, we don’t eliminate the bad habit, we replace it with a better habit. In this situation what this means is we replace the motivation vampire with a person who will share our dreams, support us when we are having difficulties, and will celebrate with us our successes. This person can be a peer partner, a mentor, an emotionally healthy family member or just a friend. Finding supportive, healthy people may feel a bit (or very) scary, but nothing helps build your motivation better than a friendly face.
Sometimes we cannot remove the motivation vampires in our lives. What if the vampire is a family member and we don’t want to be alienated from our family, or if your mom is the vampire and we don’t want to keep the grandkids from their grandmother?
The answer in that case depends upon the situation. Sometimes talking to the vampire can help. If someone is unconsciously undermining you, they may be receptive to a request for their support. It may be worth a try, and you may be surprised with the response.
Other times, the answer is acceptance. Accept who these people are, that what these people say is but a reflection of their own pictures, their own fears, their own lack of motivation, and their own jealousy. Accept also that you know who you are better than they know you, and accept that you don’t have to buy into what the vampire is saying.
Above all, don’t let a motivation vampire side track you from your worthwhile pursuit.
We are social creatures, so make sure your social environment enhances instead of undermines your motivation. You will be happier and more effective as you pursue your dreams.