Motivation: The Good, the Bad, and the BEST

Knowing what drives us and others makes us better communicators, better marketers, better friends, lovers, parents, teachers. Understanding motivation makes us better at life.

There are a few categories to motivators. I like to call them:

  • Good Shit
  • Bad Shit
  • The Best Shit

People have historically used Good Shit, such as rewards and recognition, to motivate others. “You’ll win this”/”You’ll gain that”. Great, it’s always nice to feel valued and win cool stuff.

People have also used Bad Shit, such as punishment and fear, to motivate others. “You’ll fail”/”You’ll be fired”/”You’ll look like a dick/”You’ll get a massive fine”/”I will kill you”. Not so great, but has its place and is a significant player in social control.

The motivators in The Best Shit, however, are factors that make us really want to do things. Excitement, purpose, the desire to be great and the thirst for more. The need to make a difference, to learn, to share amazing things and to be happy.


Think of the things you enjoy the least, and you’ll notice that the motivating factors fall under Good Shit or Bad Shit. On the other hand, the stuff you love doing the most will be stuff that excites you and makes you feel a sense of purpose. The Best Shit.

For example, what motivates many people to do exercise? Good Shit like the benefits of being stronger and leaner, but also some Bad Shit like the fear of gaining weight. Those people might stick to their exercise plan for a while, but ones who are motivated by The Best Shit will have the extra drive. The desire to be great and the excitement and happiness that feeling physically good brings are far more powerful and long-lasting motivators.

If you’re doing stuff that you’re not feeling very motivated to do, question it! Sometimes we do things out of habit and forget that motivators change over time. Keep evolving, do things that you’re passionate about, especially the things that take up the bulk of your life.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs

To instil passion and drive in other people, don’t scare them. Don’t dangle a few average carrots. Don’t give a few days of long-service leave after 10 years. Give people excitement! Give them a sense of purpose! Be a player in their desire to be great and join them on their quest for more.


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One thought on “Motivation: The Good, the Bad, and the BEST

  1. Brilliantly written! I am going to get out there and find me some of that best shit! Cheers!

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