Motivation File: Stay Creative, Not Critical


Dr. Tim Elmore explains how to begin a motivation file and how important it is to have.

I was listening to a recording of a talk given by Keith Drury, one of my favorite mentors from years ago. In his talk, he brought up a concept I want to relay to you in this blog post. It’s called “Motivation File.” This little idea is one I have practiced for almost three decades now, thanks to Keith. I hope you like it too.

The idea is built off of three basic notions:

1. Creative people can tend to be critical.

Why? Because they can see what others cannot see. They seem to be able to envision how to make things better, how to improve products, events, music, ideas and art. Because they are so imaginative, they don’t know why others don’t find ways to improve their current “mediocre” work.

2. Criticism is de-motivating.

I probably don’t need to convince you of this one. When you or someone else becomes critical, the atmosphere can get negative. The more criticism there is, the greater the chance that things turn sour and become de-motivating. This can have an adverse affect on anyone.

3. The more creative you are, the greater your risk of de-motivation.

Therefore, if the first two notions above are accurate, then creative people are vulnerable to being a bit disheartened and unmotivated. If A = B, and B = C, then A = C. Let’s face it. There’s nothing more common than creative people who sit around and do nothing with their talent. To combat this, we need to start a “Motivation File.” This means, the moment you see something that could be better, instead of saying: “These people don’t get it. I don’t know why they do that. They should…”

Instead, grab something to write on and begin with the statement: “In this situation, I would…” Never again criticize others for not doing something right or improving current realities. Turn it around into a positive. Jot notes to yourself about what YOU would do if you were in charge. Then, throw that idea into a file. Perhaps it could even remain on your Smart phone. Wherever you put it, the mere act of writing it down and filing it away can channel your emotional energy from negative and critical to positive and creative. Then, when you do get an opportunity, you have a “garden” of ideas to pull from. It’s a motivation file.

Try it this week and see if it just might be more motivating for you, and keep those creative juices flowing.

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