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Make Fear a Nine Day Wonder - Motivate Yourself with Fun!


Have you heard something referred to as a "nine day wonder"? The phrase refers to something that causes a sensation for a brief period of time and then fades into obscurity. The origin of this phrase is usually tied to the nine-day reign of Lady Jane Grey (1537-1554) as Queen of England. This reluctant queen met an untimely fate. More on that later...

I added a new Fun Commandment recently to address a very pesky and persistent nine day wonder we all face - fear as a motivator. Fear is a great motivator...for a brief period. Then it does worse than fade into obscurity; fear adds to our load of stress and pressure. So I'm calling for an end to this nine day wonder's reign with my Fun Commandment, Motivate Yourself with Fun Rather than Fear.

Motivating yourself with fun rather than fear pays big dividends in myriad ways. Making this choice accelerates your ability to communicate, rests your brain, lowers your stress, increases your tolerance for pain, among other things. In this article, however, I am focusing on one incredibly important and impactful side effect of this Commandment - using fun to motivate yourself increases your creativity.

Creativity is an ability highly sought by businesses and employees alike. Creativity is trumpeted in every mission statement and praised by every CEO for good reason - we know that creativity brings breakthroughs! Since the ability to create breakthroughs is both a highly sought after and also a highly marketable skill, creativity gets a lot of deserved attention.

Yet there are still many myths to dispel about creativity. One of the biggest myths is that creativity is fueled by time pressure. Time pressure is an example of fear-based motivation because it involves trying to escape a negative consequence rather than moving toward a positive outcome. Deadlines are a reality, but using fear to fuel our creative juices has the opposite effect.

The alternative is to use fun as our motivator. Theresa Amabile, head of the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at Harvard Business School, has been studying creativity for 30 years. For the past 8 years she has collected nearly 12,000 daily journal entries from 238 people working on creative projects in seven large corporations. She and her team scoured journals for moments when people struggled with a problem or came up with a new idea. The following rules for using fun to motivate creativity are inspired directly from Amabile's research.

1. Deadlines are fear-based; if you want to be creative you must give yourself an "incubation period." Deadlines create distractions that rob your attention, the research indicates. Even with a deadline looming, to get creative you should focus on your work in an environment protected from distractions.

2. Competition is fear-based; collaboration is fun-based. If you want to amplify your creativity, the research tells you to foster the confidence to share your ideas with others. Be open to debate with collaborators and create a noncompetitive environment. You'll hit new heights of creativity!

3. Catching people doing things right, rather than punishing them for doing things wrong, is fun-based. Public celebrations, according to the research, of accomplishments are a boon for creativity. If you want to spark creativity, publicly recognize someone's work or contributions!

4. Sparking intrinsic motivation is what fun accomplishes when you use it as a motivator. Intrinsic motivation, the research proves, is critical to creativity. Anyone, it turns out, can be highly creative - when they become intrinsically motivated! Motivating yourself with fun clears away barriers and allows your experience, knowledge, and skills to foster new, creative ways of thinking.

5. You are more likely to have a creative breakthrough if you were happy the day before. When you're happy, which usually happens as a byproduct of fun-based motivation, the research clearly indicates a great chance of your happiness "incubating" overnight to show up as a creative idea the following day.

How about that? I couldn't have asked for more compelling evidence that fun is a better personal and professional motivator than fear. Amabile's 8-year study clearly shows that today's happiness predicts tomorrow's creativity! So start getting happy today by motivating yourself with fun and then re-create your world tomorrow!

By the way, Lady Jane Grey was reluctant to take the throne of England because she was only 15 years old and she held unpopular Protestant beliefs. Her reluctance was well-founded; the young Queen relinquished the crown after just 9 days, plead guilty to treason, and was eventually beheaded.

Let's give fear, as our motivator, the same fate. Fear becomes a nine day wonder when we replace it with fun today!

How to turbo-charge your health, success, and vitality! Clifford Kuhn, M.D., America's Laugh Doctor, teaches people and organizations to be more healthy and successful through the use of fun and humor. A psychiatrist, and the former associate chairperson of the University of Louisville's renowned Department of Psychiatry, Dr. Kuhn now dispenses his unique Fun Factor prescription from http://www.natural-humor-medicine.com/EZA7. On his website you will find tons of fun, free ways for you to maximize your sense of humor, and enjoy a life others will envy and admire.


MORE RESOURCES:

New York Times

Gabriele Oettingen Turns Her Mind to Motivation in 'Rethinking Positive Thinking'
New York Times
In her smart, lucid book, “Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation,” Dr. Oettingen critically re-examines positive thinking and give readers a more nuanced — and useful — understanding of motivation based on solid empirical ...



PsychCentral.com (blog)

Tips for Finding Motivation When You're Depressed
PsychCentral.com (blog)
Telling a depressed person to get motivated is like telling a rock to dance. You'll get the same result. It's not because depressed people don't want to get motivated. It's because getting motivated is an overwhelming task when you're depressed. Is ...



West Virginia MetroNews

Command performance: Mountaineers find their motivation to bury Wofford
West Virginia MetroNews
Finding plenty of motivation to avoid a trap game, No. 18 West Virginia staggered its mid-major guests with an early flurry and extended the domination wire-to-wire in a 77-44 victory Monday night before 7,897 at the Coliseum. “We wanted to come out ...

and more »


The secret to motivation? It lies within
The Globe and Mail (subscription)
Yet, according to motivation expert Susan Fowler, in thousands of experiments, the only correlation between incentives and performance is negative. External rewards undermine the energy, vitality and sense of positive well-being people need to achieve ...



Dave Boling: Fisher's Rams will show up with tricks and motivation
TheNewsTribune.com
RENTON — To those who think the St. Louis Rams will show up in Seattle without motivation because of their 6-9 record, here's a question: Have you been watching Rams coach Jeff Fisher? “It's not about rocking their world and affecting their playoffs ...

and more »


blogs.hbr.org (blog)

What Maslow's Hierarchy Won't Tell You About Motivation
blogs.hbr.org (blog)
At some point in their careers, most leaders have either consciously — or, more likely, unwittingly — based (or justified) their approach to motivation on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow's idea that people are motivated by satisfying lower-level ...



Zee News

All obese teens need right motivation to lose weight
Deccan Chronicle
Washington: A new study has revealed that overweight teens lose weight easily if they are motivated correctly. Chad Jensen, a psychologist at Brigham Young University, which conducted the study, said that parents should help to focus their teen on ...
All obese teens need 'right motivation' to lose weight Dec 26, 4:19 pmANINEWS

all 23 news articles »


Tech notebook: Coleman enters bowl game with added motivation
Richmond.com
1 tailback Saturday against Cincinnati in the Military Bowl, admitted that being dropped down the depth chart earlier this season helped motivate him. “Things happen and you just got to work hard and take advantage of your opportunities, which I ...

and more »


Holiday Hope: Mentorship fosters motivation for academic success
Gainesville Times
At the beginning, 10th-grader Josue Ferrel and Jim Sapp didn't want to talk much. “At first I didn't know him, so I was kind of shy,” said Josue, who has been Sapp's mentee since the seventh grade. “I didn't really know him, so it was different. I didn ...



Jay Gruden: Facing Cowboys should motivate Redskins plenty
Washington Post (blog)
Although they found themselves in a far different situation from their opponents on Saturday, the Washington Redskins summoned plenty of motivation and pulled off a 27-24 upset. The Redskins went toe-to-toe with the Eagles, although their season has ...

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