Living in Cognitive Dissonance


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Motivate my team! It’s the battle cry of many frustrated managers. This cry has seen many unhappy employees be guided through ‘inspirational,”motivational and /or ‘energizing’ sessions. These sessions range from fantastic showmanship to banal debacles.

Motivation is like a cup of coffee. As the music fades and the last buffet sandwich is prepared for home consumption, professional motivators take their cheque. A hollow feeling sets it… Monday is Monday, it’s back to work. More coffee is the answer! As much as coffee drinkers ‘outsource their state of focus, wakeful attention and concentration to coffee conglomerates, managers often likewise ‘outsource their motivational state’ to expensive motivation specialists.

Save your money and get real results. Is it really so difficult to motivate people? It’s really quite simple… Most people live in a state known as cognitive dissonance. Ask your team to answer the following: What was your dream career as a young person? Your team members should be reviewed one-by-one. It may surprise you to find out that your team includes potential pilots or doctors, artists or soccer players. Only a handful will actually have chosen the subject they are interested in and found the job that suits them. These are not surprising because they are some of the most self-motivated, successful, and/or satisfied members of your group. They live a life that aligns with their goals. It raises the question, what will you do about all the accountants and salesmen that dreamed of being painters?

Give them their lives back and help them create energy powerhouses

Step 1 Help your people get out of cognitive dissonance. Help them see the reason they aren’t following their dreams. Unsurprisingly, the majority of childhood dreams of most people were destroyed at an early age due to the good advice given by their parents. Unfortunately, most children do not receive the guidance they need at an early age. This blocks their ability to create different life-dreams and forces them to concentrate on the goal that is most important to them. I vividly remember my father being concerned over me and my siblings as a child. He watched every step of our teenage dreams, and translated doom or perdition into many of our plans. He would give us regular career interviews’ to learn what we wanted. I had always wanted to be an archaeologist. However, he was in love with me and feared that I would pursue a dull career. He then helped me to become an Engineer, which was in line with his life’s ambition. He was an exceptional engineer with 3 Masters and a PhD. I studied engineering for a Masters and then never returned to the subject again, knowing that I was one of the most unqualified engineers to ever have walked the halls of our Mother Earth.