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Motivation by Fear

In the 1992 movie Glengarry Glen Ross, a young Alec Baldwin (Blake) begins his sales meeting by berating his team of humiliated real estate salesmen. They have had a hard few weeks of sales. This is the same movie famous for the quote, “Put that coffee down! Coffee’s for closers only

Baldwin screams into their faces as though he is a Marine sergeant. He tells them that he is starting a sales contest to see who can close the most sales. “The first prize is a Cadillac El Dorado. The second prize is a set of steak knives“. And then he tells them, “The third prize? You’re fired!“.

That is motivating by fear. Fear is a powerful motivator! Maybe the most powerful. Marketers use it to sell antibacterial soap (because apparently, regular soap doesn’t do the job); alarm systems (peace of mind, right?); and even cereal (because otherwise, we might not get our daily FDA established nutrition).

But Psychology Today says (here) that motivation by fear doesn’t last because of the fear/paralysis deer-in-the-headlight effect. Ultimately, no one wants to keep working under the threat of fear. Instead, it will cause work paralysis. It’s why says that fear motivation in the workplace does not work. (here)

We all respond better to a positive reinforcement.  Zig Ziglar made a living on positive thinking. He called negativity “stinkin’ thinkin“. I remember leaving one of his seminars and feeling like I could conquer the world. He said, “Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will“.

Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier! Colin Powell


And for our pic o’ day, I was just in the mood for some cow humor. Just because!



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