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What Makes you Unmotivated to Improve?

by Kevin D. Crone

October 17, 2016

Lately, a smart and solid business coach made a request and as a result we had a one-on-one mentor session.  He said he seemed to be in sessions with people who expressed that they realize the need to increase their performance and get better but, when it came right down to it, they just don’t do it. He said they seem to be stuck in the normal routine of their lives which takes over, and just can’t gather up the motivation and drive to act on improvement.

He wanted to know if this is normal and what he could do about it to help his clients and potential clients get started. I assured him that over my fifty plus years, roughly 70% of the people I talked to were lackadaisical about action. Everyone wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die. Of those that did act, about only half would stick it out because a lot of issues were in the way and then they would give up.

Here are 3 Typical Issues that Get in the Way of Action:

1)  Business politics, bureaucracy, competitive meanness and unfairness of some bosses and an organization’s toxic culture.

As a result, only 37% of employees are actually engaged in making a company and themselves better. Therefore, many of us have to fight to create a positive attitude zone for ourselves – one where we believe in self or business improvement and are motivated to act.

As tough as it can be, we have to rise above it – that’s what successful people do.  Just last week, I had lunch with a successful businessman who believes Ontario’s lack of productivity and competitiveness is because we have about 20% of employees now working for the government where there is little incentive to improve because of high wages, benefits and pensions, and little accountability exists. Now a government worker wouldn’t necessarily see that as an issue. The other 80% are a bit jealous because they have to produce and be accountable to get 14% – 16% higher wages, all those benefits, and pensions. Yet, in a globalized world, where lower costs are spread worldwide, robots are more dependable and growing in popularity, employees need to be highly knowledgeable and skilled to move ahead. He said “It isn’t fair and the debt it creates is killing us, not to mention our competitiveness and our economy.”

I can’t say that’s exactly how it is but, I do believe business is still a place to spread your wings, feel good about your contribution and, most times, it’s a fun team environment. Being in business is still a place to create wealth. Entrepreneurs are popping up everywhere, especially women entrepreneurs.

2)  Many have tried to quit smoking, lose weight, workout steadily or any other routine breaking improvements and failed to stick it out and succeed. So why bother? That’s the conclusion that can stay in our background thinking. “People can’t change!  We can’t change!”  This is nonsense thinking. It’s never too late to begin any improvement and when our desire for what we want is more important than the price we pay to change, it’s amazing how committed we become. As an example, many more people in Ontario choose health and fitness over stress and greasy or sugary food. The challenge is: few know or believe they can have what they want. Subsequently, they have no dream and goals that drive them.

3)  Jack Nicholson’s character in a Few Good Men said, “You can’t handle the truth.” It seems like we rationalize our behaviour away, make excuses for ourselves and let ourselves off the hook. As a result, we’re probably different than what we think we are.   It’s like trying to correct your spouse on their behaviour. You’re asking for trouble.  As tough as it is, we need to have a clear vision of our desired wants and a factual reality comparison. The truth is too many people don’t have either. Realities not attached to a vision can be taken as negative criticism and that’s when we become emotional and reactive. Jack’s character is right.

Other reasons: Maybe we’re spoiled in Canada, too laid-back and easy going, or we fear change. Maybe some people are just plain lazy. A wake-up usually comes from a bad thing happening to us, like a heart attack or diabetes diagnosis. Sometimes that gets people going. But, strangely enough, not always.




In summary, desire and goals attached to a truthful factual reality usually causes action. When you want something badly enough you become very committed. Success-oriented people are improvement-oriented. They have both.




You’re probably improvement-oriented or you wouldn’t be reading this but don’t forget to reset the start button. Don’t forget comfort is not a goal, it’s a by-product of improvement. Allow coaching. Keep growing.

Have a great week!

Kevin D. Crone
Dale Carnegie Business Group
(905) 826-7300

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