noun: the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.

“escape can be a strong motivation for travel”

the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.

“keep staff up to date and maintain interest and motivation”

motivation is different for everyone. in my case, it has taken many different forms, over the years. it’s funny to think back to the different tactics, that different people used to get me to do things. some people have been so creative, that i didn’t even know that i had been motivated.

wherein, lies a fine line. what is the difference between, motivation, and manipulation? are they, cousins…very closely related? how do you know, if you are being motivated, or manipulated? let’s take a look at the definition…

noun: the act or practice of manipulating.

the state of being manipulated.

shrewd or devious management, especially for one’s own advantage.

when i look at both of the words, the first thing that i notice, is that they are both words calling the receiver, to some sort of action. in that sense, I believe that the words are related. however, i believe that motivation, is more of a positive. when i am motivated…i’m pumped, built up, ready for action, it is a choice, that i am choosing for myself. and, i believe that manipulation, is more of a negative. when i’m being manipulated, it is not my choice, and sometimes, i don’t even know that it is happening…it generally means, that i am doing someone else’s bidding. i don’t like, manipulation. i don’t like how it makes me feel, after i find out, that i’ve been, manipulated. I feel like a sucker.

early motivators for me, were food, money, and television time. standard fare, used by my parents, to get me to make a choice, to do what they envisioned for me to do. they knew that other than, affection, those were their best motivational tools.

my mom struggled with, anorexia and bulimia, her entire life. as a result, my family’s food intake, was scaled way back, as she didn’t want any of us getting, “fat,” or developing, “unhealthy,” eating habits. often times, my mom would want, or need help with tasks around the house. she motivated me to help, by offering me a spoonful of peanut butter, a frozen banana, some string cheese, or some plain yogurt, with honey, and wheat germ.

i would do just about anything to score, extra food, especially, a “goodie!” tasks could be anything: hanging up laundry, on the clothesline…folding, and putting away laundry…grocery shopping…cooking dinner…babysitting my sister…putting groceries away…ironing my dad’s work clothes, our sunday dresses, good linens…watering plants, trees, and shrubs, both, indoor and outdoor…pruning, etc. i was very adept, at all of these tasks.

my dad knew, that from a very young age, i would do nearly anything, for money. i remember earning money, as early as three years old. when i could hold and manipulate basic tools, like a hammer, and screwdriver. my dad remodeled every home, that we ever lived in. our surroundings were always in, some sort of transitional stage. there always seemed to be piles of old building materials, to negotiate around, both inside, and outside.

eventually, i learned the value of a dollar, and negotiated a wage increase, but initially, being a three year old, and not knowing any better…i agreed to a nickel, per pound, of nails, or screws, pulled, or unscrewed from boards. i was surely motivated, by greed! i was very industrious.

i became very entrepreneurial, offering services to neighbors, to accommodate needs, that they had never thought of before, and all for baragain basement fees. for instance, i would collect all of the snails out of a neighbor’s, front and back yards, for fifty cents. i would “dead-head,” another neighbor’s flower gardens, for twenty-five cents. and, i would spend the day collecting ladybugs, to release into, another neighbor’s yard, to protect their flowers, and plants, from aphids, for a dollar.

i was very motivated to keep my sister entertained, at all costs. for every two hours, that I entertained her, kept her quiet, and out of my mother’s hair, i would earn fifteen minutes of television time. i loved television! at the time, other than my imagination, television, was the only escape that i had.

one person that really knew what motivated me, and knew both how to motivate, and manipulate me, was my best friend, from age five, to about age fifteen, crissie. crissie, was very smart, and very masterful! later in life, it was very difficult for me, to draw the distinction between, whether she had motivated me, manipulated me, or both…the lines became very blurred.

knowing that i never really got any sugary snacks, or goodies, crissie, would motivate/manipulate me to do her chores for her, by enticing me with: pop tarts, captain crunch cereal, soda, juice, pudding, jello, ice cream, candy, and even white bread. she would wait for her mom to leave, and then, i would get to work. one other way that she, motivated/manipulated me, was by giving me, what she called, “grab bags,” which were essentially, just her old stuff, that she no longer wanted, and would have ended up giving away, anyway…in a brown paper bag, which i was not, “allowed,” to open, until i got back to my house.

crissie, had a great, big, german shepherd…named, shiloh. one of her chores, was to pick up, all of, shiloh’s shit, and haul it to the trash. crissie’s yard was enormous, but i agreed to do it, for what she promised me, was going to be something, in a giant bag…that, i would never forget. it took me about three hours, to comb that entire yard, for shiloh shit. finally, i was finished. i collected my giant, paper bag, full, and heavy with, something, i would never forget.

i ran as fast, as i could, through the canyon, that separated our two houses. i flew in the door. i breezed past my mom, who wanted to know what i was doing. not wanting to wait, even one moment longer…i ignored her, and pretended like i didn’t hear her. i sat cross-legged, in the middle of our brand new, avocado, green, shag carpeting…turned the bag upside down. and, it was with anticipation, that i watched my motivation, spill out, over our new carpeting.

sure enough, she was true to her word. it was something, that i was never going to forget…and, the spanking that i received, as a result of it…was also, something that i was never going to forget. as i cleaned up, or tried to clean up, the bucket of sand, that i dumped into our brand, new carpeting…i told myself, that i would always remember the difference, between motivation, and manipulation.

i will be posting more about motivation, in my next post…




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