Return to site

What a Cranky Old Gentleman Can Teach Us About Motivation

First Video :)

The story explains the overjustification effect, and it's very important for us to be aware of it. So we can recoup the wonderful benefit of self-motivation. I strongly believe any change starts with a simple mindset shift.

World renowned psychologist Dr. Milton Erickson's work left a profound impression on me. With a patient of his who was feeling extremely sad and started crying during their session, Dr. Erickson went to another room and walked back with a pot of plant. He handed the plant to the patient and said "Now, you can use the tears to water the plant." Such an ingenious way to redirect the patient's attention and reassociate meaning. It snaps the patient out of his own pattern, and change starts right there.

Dr. Erickson has used similar strategy to cause changes on the most difficult patients. A lot of talking therapy causes someone to dwell on an issue without providing a way out. That's why someone could be seeing a therapist for a lifetime without any tangible changes. There is value and place for talking things over and having a deeper understanding of 'why'. But it's fascinating to see how effective Dr. Erickson's approaches are.