How can you motivate yourself to accomplish things when there is no negative consequence to “not doing”?

You may hear of individuals who find it easier to collect an unemployment check than to put forth the effort to find a job.

An overweight person may not start an exercise program and revise their eating habits until they are faced with the consequence of diabetes or heart disease as diagnosed by their doctor.

A college student may not finalize their resume and search for a career opportunity when it is comfortable, easy and free to live at home after graduation with their parents and sleep in their childhood bed until they are faced with the consequence of paying rent and handling their own expenses.

A lazy husband may not help to clean the house for a dinner party until his work friends are invited to his home for a celebration.

A business may not place sand bags by the doors of the establishment during hurricane season until the first few drops of rain begin to fall.

The truly successful and fulfilled individuals are those who have discipline and perseverance. They get things done not because there is a negative outcome for not doing something, but because of the natural sense of accomplishment when something is completed.

When you look to hire a new employee, be sure to ask them, “What motivates you?” Listen intently for the answer and see if the motivation comes intrinsically or extrinsically. Just last week I had dinner with a very successful restaurateur who chose to make a difference with his life due to factors during his childhood. His father continuously said he would never make anything of himself. While there was no immediate consequence to his actions as a child, the message and opinion of his father propelled him to work exceptionally hard as an adult. After many years, his father lost his memory and could not remember the unjust demands he had placed on his son. This man continues to push himself to this day, and even though his father has since passed, strives to make a positive impact on his company and the people he leads.

Are you the type of person who consistently makes the extra effort to improve yourself and to contribute to making the world a better place because it’s the right thing to do? Or do you do these things only when the consequences of “not doing” outweigh the effort needed to accomplish these items?