Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Your Motivator: Love Winning or Hate Losing?

I think that everything we do is driven by one of two things. We do something either because we want to get it done, or we don’t want to not get it done. I know that sounds like semantics, but I believe there’s a big difference. I cut my lawn because I don’t want to fail in keeping my lawn cut. I don’t want to be the guy in the neighborhood who’s lawn looks like poo. However, the guy across the street from me loves his lawn and cuts it because he wants to have the nicest looking lawn in town.

As an accounting teacher, I frequently have CPA’s & other business professionals come in and talk to my kids. Years ago, I had one in that was discussing the interview process. He said that a question their firm asks everyone is, “Do you love to win or hate to lose?” He had the kids answer that question to themselves and went on to explain that they like to hire people who hate to lose. He said that they found that if a person hates to lose, they’ll do anything to avoid not getting the job done.

This has stuck with me for almost a decade now. I still think about it and am fascinated by it. A buddy of mine often says, “It’s not fun unless there’s a loser.” He hates to lose! We laugh all the time when he says it, but I think that it’s funny because there’s truth to it. I am sure that I’m a “hates to lose” (HtL) person. I find myself most driven when someone tells me I can’t do something rather than when someone gives me encouragement. On the other hand, my wife definitely “loves to win” (LtW) and she’s way smarter than I am (I swear I’m not saying that just in case she reads this).

I often think about this with my students and what gets them going more. I know for sure that they are more into something when it’s a game. However, what I don’t know, is which kids are trying to win and which kids are trying not to lose. Can we, as teachers, differentiate our lessons / games / competitions to target the “LtW” kids in one way and the “HtL” kids in another? Should we? What are our classrooms more full of? What do you think? If you have time, ask your kids and comment back with results for us?

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