Tuesday 19 May 2015

The fallacy of fixing things (more on motivation, and its lack, and its absolute necessity)

Almost all of public life nowadays focuses around the business of fixing things; and virtually no fixing actually gets done.

It is certainly a thing which draws you in: diagnosing what is wrong, coming-up with schemes to fix it...

But it is wearying because the most sensible (simple, effective) schemes don't ever get adopted - and instead there are stubborn attempts to 'implement' ineffective, complex schemes, which are only tangentially related to what needs fixing - or else completely unrelated but simply 'sold' on the basis of lies and misrepresentation. Once introduced these useless, expensive, intrusive schemes are virtually impossible to dislodge.

But none of this stops the bandwagon rolling. Every day new fixes, critique of fixes, defences of fixes...

Things don't get fixed because at a very fundamental level people don't want them fixed. Failed pseudo-fixes persist because people benefit from the failures.


Motivation, motivation, motivation! The key to humans is motivation. Real motivations - and not asserted motivations.

In Britain all sorts of agencies and organizations are always claiming to be 'passionate' about some or other issue - but that is the point: they are not passionate, they are not motivated - they merely use the word.

Being passionate, being powerfully motivated, is not about rhetoric, nor is it about making passionate faces or noises: it is seen in actions.


The level of lying in public life, in organization life, in any of the bureaucracies - is so vast that it is really better not to listen to the words or look at the pictures; but just look at what people do, and what they do not do.

Less information is more knowledge. Less training is more understanding.

And nothing can or will be done without motivation - motivated leaders; yes - but motivated leaders only come in a context of motivated followers; otherwise there are just fake-motivated leaders (and a pretty feeble fake it is too).


There is really very little point in the vast exercises in information gathering and analysis, in strategies and plans and regulations, when there is near zero motivation. To say we are living in a house of cards is to understate the situation.

If or when any group emerges that is genuinely motivated they will simply walk-in and seize power; nobody will be sufficiently motivated to stop them; and they will attract support simply because they are motivated.

Such motivation cannot be manufactured; there is no formula or trick - it must tap-into some reality of human nature. This doesn't at all mean that anything which motivates is good; but it does mean that anything which fails to motivate is bad.


And our general societal state of demotivation is bad: it is completely unacceptable.

We should not tolerate it, we should not try and get used to it or adjust to it; we should regard it as a matter of extreme urgency to find what it takes to motivate us.

I do not mean motivation at any cost; but I do mean that we must reject anything which does not motivate.

I do not mean superficial motivation, a motivation for an hour or a day or a fortnight (these are over-provided a thousandfold) - I mean deep, slow-burning, sinewy, rugged, tenacious, stubborn, resistant motivation - that drives-us, drags-us, fuels-us, and inspires-us to trudge onward through the headwinds and bogs and despite our handicaps and hunger.


Motivation cannot be faked; and if we have it, then we know it.

We do not have it, as a culture; but it is there to be had.

It is absolutely necessary; and we should be satisfied with nothing less.


1 comment:

Nicholas Fulford said...

Hear, hear!

Act! Act!

Persist like Frodo and find things about yourself that you scarcely could imagine at the start.