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  • Scott Kelley

Praise Them To Motivate Them

Got people in your life that don’t get things done? Why don’t they? Lazy? Procrastinator? Depressed? Maybe they don’t see that it is important. Maybe they don’t know how to do it right or they are afraid of doing it wrong.


You have tried everything – nagging, raising your voice, threatening, bribing, allowance…nothing works. I know, I have done all these things, sadly.

How do you get them to do it?


Research has shown that the only external motivator that leads to internal motivation is praise.


  • External motivator = anything that you do to motivate others. Payments, rewards, consequences, and punishments are all types of external motivators.

  • Internal motivation – the desire to do it on their own without any external motivator.


Any time you use payment as an external motivator, the person will continually desire a payment to do what needs to be done. “If you clean your room, you can have ice cream.”


Any time you take something way for not doing something, they will do the work because they don’t want to be punished, not because they really want to. So, you have to keep threatening them to get the work done. “If you don’t clean your room, I’m going to take your phone from you.”


There are times when these external motivators need to be used. However, these motivators do very little to instill an internal drive for the person to do the task because it is the right thing to do. Most external motivators keep people from learning to be internally motivated to do the right thing.


The only external motivator that leads to internal motivation is praise.


When a person is praised for what they accomplish, even if it is not perfect, they will not only move towards doing it again on their own, but also begin to find some satisfaction in it.


“Great job cleaning your room! You are such a great organizer. I like where you put your books. That’s a great idea!” Just be sure you are being sincere when giving praise. People can tell when you are not being genuine.


Focus on what was done correctly and people will move in that direction. “Great job doing your best in school. I know you are smart and hardworking. You have what it takes to do well.” Even if you think they can do a better job, praise them for what they are doing and see what happens.


Again, there is a time and place for payments and punishments but try praise first. You can do it!


The Bible speaks much about speaking well and giving praise because it is very important.


Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24


Encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11


See also: Colossians 4:5-6, Titus 3:2, Proverbs 15:1, 2 Timothy 2:24-26, Galatians 6:1, James 1:19-20, Philippians 2:3-4, Hebrews 10:24-25, Ephesians 4:29, 32, Proverbs 25:11, Proverbs 12:25


Notice what the people in your life are doing. Praise them for it. And they will slowly begin to do it on their own.


You have what it takes!

Not motivated yourself? Spend time in the presence of the Father and hear Him encourage you.


The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He takes great delight in you; He quiets you with His love, He rejoices over you with singing.

Zephaniah 3:17


And get around more encouraging people in your life!

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