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It is interesting how we are accustomed to hearing  and applying the concept of positive motivations in our lives to achieve our goals. It seems quite natural and comfortable to fall in line with this kind of thinking. We hear it from all walks of life and the first thing most people tell us when things are not going well is to think and stay positive.

Positive motivation definitely has the majority role in getting people off the stagnation bench and into the game of taking action. Nonetheless, through out my life and my career there has been another kind of motivational source. That source is the power of Negative Motivation.

Before folks start to disagree with me, first listen to my case. When I was younger and developing an interest in sports specifically basketball, my contemporaries who would later become my competition would tell me, “Ramone, you’re not very good and you’re too small to short to play this sport. Try something else. As my fragile self-esteem was still in developmental stage hearing those critiques hurt and frustrated me.  However, something else happened. By continuously playing the sport and never giving up, not only did I get better but I actually got better than a lot of the naysayers that tried to discourage me. Unfortunately I did not get to the level I wanted too but I did improve and got respect for my game.

Another time while in high school, I had a white teacher tell me once, “you’re going to work in MacDonald's for the rest of your life”.  I’ll be honest, at the time I was doing horribly academically therefore there was some merit to his criticism. Nonetheless I always knew I was going to college. Just something inside of me that was all but instinctual. One could not tell from my poor grades and bad choices to hang out in the street with my friends, but I always knew. Years later after dropping out of high school and getting a GED, I graduated from college in 1994.

The same was said to me when I considered graduate school. I was informed by a professor that I was not graduate school material. I applied and got accepted into a Masters in Political Science program and I graduated with awesome grades in 2000.

Finally I was told that I’m not a great writer and that you have to be a real wordsmith in order to write a book that people will like and buy. I wrote and published my first book ‘African American Healthy Self-Esteem’, working on a second one and presently a contributing writer for as well as

By giving these examples I am illustrating a point. Throughout most of my life and in regards to the goals I achieved were initially sparked by Negative Motivation. When I tried to do something someone usually said I couldn’t do it because I was too much this, too less that, not enough of the other, or I just lacked the talent. In my life it was the negative motivations that were the most powerful driving forces allowing me to my achieve goals. It was the ‘I’ll show you’ mentally that in reality worked for me. This does not mean it was easy to achieve these goal. Be certain that they were serious challenges. What I am conveying is that I refused to be stopped.

Ask your self a few simple questions:

·         Has anyone told you that you could not do something and you did it anyway, successfully?

·         Were you so angry at family or friends who did not buy into your dreams/goals that it drove you harder to achieve them?

·         If you were pursuing a goal and faced challenge after challenge but refused to quit out of anger?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then yes, you were motivated by negative motivation.

 I know it is counter intuitive but some times its good to embrace the inner anger of I’ll show them’ to pursue you goals. To be frank, it does not matter what psychological or mental vehicle we use to motivate us, just use it, have some actions in that direction behind it, and chances are you will reach them.

The ultimate goal is to be happy,  practice self-acceptance and have good self-esteem. This understanding come with answering the ‘Why’ question while you’re on your journey. As you start the path of going after your goals or continuing it, I endorse whatever motivational mental stratagems available to you to achieving them.   

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