Has this ever happened to you? You just finish performing the most amazing magic of your career, complete with emotional hooks and theatrical arcs, and yet the only response from the audience is: “How did you do that?”
Some may see this kind of a response as a compliment to a magician, but I’m not you’re every day average magician. I’m not in the business of pulling the wool over the eyes and fooling my audience. No, I’m in a much more interesting line of work. I’m on a mission to help people experience the next level of enjoyment and excellence in their lives, and it just so happens that I do this by performing Positivity Magic that communicates principles and practices for choosing fascination rather than frustration in the face of life’s surprises.
Some of the people who get the most value out of this work are individuals who tend to get so stuck in the details that they can't see the bigger picture. For these folks it takes a little more coaching to allow them space to overcome their fears of the unknown and experience a positive breakthrough. Once I'm able to help guide them away from fruitless questions (ie "How did you do that?" "Why is this happening to me?") and to instead ask the more fruitful questions (ie "What did I do to put myself into this situation?" "How can I use this experience to grow?") that's when true breakthroughs are made possible.
The Role of Motivation
According to the DISC Behavioral Model, 17% of the population is classified as compliant, correct, and cautious, with a passive and task-oriented mindset commonly motivated by the fear of criticism. These are the people who need to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s, and they need all the details prepared before they can make decisions. It’s in their nature to be cautious so they are careful to ensure everything is correct.
For those who are motivated with “High C” behaviors, the Magic Word Preparation is quite important because it helps keep their biggest fear at bay, however their actions have additional intrinsic value beyond just the fear of criticism. Careful action also ensures that they do the right thing, even when doing the wrong (or immoral) thing would be far easier in the short term. There’s plenty of research with a focus on what makes people happy, but here we’re focusing on behaviors that are “right” or “correct,” which might not necessarily result in the same feel-good qualities as happiness.
Apples, Cases & BarrelsA 2010 study explores the consequences of unethical behaviors and intentions, exploring actions like stealing, cheating, and lying in the workplace. The analysis used three categories:
Bad Apples are those who reject universal ethics in favor of moral relativism, and who also fail to recognize the relationship between their personal behavior and the resulting consequences.
Bad Cases are situations where doing the wrong thing had lower perceived consequences, such as when consequences were not imminent, or when penalties are shared by many rather than blame placed on just one individual.
Bad Barrels are work environments where behavior expectations are not enforced, and are also apathetic to the well-being of others—whether employees, customers, vendors, or the community at large.
In short, there are many things that could cause someone to choose the wrong thing over the right thing—whether due to flawed personal character, opportunistic circumstances, or a negative environment—yet comparatively few reasons to choose the right. In response to this study, Dr. Christopher Peterson, one of the founders of positive psychology, stated:
“Those who do the right thing are people who do not see others as means to ends, those who believe they are responsible for what happens to themselves, and those who are happy.”ControlFor our purposes we're going to focus on Dr. Peterson’s second point. When we have an internal locus of control we place the blame or praise for our failures or successes on our own efforts, and if we hold this sort of expectation we become motivated to do all we can to achieve ambitions that genuinely matter to our areas of passion and purpose. In other words, correct actions include doing the right things by preparing for the future that we expect. And while expectations are not always met, they certainly have a much better chance of coming into existence when we do the work necessary to prepare for them. As the poet Margaret Elizabeth Sangster reminds us:
“It isn't the things you do, but rather, it's the things that you leave undone, which gives you a bit of heartache, at the setting of the sun.”What are our actions of today preparing for the outcomes of tomorrow? Having an open perspective and believing in a meaningful purpose is important, but unless our actions today and every day prepare for the fulfillment of this purpose we will be destined to settle for a rehash of our current station.
If you’re looking for positive results with your chosen purpose then you will be called to do the right things today—even when doing the wrong things (procrastinating!) may be the more alluring options for your temporary, short term happiness. Best of all, when you employ the Magic Word Preparation, your future self will always thank you for it!
Jonas Cain is an Instructional Designer, Facilitator of Fascination, and Purveyor of Positivity for Hashtag Positivity, a social entrepreneurship that provides training, coaching, and resources to emerging leaders and their influencers to help them gain a leading edge in today’s world.