I recently was on a leadership retreat for a business school mentorship program and I asked about 10 different people the reason that they joined this organization. For every single person I talked to the conversation when something along these lines:
“So why do you want to be a part of this group?”
“Oh, umm, leadership experience I guess.”
“Why do you need leadership experience?”
“Ah, to put on my resume.”
“Why do you want this on your resume?”
“So I can talk about it in the interview process and get a good job.”
“Why do you want a good job?”
“So I can make a lot of money.”
Several of the people explained the reasoning behind wanting to make a lot of money was to pay off student loans, help support their struggling family, or become financially independent of their parents. These are terrific reasons to want to work hard although there were a few who chuckled and said “to be rich.”
We have taught our youth to do things because of delayed gratification. Studying allows you to do well and get into a good college. Athletics allow you to get recognized and perhaps get a scholarship. Clubs and leadership opportunities get you into a good college which in turn allows you to get a good job. These are all too common statements that end up being our motivation for doing things and our intention is wrong from the start. We should be studying, joining teams and clubs for ourselves, for fun, to learn about dealing with people, and to push ourselves to find our capabilities rather than allowing this diction bestowed upon us to become our motivation.
We wonder why our society drastically destroying the earth for resources to create more stuff? We focus on the gratification from reward rather than the gratification of performing something here and now for the sake of doing it.
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Here are some words from a perspective, some of it old, some new, none false, none true.