Remember the Greek Movie, "Never on Sunday"?
It tells the story of two people, Homer, and Ilya. Homer is a philosopher pursuing an intellectual lifestyle. Ilya is a fun-loving lady pursuing a sensual lifestyle. She takes off every Sunday to watch Greek Tragedies and imagines the endings are happy. Homer tries to change her into an intellectual. At first, she changes in response to his efforts; but, by the end of the movie, she reverts to her old ways. Why? We seek 'feel-good' experiences because we are biological. Yet life's meaning, purpose and goals, do not 'exist' in time and space; they are not physical things that can be directly observed, just as the 'past' and the 'future' do not 'exist' in the present physical world.
It's Human Nature
Yes, it's human nature to presume that other people can learn to enjoy what you enjoy. A good example is the Odd Couple. Two men; a neat freak and a slob separated from their wives, having to live together despite their differences. People miscommunicate when they do not feel strongly about the same values. They misunderstand one another. 'Not Getting It' can be serious business. Every so often it breaks out in a cultural war. Understanding what motivates each of us is key. Cooperation is possible when we leverage knowledge in the following areas:
Leverage the Following
1. Power: The desire for 'power' creates a need for feelings of mastery and competence and motivates efforts to pursue challenges and ambitions. Individuals motivated by a need for 'power' intrinsically desire achievements and leadership positions. They tend to dominate conversations and prefer being in charge. If they lack social skills they simply try to dominate others. J. Edgar Hoover (1895-1972) is an excellent example of someone who had a strong desire for power. Hoover was named Director of the FBI on December 10, 1924 and held the position until his death in 1972. He became so powerful that even U.S. Presidents were afraid to fire him.
2. Independence: Self-reliance. Freedom. Leaving the nest. Independent minded people dislike having to rely on others. Independence prods adolescents to set out from their parents' homes and make a home of their own. It may motivate a teenager to get his own car (unfortunately, it may not motivate him to get his own job!). Independence is a basic desire. Children may resent parents who discourage them from growing up. And, the elderly dislike becoming residents of nursing homes.
3. Curiosity: Curiosity is the desire to learn for learning's own sake. It prods us to explore our environment and learn from our experiences. Learning makes us more efficient. Abraham Lincoln is an example of a highly curious person. He wanted to learn, to know, and to reach out. As a child he borrowed books from his neighbors and read them cover to cover. He boasted that he had read Aesop's Fables so often he could rewrite the text from memory without loss of a single word.
4. Idealism: Idealism is the desire for social justice and fairness. It motivates us to join service organizations, volunteer, give to charity, or work toward improvement of the community. Some people join the clergy for idealistic reasons. Many devote a large portion of their careers to making the world a better place. Idealism motivates people to intrinsically value fairness and justice. It's this sense of 'fairness' that is the foundation for the complex ideas of social equality and equality under the law.
5. Social Contact: Children generally prefer playing with others rather than alone. Sociability is correlated with being cheerful and having goodwill toward others. In Woody Allen's movie Annie Hall, Alvy Singer is a person who does not make friends easily (he thinks everything is divided between horrible and miserable). His friend, Annie is a much more upbeat, positive, and sociable person. Their differences drive them apart when Annie leaves Alvy to seek romance in Southern California.
6. Status: Status is a desire for prestige. The need for attention increases chances for survival. It can lead to better nutrition, health care, and privilege. An example; upper-class passengers were given the first opportunity to fill the lifeboats when the Titanic started to sink. Status is highly valued in most societies. Social climbers strive for higher status, egalitarians seek lower status. The caste system in India is a striking example; there, membership in a caste determines what jobs you take, whom you can marry, what you can eat, and with whom you socialize.
7. Physical Activity: The human body is built for movement. Many enjoy organized sports, or walking or jogging. Walter Payton, the NFL's great running back expressed extrinsic joy in physical activity. Recall the Bears' Super Bowl Shuffle? "My name is Sweetness, And I like to dance. Runnin' the ball, is like making romance".
In the short term incentives can provide needed motivation (carrots and sticks). But over the long haul incentives rarely work. The alternative is to understand why people do what they do. Sometimes it's what you can't see that matters.
"One man can make a difference, and, every man should try." - JFK.
About Our Law Firm
We provide peace of mind by creating and managing structures that allow you to grow and protect your business, legacy, and personal wealth. "Where you'll be tomorrow, depends on what you do today."
Lechner Law Office, P.C.
Law and Professional Center
Orland Hills, Illinois 60487-4623
Paul Lechner Esq., CPA
The Lechner Group, Ltd.
Business Advisory Services
The Lechner Group, Ltd. is a public accounting and business consulting firm focused on business counsel, transactional diligence, and tax advisory services. We add value to your business strategies by providing a combination of financial, audit, and tax expertise. Combined with legal services (which are provided separately by the Lechner Law Office, P.C.) we offer privately held business owners an attractive package of comprehensive services.
Find out more by calling Paul Lechner at 708.460.6686.