If we want to lead a satisfactory life, we do work we enjoy in the most productive way to yield good results. To achieve this it is vital that we learn how to manage motivation and control. They go hand in hand. The best preparation is to have kind parents and kind teachers who don’t force their ideas on us but notice what we like doing most and and provide the tools for us to develop our own potential.
No-one can teach us motivation but we can create an environment for children to discover what arouses enthusiasm for them. It wasn’t until I went to grammar school and heard a pupil playing on the piano that my whole being was uplifted with the beauty of an impromptu by Schubert. It opened a whole new world for me and I have loved what we call classical music ever since.
If we could only do what we enjoy doing that lifts our spirits and makes life worth living, there would be no such things as bad behaviour, cruelty and lack of attention. Surely there must be a way where we can rule out compulsory subjects for those who dislike them. I can remember how I hated outdoor group games and found all kinds of ways to avoid doing them.
Motivation and control only work when they are the positive not the negative variety. It depends on the environment. Teachers can rarely motivate children unless they happen to be teaching a subject that a child is drawn to. Motivation comes from inside potentials that are awakened by something from outside. No-one can make you be motivated by something that you don’t like. Winston Churchill loathed Latin and loved English Literature and Language and what a genius he turned out to be regardless of the opinions of his classic teachers!
The increasing regimentation of teaching in comprehensive schools, where everyone is “taught” the same things in the same way is doomed to failure.
Control is profoundly necessary in everything that matters. In schools they call it “discipline” which “they” think is subduing bad behaviour:
a) it is impossible
b) it causes unnecessary exhaustion and misery to the teachers.
The only real control is self-control: something we learn to do for ourselves. Dominating parents and teachers that use forceful tactics arouse nothing but irritation and bad behaviour. Discipline in the armed forces is a different matter because it is in a different context. Children are obliged to go to school whilst young men (and a much smaller number of women) choose to join up. As I have mentioned before when a war breaks out there has never been a lack of volunteers. They accept all kinds of uniforms, orders, rules and hard physical work gladly. They know that they must learn to obey orders at once and willingly because those tactics are there to save as many people as possible in dangerous situations.
We pay a price for everything we want to do because we want to do it as well as we possibly can. That price is self-discipline, our own inner sergeant-major that makes us do whatever we have to do to achieve what we want to achieve.