Wednesday, September 22, 2010
NEEDING A NUDGE from Life Support Systems
NEEDING A NUDGE
A wiser person than I once said that humans have four basic needs.
One is the need to be nurtured. Next is the need to be needed.
Third, the need to be noticed. And finally, the need to be nudged.
Although I never had much luck nudging my own children, I've often
thought of a story about a small boy who could not be nudged to quit
banging a drum. Various attempts were made to do something about
quieting the child.
One person told the boy that he would, if he continued to make so
much noise, perforate his eardrums. This reasoning was too advanced
for the child, who was neither a scientist nor a scholar.
A second person told him that drum beating was a sacred activity and
should be carried out only on special occasions. A third person
offered the neighbors plugs for their ears; a fourth gave the boy a
book; a fifth gave the neighbors books that described a method of
controlling anger through ; a sixth person gave the boy
meditation exercises to make him placid and docile. None of these
Eventually, a wise person came along with an effective motivation.
He looked at the situation, handed the child a hammer and chisel,
and asked, "I wonder what is INSIDE the drum?"
No more problem.
I agree that we sometimes need to be nudged. At times, we may need
to be nudged into healthier behaviors. Or maybe nudged out of
destructive relationships or patterns. Or simply nudged to think a
little bigger; to do or be a something more challenging and less
No doubt, that is why the motivational industry is so successful.
(And no, it is probably not true that if you listen to your
motivational tapes backwards you will become a failure. I think a
couple of you may have been worried about that.)
It seems to me that good leaders know about this basic human need to
be prodded, challenged and encouraged. They also know that the best
way to nudge someone is often simply to invite them along a path
that is more appealing than the one they've chosen. The best leaders
teach us to dream and tempt us to do more than we ever thought
possible. They challenge us to be a part of something great.
Writer said, "If you want to build a ship,
don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give
orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea."
Sometimes all we need is a nudge to desire something magnificent.
Is this the nudge you need?
-- Steve Goodier
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