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Jory Des Jardins

I like to think that constraints in life often provide a good impetus for will and desire, but once these contraints are no longer a factor, the human will and desire must continue on its own if that person is to continue to grow. Think of the child who wills her way out of poverty. At some point, when poverty is no longer her reality, she has to find a new reason to pursue what she loves. So many of my favorite movies deal with this concept, with the hero/heroine often forgetting or not acknowledging the true passion behind what made them great. They have a "falling out" with their passion, until they discover that it's not just a means of redemption.

I guess this is a long way of saying that I agree with both of you!

Rosa Say

Very thought provoking Felix. I do believe that adversity can make us stronger, however for me that is more evidence for desire being the core catalyst. When desire is missing, those without the energy of self-motivation too easily fall prey to allowing the constraint to be their excuse for not succeeding. "Motivation is an inside job."

The example you give with your own Ph.D. program is a good one: By far, we find the adult learner is so much more passionate about his or her learning because they have chosen their course of study. This is why my own work as a coach is so satisfying as well: my clients are very motivated by the prospect of achieving their own goals, not my goals for them.

Felix Gerena


Jory, I also find overcoming obstacles a very emotional situation, a moment of self recognition, of celebrating one´s confidence in oneself. Movies can show this situations in a very strong way. Novels can do it too. One of my favorite novels of all times, Victor Hugo´s "The miserables" is one of them. Also "The count of Montecristo". What an adventure.

Rosa, I think it is important to foster enthusiasm and personal projects rather than trying to teach lots of contents a person just can master in a longer period of time. I´m sure you do it perfectly with your customers.


What a great topic. I always seek to find the answer to what motivates people. it is very different for many people. Some are motivated to succeed all the time, some are never motivated, and most are somewhere in between. The great question is, why do some people succeed and others fail? Alot has to do with their motivations and their belief system. Some feel as though they are deserving of pursuing higher education, greater pay, material things, etc... some do not feel worthy and set self imposed limits on themselves. Why the difference? That is a discussion that can carry on for more time than we have available. Great topic!


I like that you mention about children and persons with defficiencies, both seem to me victims in someway of the deep ignorance of the "normal" adult as well as products of the dominant values of the capitalist system. I agree that obstacles in life tend to provoque a reaction in the opposite direction and this can contribute to build up character, indeed. But there is the possibility as well that what we consider as a "defficiency" could not be such thing for a particular case, it can even be instead like in a deeper way a life's blessing for the person, even when us don't manage to see it in that way. I would like to suggest with this that our world could be wider than as we tend to conceive it according to standard parameters and that the view of the world that we have commonly accepted may not be as perfect as we enjoy thinking that it is. The issue, I'd say, can be that persons with disabilities threaten our self-images and fragile egos.

Rosa, the affirmation that "motivation is an inside job" could be taken only until some limit; I have seen many wonderful children with all the neccesary skills for developing a super-attitude that couldn't do it because of tragic personal circumstances,and viceversa, just for providing an example. Plus there is a recent conversation in here about the power of WE: "no one is an island", fortunatelly, for the future of humankind.

Gary Bourgeault

Felix you make the comment:

"If you cannot imagine something worth living for, something that compels you to work hard and overcome obstacles. When you change constraint by desire, the way you see obstacles changes."

I know as I've grown older, the greatest motivating factor for me has become helping someone to find that something worth living for; because the obstacles will be there.

You're absolutely right, when you say that compelling something or someone to live for changes the way you view the obstacles in life. And in my experience even though they may be very difficult, they do seem smaller when my attention stays on that which motivates me to go on.

Felix Gerena

Omara, that´s a comment full of courage. Thanks. I highly appreciate your humanist spirit.

Gary, thanks for visiting my blog. That´s the point I wanted to stress in the post and some people don´t get.


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