Use Negative Motivation to your Advantage

This is one of the most important lessons I have learned on my entrepreneurial journey. I wanted to put together a video to share my ideas around the subject of negative motivation. When I talk about negative motivation I mean the kind of motivation you get when you think about the people in your life who have doubted you.

Assuming you were able to channel the frustration of having someone doubt you or laugh at your goals/dreams into positive action, then this video should hit home. I share a quick 3 step process that I like to use when I want to use negative motivation as a call to action.

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14 Responses to Use Negative Motivation to your Advantage

  1. Ted Payne March 31, 2010 at 2:15 pm #

    Love how you broke down the process here…very handy.

    I definitely use negative motivation in my day to day work. I use to kind of check myself and say “should I be using something negative like spite to power my work day?” Then I thought…why not? If I get motivation from being pissed off at people who doubt me, why would I want to quell that – I need to embrace it!

    Look at Michael Jordan – if anyone caught his Hall of Fame speech he is STILL fueled by this negative motivation. His Hall of Fame speech was a complete “screw you” to the list of people who doubted him (starting with his High School basketball coach that cut him from the team). Even though his play proved all his doubters wrong…he was still fueled by that doubt.

    If it can propel Jordan to heights no man has ever known, why can’t it propel us to our goals?

    • Justin Popovic March 31, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

      I actually struggled with the same thing. “Should I really use negative concepts to motivate me”? The answer was definitely YES when I evaluated how I was using this process. It was not about focusing on the negative but leveraging the negative concept to get energized.

      Anyone who has been put down, questioned or made fun of can relate. If you can use that initial feeling of anger and channel it into fuel, I say go for it!

  2. Brad Gosse March 31, 2010 at 2:39 pm #

    I like this. Some of my best success streaks came from the “I’ll show them” attitude.

    I can say negative motivation (not fear) will always get you where you want to go. It’s said that most people earn just enough to get by which means the need motivator keeps them at whatever sustained level. The need to eat is a negative motivator as is a mortgage 🙂

    Sometimes it just takes more needs or commitments to kick you in gear!

    • Justin Popovic March 31, 2010 at 2:45 pm #

      Great comment Brad! And very true. It is easier to be motivated in a single moment by thinking about “not being able to afford mortgage” versus “visualizing being a millionaire”. The prospect of losing your home (i.e. the fear motivator) is stronger in my opinion…so you can use it to your advantage.

  3. Jordan March 31, 2010 at 11:00 pm #

    I used to let negative emotion drag me down, make me put my head in the sand, and hope things would go away. Now I am using it to take action, whether I have the experience or not, who cares, at least I’ll learn something along the way, provided I am paying attention!

    • Justin Popovic March 31, 2010 at 11:14 pm #

      Awesome! Great to hear Jordan. I think all of us who are trying to build a business and create a legacy simply learn this lesson by default over time. I’m glad you have already transcended the challenge and use negative motivation to your advantage.

  4. Stan Young April 1, 2010 at 6:16 pm #

    People close to me say “How long a you going to persist with this hair brain scheme of yours” My comment is as long as it takes! They really dont get it, when my kids where learning to walk I didnt put a time frame on them when they had to walk on their own. There’s no doubt that I use this negative energy as a motivator and I ensure that I dont allow myself to buy into the ‘fear factor that is being propergated.
    The negative motavator is that I wont allow people to deny me of my vision of the future.

    • Justin Popovic April 1, 2010 at 8:19 pm #

      I love it Stan. I can feel the motivation just by reading this comment from you. That’s awesome that you have channeled it into a strong desire for success. Very inspirational.

  5. Darryl April 1, 2010 at 10:42 pm #

    Hey Justin, this is my first visit to your website. I enjoy your take on this topic and think you raise many good points in your video. Success really is the greatest revenge. If you are driven and have that fire in your belly to succeed then people who laugh at your ideas should only motivate you even more. It’s true, we all have days that don’t always go as planned, and we all run into people from time to time who feel the need to knock everything you have to say or show them.

    I know in my experience there have been many times I have shared certain ideas with people, at the time they just kind of shrug their shoulders or claim they don’t think your idea really has any potential, then the next thing you know a few months later they have taken your idea, ran with it and made a bundle of cash in the process. So I think although maybe a little off topic it’s also important to really be careful in some cases who you share your ideas with. Unfortunately there is also a lot of hypocricy in the world.

    As long as your gut feeling and intuition tells you that a certain idea or strategy can work then at the end of the day that’s all that really matters is that you believe in yourself. I heard something once that goes like this:

    25% of people like you for all the wrong reasons
    25% of people dislike you for all the wrong reasons
    25% of people like you for all the right reasons
    25% of people dislike you for all the right reasons

    …of course percentages vary a great deal from person to person, however, the fact remains that despite your best efforts there will always be haters out there and like you say using that emotion to drive you even more is the best approach, without going to extremes and allowing what certain people say or do fill your mind with nothing but negativity. There is always good that can come out of the bad.

    • Justin Popovic April 2, 2010 at 11:21 am #

      Thanks for your insight. I love your line “success is the greatest revenge” because its so true. The ‘I will show you” attitude can really work wonders when you need a good kick in the butt. As for sharing ideas with people I also agree. In many cases it is best to keep your ideas to yourself and just act on them privately. Then share your success story after the fact.

  6. Karen April 3, 2010 at 2:51 pm #

    Hi Justin,

    Another great article and I really like the acronym you used: List, Emotionalize and Transform. We should all LET ourselves be motivated by negativity 🙂

    I agree that using anger and negative comments by people can really motivate you to change your life. I wonder how many kids born in poverty internalized that emotion to do what it took to get them out of their conditions?

    A lot of people use anger to take action. The worst thing you can do is be indifferent to the situation. Get angry about your life and use that strong emotion to do something everyday that will bring about what you want. Sitting and stewing and not doing anything at all is such a waste.

    If more people used negative motivation there would be less issues in the world and more people doing things.


    • Justin Popovic April 5, 2010 at 9:47 am #

      Great feedback Karen thanks. I have also wondered about that whole poverty to weath thing myself. I wonder how many people were so angry/fearful of being poor again that they just powered themselves to success by sheer avoidance of going back to poverty.

  7. Ontario Fishing April 8, 2010 at 1:25 pm #

    This video really helped me change my perspective today, thanks Justin and keep up the great work.


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