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View Poll Results: What theory explains young adults changing their locus of motivation?
It mostly just happens naturally as the brain develops maturity. 12 34.29%
It is induced by external demands such as war or boot camp. 4 11.43%
It's when the parents let go and let the kid drive. 6 17.14%
Other (please explain) 3 8.57%
I like bacon! 10 28.57%
Voters: 35. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-13-2020, 06:39 AM   #21
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My parents were very much hands off and so I had to learn very early on to be independent and self-motivated to succeed. I was a straight A student in school, left home at 18, graduated from a good college, and moved to the US at age 23 to attend graduate school and start a promising scientific career. All this with no one pushing me. Actually, I even had to fight my parents who were not keen on higher education and absolutely opposed to me moving abroad. Once in the "real" world though, my motivation dropped. There was a sense that I worked hard to end up in a boring (though well paid) career with little job security. I disliked my 9-5 job with endless meetings led by people who liked to hear themselves talk a bit too much. I really could not see myself living on someone else's schedule for 40 years and having to beg for a few days of free time once a year.

That's when I discovered the concept of FIRE. I set myself a FIRE goal, ironed out a plan to get there, and put it into action right away. Suddenly, I was super motivated again because I had a worthwhile goal to work toward. So here I am, 46 years old and jobless (retired for you folks, but I never call myself retired IRL). Some people consider me an unmotivated loser simply because I don't aspire to a career. Yet I've achieved my goal all this same. I just yearn for a different way of life than most people.
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Old 05-13-2020, 08:22 AM   #22
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I'm slightly confused. OP refers often to 'motivation' but leaves things a bit vague and undefined. It appears that they are referring to 'self-motivation' or 'self-discipline', but mostly related to the generation of income. Perhaps 'taking responsibility for their own future' might be a better way of stating it? Not sure.

My own journey on this path was convoluted and never certain. I started working at the age of 14 because we were poor and I wanted my own money for things. I attended college mainly based on external expectations. I got married way too early and had to drop out and go back to work full-time. I changed jobs frequently. At 26 I got a vasectomy right before finding out the wife was pregnant with our third. The marriage did not last (big surprise) and I spent a couple of years working minimum wage, living with my brother and doing drugs when I could afford it. Survived a drug-related home invasion robbery at gunpoint. Later moved back in with parents.

THEN I developed some internal motivation! Went back to working in offices doing word processing for temp agencies. Remarried. Eventually transitioned to I.T. and desktop support. At around the age of 50 I discovered that I had been living my life with undiagnosed ADHD. This explained a lot in the preceding paragraphs LOL

My story doesn't really fit neatly into a discussion of 'locus of motivation.'
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Old 05-13-2020, 09:22 AM   #23
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I think part of it is a maturing brain and capability to think rationally and independently, but it is certainly influenced by external motivators along the way (eg societies mores and expectations).

Spending some time in military service might help accelerate the process in some individuals.
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Old 05-13-2020, 12:53 PM   #24
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One of my education classes was in Psychology. Back then we learned about Locus of Control. Two friends spend an hour together to study for a test. They both get an 'A'. The one with an external locus of control says "The teacher must like me". The one with an internal locus of control says "All my hard work paid off".
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Old 05-13-2020, 01:35 PM   #25
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I posted the next bit of news in a covid news thread - but it applies here too.

California state universities (CSUs, not UCs) will do 100% online courses in the fall. Older son has decided to drop out of his program and attend the jr. college. I'm ok with the decision - but I have to wonder if he made this decision because he's flunking out this semester. (Won't know for another month... He's in finals week.) He's not happy about being stuck at home... but not motivated to do anything about it.
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Old 05-13-2020, 01:43 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by DFW_M5 View Post
Spending some time in military service might help accelerate the process in some individuals.
I recall thinking during my early days in the military that they were a pack of pansies compared to my mother.
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Old 05-13-2020, 01:57 PM   #27
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A few comments:
1. I marked Other. I think it is highly variable upon the kid. Both of my daughters (now in HS) are extremely self-motivated. And the parents don't take the credit. They came that way.
2. Change the "when" to "how" and I'd mostly agree with this one. It's when the parents let go and let the kid drive.
3. This poll is blatantly unfair as it doesn't allow me to have an opinion AND like bacon. I have lots of opinions, and love bacon.
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Old 05-13-2020, 02:22 PM   #28
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"It is induced by external demands such as war or boot camp."

Doesn't have to be that dire. Check what milestones/achievements/acquisitions your kid's age peers seem to think are important.

Peer pressure is a powerful force. When kids are slow to toilet-train, pediatricians may reassure by pointing out that almost everybody is toilet-trained by kindergarten...because they don't want other kids making fun of them.

What peers choose to make a big deal out of can evolve, though. Remember how, in the old days, it was considered lame to be 23 and still living with your parents? Yeah, that one went by the wayside a while back.
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Old 05-13-2020, 03:13 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
I recall thinking during my early days in the military that they were a pack of pansies compared to my mother.
When they were getting us ready in basic training for the vietnam, I didn't have that impression, at least compared to my mother
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Old 05-13-2020, 03:50 PM   #30
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When they were getting us ready in basic training for the vietnam, I didn't have that impression, at least compared to my mother
You probably didn't view the military as a great improvement in your life. I sure did.
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Old 05-13-2020, 04:45 PM   #31
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You probably didn't view the military as a great improvement in your life. I sure did.
I appreciated them a lot more when I got out as it paid a large part of my college education.
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Old 05-14-2020, 09:32 AM   #32
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Somebody removed a post from this thread. It was pretty personal. I wanted to say thanks. It was helpful (and comforting to me). I can't remember who posted it, but thanks.
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Old 05-14-2020, 09:42 AM   #33
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Does genetics play any role in this? DH's family 3 boys one girl, 9 kids,

All have degrees 8 have BS or higher, one has an advanced two years welding degree, he's a supervisor at a national welding company. The other 8 all have white collar, public service management roles.. those kids are 3 girls,, 6 boys.. 8 of the 9 left home the summer after HS and did not return.

DH's 3 brothers, two farm, a 100+ years of family farming. One owns an independent service shop. The sister was a partner in an accounting firm.

Did these kids just watch and follow the independent work ethic they saw in their parents and extended family or is there some secret genetic key to this.

Believe me none of the 8 of us were perfect parents and those kids were not perfect kids. Something seem to just kick in when they left HS.
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Old 05-18-2020, 03:50 PM   #34
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I have 3 young adults & they were as different as night & day so it can't be parenting...

25 YO--always did what needed to be done. Worked hard but not harder than necessary. Says he probably schmoozed most of his grades up a grade just by getting to know the prof. Finished his Master's in Sports Psych last year. Taking a year in CA w/ a friend so friend could try to break into the music biz (crappy year to do that). Was working at Nike for 6 wks when they closed. Luckily Nike is paying him still & he has funds to pay bills...for now. He has spoken of getting a 2nd Master's (sports/business combo_ that would laser point him to a job in a collegiate athletic department.

DD22. Freaky smart. Major type a personality (no idea where she got that). Child has made goals her whole life, always asked what she needed to do to get X (make drill team, student council, scholarships, etc). First B+ (HS Jr) DEVASTATED her. Just gradated from TCU (DS25 went there also) w/ Honors= BS in Strategic Communication, minors in writing & graphic design. She has worked for a dance studio since it opened 3 years ago; it has grown 10X+ so they are hiring her as their manager--she is the owner's right hand gal. She plans to do freelanch graphic design as well. I never worry about her (tho some anxiety...again, it wasn't us!)

DS19. LOL. This child did NO more than was every asked. EVERY semester Gr. 6-12 that child had a C or a D at midterms & we always had to have a talk & he always brought it to a B. When he started at UNL last fall, he moved into a fraternity & within 48 hours knew that living there was not in his best scholastic interest. We were very impressed with his maturity in that decision. Moved into a dorm, still belongs to the fraternity & has actually stayed on top of his grades this year--all As & Bs. He did admit that he much prefers in person classes.

SUPER different kids all raised in a very similar environment. And totally fits who they are. I do believe parents have an impact (I'm an elementary librarian--trust me, THEY DO). But I also know after being a teacher & mother that each child is born with different nuances. All we can do is create the strongest foundation that we can & pray!
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Old 05-18-2020, 07:30 PM   #35
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And it isn't birth order, either. I resemble my elder brother (13.5 years older) in my approach to work, much more than our sister (6.5 years older). He and I have always worked hard and done what was expected, simply because...that's what we do. She requires more personal motivation. She can seem very lazy until her motivation button gets pushed, and then...watch out!

My unscientific, probably impolite theory asserts that people aren't thoroughbreds, we're mutts. There's just no telling how we'll turn out, although, as with any mutt, kind treatment usually produces better behavior.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Librarian View Post
I have 3 young adults & they were as different as night & day so it can't be parenting...

25 YO--always did what needed to be done. Worked hard but not harder than necessary. Says he probably schmoozed most of his grades up a grade just by getting to know the prof. Finished his Master's in Sports Psych last year. Taking a year in CA w/ a friend so friend could try to break into the music biz (crappy year to do that). Was working at Nike for 6 wks when they closed. Luckily Nike is paying him still & he has funds to pay bills...for now. He has spoken of getting a 2nd Master's (sports/business combo_ that would laser point him to a job in a collegiate athletic department.

DD22. Freaky smart. Major type a personality (no idea where she got that). Child has made goals her whole life, always asked what she needed to do to get X (make drill team, student council, scholarships, etc). First B+ (HS Jr) DEVASTATED her. Just gradated from TCU (DS25 went there also) w/ Honors= BS in Strategic Communication, minors in writing & graphic design. She has worked for a dance studio since it opened 3 years ago; it has grown 10X+ so they are hiring her as their manager--she is the owner's right hand gal. She plans to do freelanch graphic design as well. I never worry about her (tho some anxiety...again, it wasn't us!)

DS19. LOL. This child did NO more than was every asked. EVERY semester Gr. 6-12 that child had a C or a D at midterms & we always had to have a talk & he always brought it to a B. When he started at UNL last fall, he moved into a fraternity & within 48 hours knew that living there was not in his best scholastic interest. We were very impressed with his maturity in that decision. Moved into a dorm, still belongs to the fraternity & has actually stayed on top of his grades this year--all As & Bs. He did admit that he much prefers in person classes.

SUPER different kids all raised in a very similar environment. And totally fits who they are. I do believe parents have an impact (I'm an elementary librarian--trust me, THEY DO). But I also know after being a teacher & mother that each child is born with different nuances. All we can do is create the strongest foundation that we can & pray!
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Old 05-22-2020, 04:26 PM   #36
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Motivation: Al-Anon

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Iíll be following this thread. Interesting topic.

For my daughters it was no problem. They had natural motivation to succeed. For my son itís another matter entirely. He seems to have little to no motivation.

Iíd say I definitely donít think the third option you list has merit.

Lack of motivation for my son comes from severe social anxiety and what I think is undiagnosed depression. Mixed with addiction in the form of alcoholism. For many years I tried to encourage, cajole, shame, criticize, scold, and do anything else to move the dial within him. None of it worked. Now, for years Iíve pretty much backed off entirely. Heís 24 now. But the result is no different. Regardless of what I do, from nagging to ignoring, it makes no difference. His lack of motivation and action to move his life forward in any meaningful or positive direction remains. Iím sick about it, but all I can do is pray for him and love him within the context he lives.

He was furloughed in the early days of Covid shutdowns. He went on UI and quickly figured out that heís making more unemployed than when he was working. He hasnít lifted a finger to job search since he made this realization. Iím sick about it but just observe from a distance and hope for the best for him. I read the new stimulus proposal from Democrats proposes extra $600/week through January. I hope that doesnít happen. If it does my son is effectively retired for a long while.
I hope you can consider checking out Al-Anon as you have more company than you might think! When addiction enters the picture we can often make the mistake of believing that there is something we can do to motivate the addict to stop. Try various Al-Anon support groups as the "flavor" can vary from one to another before you find a group that "fits."

There are online Al-Anon groups as well.

Best wishes with your challenging son!

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Old 05-22-2020, 04:43 PM   #37
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I hope you can consider checking out Al-Anon as you have more company than you might think! When addiction enters the picture we can often make the mistake of believing that there is something we can do to motivate the addict to stop. Try various Al-Anon support groups as the "flavor" can vary from one to another before you find a group that "fits."



There are online Al-Anon groups as well.



Best wishes with your challenging son!



Don

Thanks Don. Itís a great suggestion. In fact, Iíve been attending an Al-Anon group for a little over a year now. Itís been a big help. I like most of the other frequent attenders. And the truths in the readings, slogans, and steps are all helpful. I think Iíd trade just about anything if my prodigal son would turn his life around. But his situation having brought me to this group, it has improved the strength of my faith, which is a blessing in the midst of all this.
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Old 05-22-2020, 05:19 PM   #38
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I’m so happy for you to have found your Al-Anon family! <3
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