The Sixty-Second Motivator: How to motivate yourself to do anything

Reviewed by: 
Jim Johnson
Dog Ear Publishing
Alistair Schofield, Managing Director, Extensor Limited

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Because reading business books is part of my job, I really appreciate the ones that have something to say, say it and then stop.  Unfortunately, books like this are rather few and far between as many authors and publishers seem to think that size equates to value.  However, where pearls of wisdom are concerned, it is quality that counts.

I came across The Sixty-Second Motivator when it was recommended to me by a friend.  It is only a few millimetres thick, has quite large type and can be read in under an hour.  It is succinct, to the point and useful to anyone who needs to motivate either themselves or other people.

The book is semi-autobiographical as it tells the story of a young physiotherapist who, although good at his job, struggled to get patients to undertake the exercises he recommended.  He therefore set out in search of a means of motivating his patients to do as he asked when he heard of a man whose colleagues called “The Sixty-Second Motivator”.

This man had earned his nick-name as a result of his ability to inspire patients to change their behaviours in a very short space of time.  Anyway, to cut a short story even shorter, the young man meets up with him, learns his approach and ends up taking over from him when he retires.  The rest of the book provides an insight into what he did.

I particularly liked the analogy the author used to describe the balance between knowledge and motivation.  He pointed out that if I offered you a £1,000 to fix my computer you would probably be motivated to do it, but if you lacked the required knowledge, offering you increasing sums of money will not alter the situation.  On the other hand, doctors who smoke clearly know better than anyone that quitting would be a good idea.  Presumably therefore, the only reason they would carry on is because they lack the motivation to stop.

It’s a simple anecdote, but it never ceases to amaze me how many organisations fail to get the balance between knowledge and motivation right by wasting millions in inappropriate incentive schemes while grossly under-investing in the skills of their staff.
Another pearl of wisdom from the book is that motivation is the result of importance + confidence.  Again, in my experience, most organisations do a great job of communicating the importance of their work to staff, but grossly under-invest in boosting the confidence of staff to achieve stretch goals and targets.

In conclusion, some people may find the story a bit cheesy, but you won’t waste too much time reading it and the points it makes are well worth it.

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