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Arkady Grudzinsky

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How can we help a person who lacks motivation or does not know what (s)he wants?

Ernesto's paradigm might work for helping communities. Among several people, it's likely to find someone with passion and motivation. But how do we apply this philosophy to individuals who lack motivation or don't know what they want or want things that we consider harmful to them (e.g., a teenager with lack of experience, a person with depression, or an addict)?

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  • Dec 8 2012: I am not sure that I understand what you mean by that, but I'll try to answer properly:). I love your thinking and attitude to help others. Many thoughtful people already answered very well, so I just want to talk about a teenager with lack of experience.

    First of all, we can help teenagers with lack of experience figure out what they really enjoy through experience. Once we provide them with opportunities to experience different types of tasks, they come to think of what they like and dislike, and decide what to do.

    Secondly, counseling is helpful as we know. The teenager isn't an active client in this case, so we should be more careful when we try to make them(passive client) consult special counselors. If personal counseling program makes him/her feel uncomfortable, we can set up group counseling appropriately. It is good to put the client in contact with other people in a similar position, because they feel encouraged and comforted.

    Lastly, we can let them assist other people in need, such as the elderly, orphans, and addicts. Within the course to help those people, adolescents with lack of experience and motivation come to realize that there are many people in need and they also can help someone, so they have the possibility, hope and potential. The bottom line is the chance to think about themselves and realize like that.

    Is there any motive or reason that makes you think about this question, if you don't mind me asking?
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      Dec 10 2012: Re. motive. I have a teenage son who struggles at school. He is very capable. Loves to read, writes well, scored at 98th percentile in language at school... Failed to write a book report for his literature and composition class. He says, when it's assigned - it's boring. Loves music, plays piano since 5 y.o., was a winner at several musical festivals... Hates to practice. Wouldn't do it on his own. We have pushed him all along. If we didn't do it, his talent would have been buried. Loves computers and games... Failed to turn in assignments in his elective computer game design class at his high school. Says, they teach how to use some GUI software, not how to program - excuses again.

      Bottom line, he shuns effort. When slightest effort is required, he loses interest. Rewards or punishment do not motivate him, no matter how attractive or severe. Ambition and fear of failure does not matter to him at all. We cannot say, he is bored because classes are not challenging. For one year in middle school he went to a special class for kids who scored above 98th percentile in math, language, or cognitive abilities. He took high school-level classes there. It was struggle as expected.

      We checked with doctors. He does not have much to be treated from physically.

      How would listening help here? We know what interests him. We know also that if he takes a class in the subject that interests him, he would fail it.
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        Dec 10 2012: Hi Arkady,
        Sounds a lot like my young son....loved to read....appeared to have a photographic memory...did well WHEN/IF HE WAS INTERESTED ENOUGH IN A TOPIC.....was bored in school, didn't pay attention, or do homework....etc. He also played piano by ear....taught himself....played trumpet and drums, which evolved because the school band was without trumpet/drums at a certain time, and the music teacher asked my son to take over different instruments when needed! He got by in school, simply because he quickly assimilated information. He played sports, was in choir, drama, etc. He was tested at about 10 years of age and labeled "gifted". Has your son been tested? I believe it is a law that if a child is having difficulty in school, the school is required to provide cognitive testing.

        I don't like the "gifted" label, because I believe ALL kids are "gifted" and we need to encourage them to use their gifts....whatever that may be. My son sometimes got interested in something and was totally engrosed in that topic for awhile, and we encouraged it, because I believe a person will learn anything better when s/he is interested and willing to learn.

        He began reading and understanding pretty complicated "stuff" at age 3, so I knew he was smart. With that in mind, I pushed and prodded to try to get him to apply himself in school. That was not at all successful, and only caused friction. What helped most, was being engaged with what interested him when he was ready to explore a topic.

        For example, when he was about 9-10, he became very interested in astronomy, so we bought books and a small telescope. As his interest grew, he got a bigger and bigger telescope....he LOVED it! Then, he discovered something else, and the telescope went in storage for years. As a 40 yr. old man, when visiting recentloy, he picked up his telescope and took it to his home:>)

        I think/feel it is important to "be with" people where they are in the learning process....children or adults:>
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        Dec 10 2012: Arkady,
        I didn't have any characters left to address your last statement:

        "How would listening help here? We know what interests him. We know also that if he takes a class in the subject that interests him, he would fail it."

        You know "he would fail"??? How about genuinely listening, hearing and having faith in him?

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