The 5 Types of People Who Kill Your Motivation

Being productive and motivated is difficult. Like, really difficult. Difficult enough that there are entire websites devoted to it. Positive thinking goes a long way towards keeping you motivated. New age-type books talk a lot about it–Robin Sharma, in particular, wrote about how any negative thought can sink your ship. The purpose of this focus on positive thinking is to transform yourself from a big sack of anxiety into a fearless storm of motivation.

But negative thoughts aren`t your only obstacle. Negative people, in large doses, can be just as much of a drag.

Here are 5 common types of people who can screw up a project.

The Nay-Sayer

(Image by Spigoo)

“I don’t know why you’re even bothering. It’s not like this is even going to happen. The project sucks and we suck.”

I’m not sure why the Nay-Sayer feels the need to dump on everybody and everything, but these guys are poison to your work, absolute poison. Getting motivated is hard, and it’s nearly impossible to when you have a devil on your shoulder sniping at you about all your failings, and how the project is going to fail.

But it’s hard to hate too much on the nay-sayer. Their toxic attitude often comes from low crippling self-esteem, and their negativity about their work and yours is born out of that mindset.

But it doesn’t help you, and you need to get away from them.

How to deal with the Nay-Sayer

Ignore them, and make sure you have plenty of people on your team who are enthusiastic and gung-ho. The nay-sayer will try to drag them down too, but there’s strength in numbers. In the past, I’ve just stopped inviting these guys to meetings, and just updated them in e-mail, until they could get their attitude adjusted.

The Procrastinator

“Agh! No, I haven’t done it yet. Sorry! I meant to, but I’ve been so busy. I will tonight, though, I promise.”

Not going to lie—I’m often one of these. But on really important projects, everyone needs to do their work in a timely manner.

Procrastinators fret like maniacs until the last minute and do a shoddy job. And not just a shoddy job, they might just screw it up entirely. For example, say they have to call a hotel and book rooms. They put it off until they absolutely have to call them, and then the hotel’s booked solid. Now the rest of the team has to compromise.

How to deal with them

Give them a deadline waaay before the real deadline. They’ll freak out all the way up until about a day before the deadline, and then do it all in a panic, their hearts pounding. That gives you extra time to help them fix what they did wrong.

The Solipsist

“What, no, I didn’t think that that would be a bad decision. It made sense to me. Why would it bother you?”

The solipsist is the only one in the universe who exists, and the rest of us are just shadows of shadows. The solipsist doesn’t just go ahead and make decisions that benefit only him or herself, they’re actually kind of confused about why everyone else is mad at them afterwards.

The solipsist has a hard time understanding that other people have their own motivations, feelings and beliefs. They’ll get irritated if you don’t have the time to meet with them on their terms, annoyed when they have to travel somewhere to meet you, and can’t quite understand why they would need anyone else’s signature on a document than theirs.

How to deal with the Solipsist

One way is to try to frame everything in a way that it comes across like it will benefit them. This isn’t just because they have a huge ego (which they do), it’s that things that don’t benefit them don’t seem to have much of a point, really, if they’re the only person who exists. Try to assign them work they can do on their own that doesn’t impact anybody else.

Otherwise, be firm and put your foot down; you can’t always cater to their needs just because they’re the only real person in the universe. You might just be a figment of their imagination, but figments have feelings too.

The Alien From Outside Of Time

“Yeah, I’m definitely on board. When can I get it to you? I dunno, man, whenever I get around to it, I guess.”

While the procrastinator is painfully aware of the deadline (and is constantly scorched with the anxiety of meeting it), the alien from outside of time doesn’t really understand these Earth concepts like time-sensitive and deadlines. Never ran into one of these star travelers in a business setting? Try working with artists or designers sometime. Artistic fields seem to attract these wondrous extra-terrestrial beings.

The problem is that you’re trying to communicate between two very different mindsets. They have no concept of this strange human thing you call “time”, and it’s hard to explain to them that their work will no longer matter so much if they submit it two months after a launch date.

How to deal with The Alien From Outside Of Time

First obtain clairvoyance and learn of the project two months in advance. Then give the alien a deadline that’s a few months before everyone else. If you keep reminding them to do it, there’s a slim chance they might actually get their work in on time.

The Complacent

“Yeah, okay, that sounds good. It doesn’t? Well, I don’t know. Whatever, I guess.”

This isn’t someone who doesn’t care about whether the project lives or dies. I’m talking about the people who are genuinely invested in a project, but who really don’t have the ability to tell bad work from good work. For them, it’s all good!

This is at its worst when the Complacent is someone in charge. Do they prefer this plan of action or this other one? They can’t choose. Whichever, they guess.

When the person who needs to make decisions can’t make decisions, that leaves the rest of the team in the lurch.

How to deal with the Complacent

To be honest, you’re going to have to start trusting your own judgement. If the Complacent is in charge of you, be ready to tell him or her which decision you feel is the better one. If they’re someone working with you or under you, be ready to stand firm with your own decisions.

That can be stressful, but the Complacent is often a talented worker who just lacks direction or any sense of quality control. Someone needs to point them in the right direction, and I guess that’s going to have to be you.



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