If It’s Work I Will Do Less. If It’s Art I will Do More! Motivation?

If It's Work I Will Find A Way To Do Less. If It's Art I Will Always Do More!

“If it is work I will find a way to do less.  If it is art I will always find ways to do more!”

I don’t remember exactly where I heard this expression before, I think it might have been at a learning conference I attended several years ago. It always intrigued me as it really has everything to do with motivation.  Not just our motivation but also what motivates others.

I remember one day my oldest son was called to the principal’s office when he was in the first grade. I got a call from the school in which I was to have a conference with his teacher and principal due to him not doing his school work properly in art class.

When I got there the art teacher explained her disgust about how my son didn’t obey the directions of class to draw a picture of an apple. The objective was to teach the students how to draw dimensions. So my son decided to draw something more interesting than an apple and instead drew a Star Wars ship (what boy wouldn’t).

The teacher was very upset, scolded him in front of the other students, and sent him to the principal’s office. She gave him an “F” on his work. Below (Star Ship) is a picture of what he drew which resulted in the grade of “F”. Next to it is a picture (Apple) of what she gave the grade of an “A”.


I agree that he didn’t follow the implicit instructions. What was totally missed and lost was the real objective of inspiration of art. What an opportunity that teacher had if she would have inspired him!  He obviously had a gift! I guarantee he would have worked harder, shown up in class on time and would have been eager to contribute positively to the class if she would have realized his unique motivation.

Instead he abandoned art, become bored, and had not connected with that teacher the rest of the semester. It wasn’t till years later in Boy Scouts that a leader saw his potential for creativity and inspired to create movies for the camping trips. He has since gone on to movie making and recently won first place with a movie short in the Texas Independent Film Festival.

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What’s unique about this is that he represents 20% of the U.S. Population that are creative and spontaneous! These are the members on your teams that can bring about the greatest creativity setting your project and/or company apart from the competition.[/message][su_spacer]

However, you will need to make sure that the you give them the appropriate structure, environment, and resources such that it appears to them to be art and not work.

Once you have done that then just get out-of-the-way and be amazed at what they can contribute to your team and organization’s success!

Here are just a few things these that will help motivate these people;

  • Ability to find fun in work
  • Ability to use their creative energy in positive ways.
  • Need some playful interactions with peers daily
  • Work environment where they can arrange their office with color, engaging posters, etc…
  • Encourage them to think creatively about the projects they are assigned

Here are some well-known people that are spontaneous and creative who have made a positive impacts on our society.

  • Robin Williams – Actor Comedian
  • Herb Keller – Founder Southwest Airlines
  • Thomas Edison – Inventor
  • James Dean – Actor

The point to remember is that how we are uniquely motivated is not how everyone else is motivated. To them they may see our mode of motivation as work and will therefore try to figure out how to do less.

However, if you can discover the skill set such to know how to determine another person’s unique motivational needs just by listening to their words, their gestures, and their environment you will be able to unlock their potential…So much so that they will find the “ART” in their projects and they will actively find ways to do more!


David Kaiser
David Kaiser
DAVE is a retired Navy Commander and current CEO and founder of H2H Dynamics, an authentic leadership training and advisory company that focuses on the essential human to human dynamics that determine successful business, team and personal performance. He served as a Naval Officer and Aviator where he flew 46 combat sorties during Desert Storm. He was one of the officers in charge of the Navy and Marine Corps elite Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape training program where he was first exposed to human dynamics under extremely stressful conditions. In the corporate sector Dave was the Chief Learning Officer for a major defense contractor where he was responsible for all human performance training for the U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command, NATO, NASA, foreign militaries, and various Fortune 500 companies. He directly applied latest research in the fields of learning psychology, human performance, and neuroscience. Additionally Dave lead a three year research study for the United States Air Force Research Laboratory to determine the most effective training interventions to improve human performance of tactical aircrew members. During this research project he discovered the human performance tool used for NASA’s Astronaut selection for the Space Shuttle program and became one of the few people qualified to use the tool. From this research Dave co-authored two published papers at the Interservice/ Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference in 2008 (Best Paper Nominee) and again in 2010.

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