Ankur Warikoo

I think human psyche is such that people tend to evaluate their actions based on how they are going be impacted immediately. “How does it affect me?” is a question that comes first, and is later followed by “how does it affect the rest of us?”

I don’t think too many people will feel obligated to work because of the comforts that are being bestowed upon them. Unless and until people are shown that a large part of that comfort or culture has to be earned, all of it goes down as entitlement. That’s where the problem begins — people start seeing the entitlements as the bare minimum they deserve irrespective of their performance, and not the bare minimum they have to strive to justify.

I learnt a couple of things while dealing with students right out of school who enter into the world of varsity debating. Creating a nice, fun-filled environment during mocks and training sessions often makes them take stuff lightly (“chilling sessions”). Half of them don’t take the sessions seriously, engaging in banter, etc. But when they are clearly shown the immediate impacts of their casualness, there is a stark change in approach/attitude.

One of the impacts that is communicated to them: get your act together, learn as fast as you can and try and deliver; because by the time you are in your 2nd year, and you have juniors to train — they won’t take you seriously if you aren’t worthy of that credibility (something that directly links back to how much they have learnt as that is the only determinant of how much/well they can train).

In short:

  • People need to be shown how their actions are negatively impacting them
  • The consequences of their actions need to be communicated in a clear fashion
  • At some level, all individuals work with an idea of self-actualisation in mind, it’s about appealing to that sentiment, be it with positive or negative incentives

As far as threats are concerned, individuals in a developing country where everything is scarce have threat as a stimulus deeply ingrained in them. It’s the easiest tool to use for immediate results, but don’t know how that pans out over a longer period of time — as threat/fear often leads people to do questionable things that they wouldn’t have done otherwise.

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