This guest blog post on emotions and motivation was written by Ramsey Jay Jr., Consortium fellow (Dartmouth, 2005) and a Wall Street-trained finance professional. He’s also the author of the forthcoming book, Empowering Dreamers to Become Achievers.
Emotions are not just the result of chemical reactions in your brain and gut. They are signposts that yield critical insights to help guide you on the pathway to realizing your destiny. As students, alumni and prospective MBA candidates, you unquestionably have, and will continue to receive, adequate guidance to develop the measurable and technical disciplines to support your professional development.
However, in order to effectively maximize the opportunities said disciplines will afford, you must marry them with “booster” emotions, the key ingredients to maintaining motivation.
Consortium CEO Peter Aranda III evokes the power of marrying emotion while developing measurable skills in his 2012 Consortium OP speech and a call and response sequence: “Be proud (I AM proud!). Be gracious (I AM gracious!). Be humble (I AM humble!). Be ready (I AM ready!).”
Moreover, our current political climate has borne witness to an epic display of emotions that have been translated into passionate demonstrations, while evoking First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly, which are undergirding the structure of our democracy. These are both textbook examples of incubating emotions in a place that breaks the grip of inertia and motivates purposeful action.
In Chapter 2 of my book Empowering Dreamers To Become Achievers, I identify the big four motivating emotions, which, when properly harnessed, can propel you toward your destiny.
- Fear. You might subscribe to the adage that fear paralyzes, and in many cases, that is true. However, in certain circumstances, the right kind of self-invoked fear can instantly and effectively change your thinking and habits.
- Love. Motivating love is the kind of abiding love that drives you to feel replenished, while depleting yourself to serve someone or something beyond yourself: Your God, your spouse, your children, or your country.
- Passion. Passion is that thing you obsess over, that ignites vigorous energy in your spirit. However, unfulfilled passion can metastasize into crippling regret.
- Gratitude. It is critical to understand that gratitude is more than just thankfulness. It is a fierce desire to make proud the people who believed in, supported and inspired you.
In this entry, I would like to focus on gratitude by sharing about my grandma, Mary Lee Barrett. She lived in the old South of Georgia and grew up in an era governed by racism and oppressive Jim Crow laws that forbade her from pursuing her dreams, yet she always encouraged me to follow mine.
A few of my most cherished memories are of her being present at my graduation from Ventura High School; California State University, Fresno; and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. She would often say to me, “Hey Ram, keep on!” Those words inspired me to fulfill my calling and maintain motivation throughout the trials and tribulations I faced during my academic journey.
She was promoted to heaven in 2010 and my gratitude toward my grandma has been a potent motivator for me to keep pushing and striving. Who in your life inspires that kind of heartfelt gratitude? I encourage you to invest quality time to commune with them, as I believe you will find an unlimited reservoir of motivation.
As you progress on your journey, make a commitment to embrace the motivating emotions of fear, love, passion and gratitude. Once you do, discern what they are telling you, follow up and take the proper actions. Developing that acute awareness—that new dimension of perspective—takes hard work. I implore you to be disciplined and stick with it. It can change everything.
Ramsey Jay Jr. is a Wall Street-trained finance professional with more than a decade of global investment management experience. As founder of Ramsey Jay Jr. & Associates, Ramsey is a widely recognized expert on leadership development, communication consulting and international motivational speaking. Ramsey earned his undergraduate degree from California State University, Fresno, and his MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College as a Consortium fellow in 2005. His forthcoming book is Empowering Dreamers to Become Achievers. Preorder the book on his website.
PICTURED ABOVE: Ramsey delivering the keynote address at the Los Angeles County Alliance for Boy & Girls Teen Summit. The summit featured programming to empower youth to be proactive about achieving personal goals and professional success.