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  • Writer's pictureAnna

Two sides of the learning coin - Motivation vs. Resistance

(P.S.: This discussion is a part of a course assignment. Having said that, it definitely is worth reading and sharing. So, please, read, share and enjoy!)

I'd like to share my views about this topic by asking a simple question: What comes to your mind when you hear the words - 'motivation' and 'resistance'? I haven't conducted a formal research, but I did pop up this question to my guinea pig at home (that is my spouse) and asked him to shout out three words that came to his mind when he heard the 'motivation' and his instant responses included "Tony Robbins", "Jim Rohn" and "Wayne Dyer". I followed by asking him to shout out three words for 'resistance', and I was eager to hear his response. My eagerness was well responded as he took some time to respond (almost as if the word resistance caused resistance in his brain – #wordpower). This time his responses included "Terminator", "Ohms" (unit of measuring resistance in physics), and "...." (the name of a local beat down political party that I'd prefer not to share). 

As exciting as my spouse's responses were, I'd like to bring your attention to the qualitative factor of each response. 'Motivation' drew ready responses of naming individuals who in all their right are or have been a symbol of energy, strength, action and positivity. In contrast, 'resistance' drew a slow, paused and almost painful response indicating struggle of people, a physical measurement and a group of people who are not performing too well together. The reason I am emphasizing on the contrast is to elicit the underlying bias that I, my spouse, a teacher or a learner can have simply to the words 'motivation' and 'resistance'. Now, I do not claim that my nano-experiment is a representation of every individual's responses, but it surely indicates something. I would encourage others to conduct this nano-experiment and share their results... Maybe we may find something substantive!!!

I would like to conclude by sharing my perspective on the topic. Both motivation and resistance can occur as a learner's response to a piece of information. Instead of looking at one as a friend and another as a foe, how about we identify how using each of them will help us get our learning outcomes. I shall use an example of a gym coach's role towards a client trying to imitate the physique of his/her favourite hero. Use motivation to energize the client to plan and follow it through. Use resistance to help the client stick to the plan and resist those diversions or decisions that take him/her off track. In the words of Colossus from Deadpool, "Four or five moments. That's all it takes (to) be a hero."

I know that I've almost written an essay, but I'd love to hear more views and responses and take this discussion forward.

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