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How My Mother Taught Me Motivation

Jan Malloch

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I do not recall being motivated to do anything in particular as a young child. I do not think I was any different from most other children in that respect. There was, of course, always the motivation to “be good", so that you gained a reward of some description. Whether it was a candy bar, or presents from Santa, it did not take long to learn that if you were good, then you got something good in return.

Setting goals as a young child was not on my agenda. All of my basic requirements were being provided by my parents. Before the age of ten, I did not need to set my sights on anything. I went to school and played with friends as young children are expected to do.

When I was ten, I experienced a major turning point. From then on, goal-setting and achievement began to play a significant role in my life.

My best friend lived across the road, and we had been friends since we were six. She was one of those academically- and musically-gifted people. She always did brilliantly at school, and she seemed to know every bit of general knowledge in existence. In reality, she probably knew very little, but she was a walking encyclopedia as far as I was concerned.

As if this wasn't enough, my friend was very competent at playing the piano, the violin, the clarinet, and the guitar. It seemed that anytime I came to her house, she was either doing school work or practicing music. She certainly would not be found slumped in front of the TV idling her time away. My friend was also accomplished at school sports. Indeed, I wondered if there was anything she could not do!

My grades at school were what could only be termed as below average. I did not play any musical instruments, and I was no use at sports. It was perhaps rather surprising that we were best friends at all. I do not think I envied her, she was my best friend after all. She was she and I was me.

There was however one thing that my best friend had that I wanted. My friend had shown me how to play a couple of chords on her guitar, and I wanted to learn more. She was more than happy to teach me the basics. But I also wanted a guitar of my own.

In fact, I wanted a guitar above everything else in the entire world. So how does a ten year-old school kid get a guitar? Easy! You ask your mother to buy you one.

This was not going to go as I had planned however. My mother had just received my report card and she was not exactly brimming with pride. My 9 grades were either a poor C or an even poorer D. I was not exactly in the genius-class, and my mother had no doubts that I was a hopeless case academically.

I summoned up the courage to ask her for the guitar. I was expecting a straight-forward no. What she did say however was going to change my life. My mother said that if my next report card was all A grades, then she would buy me the guitar.

I knew what I had to do. As I was so determined to have the guitar, I was more than happy to take on the challenge. It was going to be four months or so before my next report card was due, so I had time to get my school work up to scratch.

Without realizing it, my mother had set me a SMART goal. Her goal was for me to do better at school. She was not concerned about the guitar, yet this was what provided me with the motivation to succeed. I knew exactly what I had to do to get what I wanted, and I had to start concentrating on my school work immediately to achieve it.

I got straight As on my report card. My mother bought me my guitar that weekend. Although I did not get very far with my guitar playing, I learned about setting and achieving goals. I learned about being motivated and being persistent. I learned that if I worked hard at something, then success would follow. This soon became a habit, and I have continued to set and achieve goals throughout my life.

Incidentally, the guitar cost my mother $10. I will be forever grateful to her for teaching me the steps to achieve what you desire in life.

Jan specializes in encouraging people to “Make Positive Changes Now" in several aspects of their lives including career change, personal development, and combating addictions.

She is currently developing a number of CDs and DVDs to motivate and encourage people to make positive and worthwhile changes in their lives.

Visit Jan's web site at


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