Its been a while since I’ve posted and I want to address that and be more consistent going forward.  So, having said that I’d like to share a very effective response strategy I was introduced to in a training very early in my career, that I’ve used frequently with great success, especially in the business of dealing with challenging and difficult clients or anyone else you may have to deal with. They don’t necessarily have to be challenging they could just be nosy.

Here it is:  It you find yourself being challenged or questioned or at the end of a verbal personal label, the statement that you can use every time is “that’s interesting…” and after saying that you immediately follow up with one of the four following responses:

  1.  “…tell me more…”
  2.  “…why would you say that…”
  3.  “…why would you do that…”
  4.  “…why would you ask that…

As I said, these responses have proven to be very effective for me during my career of working with very difficult and challenging individuals and even easier to use in everyday life.  For example, when working with drug addicted individuals and criminally involved individuals I was often challenged regarding my knowledge and experience with drug use (did I ever use drugs).  For many professionals who attend my training today, their common response to this common challenge is, “…we’re not here to talk about me, we’re here to work with you…”  That type of response is usually met with a level of resentment because it’s reactive, dismissive and evasive to the client and usually results in further animosity and resentment. What I discovered that worked best in any situation was not to react, and respond instead with “that’s interesting…why would you ask me that?” And, “that’s interesting…why would you say that?”  And any of the other two of the four responses shown earlier.

Responding in the manner above, puts the responsibility back on the person who challenged you or said something to you, to explain why and reason for saying what they said.  Very often the challenger doesn’t have a meaningful reason for being challenging because they just want to be difficult and will usually drop the challenge and prefer to go on to something else.  If not that, you’ll discover that any of their other reasons are usually weak and easily dealt with.

I hope that you find what I’ve presented helpful and useful in your future interactions with anyone you deal with on a daily basis and yes that does include friends, family and kids.  Cheers.


“Some people make things happen. Some people watch things happen. And then there are those who wonder, ‘What the hell just happened?” — Carroll Bryant

In my first post I mentioned that people are motivated by intrinsic and extrinsic factors and circumstances, such as our needs and desires.  However, for human beings to feel more successful and in charge of their lives, being intrinsically motivated is key.  As the quote above suggests, to feel more successful you need to be a person who makes things happen.  In other words, rather than be told to do something or feel you have to do something it is much more rewarding to want to do that thing for the positive outcome you have visualized and acknowledged for yourself ahead of time.  Another way of saying this is that it is much better to be proactive than reactive.

So how does one develop intrinsic proactive motivation?  In their book Motivational Interviewing, Miller and Rollnick state that “motivation is created when people perceive a discrepancy between their present behaviour and important personal goals.”  What the statement implies is that the first step to becoming motivated is to develop and have clear, specific goals and a plan for achieving those goals.  State your outcome in positive terms and improve your outcome success by writing it down in as much detail as possible.

When people seem to be missing direction or find that they are not where they want to be in life there is a way to have them focus on what’s important for them.  When I work with clients on this I use specific communication to get them to focus on what they want and have them describe what that will be and look like for them.  For example, I ask the individual what they would like their life to look like one year, two years and up to five years down the road, and what would life look like for them and how would they feel when they have what they want.  When they answer that in as much detail as possible I ask them to think about and explain what it will take to achieve the outcomes they desire.  In other words, what is their strategy, what do they need to do to achieve the outcomes they want.  Setting goals is only the start to getting what you want and where you want to be.  There is more to getting there.  Some people just need a little help finding their target and learning how to hit it.

When you know how to motivate others you can use the same motivational principles and strategies to motivate yourself much more effectively to successfully achieve the outcomes you desire.  For example, at my team’s hockey season ending party last summer, I set a goal to lose 30 pounds before the start of our season this year.  I am happy to say that as of today I have lost close to 25 pounds and I am working on losing another 15.  I’m 6′ 2″ tall and my visualized outcome is to weigh 190 pounds.  Why do it?  Well, playing the two sports I love, soccer and hockey (in that order) and being 57 years of age often competing against players at least half my age, a change in my retired and lets just say more relaxed lifestyle had to happen if I wanted to continue to compete, which is my desired outcome for the foreseeable future.  So I wrote down my goal and my strategy for reaching it in has much detail as possible.  The program I set for myself requires daily running and hiking and weight resistance five times a week.  I didn’t change my diet too much, hey I love food, but did cut out the things that cause more serious damage.  Mostly, I realized that I had to pick up my work rate and I took myself back to a time when I was much fitter and weighed around the target I’m aiming for now.  That immediately put me in the same energetic physiology and emotional state I needed to succeed now.  Do I love running and working out everyday?  I have developed ways to make it more enjoyable but what keeps me motivated is my visualized outcome and how much better I feel, look and hopefully perform when playing my favourite sports.

Many of the clients I have worked with and students I’ve taught usually Identify  better weight management as one of their goals.  Of interest and important to understand is that for most people it isn’t the loss of weight that motivates, its what they will be able to do and how they will feel when they achieve their goal.  When I keep peeling back their usual general reasons for wanting to lose weight, many will acknowledge that they are going to be able to feel and look much better.  When asked to elaborate on what they mean by looking much better many usually state that they will feel more attractive and sexier.  Now, that’s an outcome connection on an emotional level that will keep many motivated to achieve their goal.

Would love to hear from you and what you think of what I have written here.  Maybe you have your own fabulous goal related success story to share.  If you would like to know more about motivational interviewing and learn how to motivate others and yourself, I’d love to have you attend one the workshops I present regularly.  Just ask me.

“The starting point of all achievement is desire.” —Napoleon Hill

Until next time, regards.



Motivation – on a global and personal level much of what we have and where we are in life today would not have been possible without motivation.  Since the beginning of our existence we have been motivated by the most basic of needs such as hunger, to more ideal wants such as wanting to fly and to have emotional desires fulfilled such as love, belonging and recognition.

Wouldn’t life be more exciting and rewarding if you could put yourself in a powerful state of motivation when needing or wanting to reach your goals and dreams, as well as when needing or wanting to improve or change life circumstances?  Not only that, but how might others feel and think about you if you were able to help them reach their goals and dreams and improve or change their circumstances for the better?

By having a better understanding of the mechanics and syntax of human motivation, you will be able to enter into the state of motivation more effectively when you feel the need and want for improving specific circumstances or challenges in your life and for maintaining commitment to the goals and desires you wish to successfully reach.  Having such knowledge will also help you to be able to elicit from, and create the state of motivation with others in your life – family, children, teenagers, friends, colleagues, clients, just about everyone.

My name is Mario Alves and I started this blog site to further explore and discuss the topic of human motivation and allow all who visit here to comment and contribute their views and experiences on the subject.  Along the way I hope to educate on the specific methods, strategies and approaches that have been proven to be effective in eliciting motivation from others and on a personal level.  I have been helping people to change and improve their personal life circumstances for over 35 years and continue to teach a method of communication known as Motivational Interviewing (Miller & Rollnick) at the Justice Institute Of British Columbia.  My desire is to do the same here by sharing with you my experience with motivating others and knowledge on motivation.  Check out the menu tabs at the top of this page for more about me and other topics.  There will be more to come and for now I thought I would just start with something lite and fun on the topic.  So, being ready and motivated, lets start with something most of us do every day…

If you are like most people, you woke up and got out of bed this morning because you either wanted to or you had to.  In other words you were motivated  to take action so that you could fulfill or accomplish a desire, need, or obligation.   All three states are powerful motivators but they come from different perspectives and emotional states.   The above implies that you were either motivated by intrinsic or extrinsic factors.  In either case, if you did in fact get out of bed you talked yourself into doing so based on the specific and sometimes not so specific reason(s) or motive(s) for doing so.

So how were you feeling when you got up this morning – thoughts, emotions, energy, enthusiasm, physiology – and how motivated did you feel to take on the day?  Did you get up with vigor and vitality or did you hit the snooze button once or maybe several times before getting up?  There are many theories and much information explaining what motivates most of us but not as much on the way to motivate ourselves and others.  In other words the style, manner, thought and verbal communication that has been shown to effectively influence our desire and motivation to take action.

This site is brand new and still a working process and your contribution to it will have much positive impact on its success.  So I look forward to your comments and suggestions on what you would like this site to be like – what you would like to see and discuss.  It would be marvelous to hear from all I have had the experience of teaching and working with as well as everyone else of course.   Feel free to leave a comment about any training you have taken with me on Motivational Interviewing, Substance Abuse Management, Crisis And Conflict Resolution, Work Place Safety and, or your personal experiences with motivation.

I look forward to your input and contribution.  You could start with what I commented on at the start; how was it getting out bed this morning?

I look forward to your comments.