I’ve written about my models for how to motivate doing things you aren’t good at. Such skills are important in many fields, but especially so in leadership. More than having to motivate yourself to do things for the first time, you often have to motivate many others to do things they haven’t done.
One is my practice of having low standards the first time I do something, which motivates doing things the first time at all. I can always improve later. But I have to try once to get to later tries.
Another is Martha Graham’s statement:
Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion.
She was a great dancer who did it her way and revolutionized the genre.
I saw a clip from one of my favorite movies, Harold and Maude, that I thought beautifully illustrated Martha Graham’s quote. The character can’t hold a tune, can’t play the piano, and doesn’t dance well. She makes her audience cringe. Yet she steals the show. Take a look for yourself.
How many of us have the guts to do it as best we can and make it succeed no matter what?
On Harold and Maude
I could give some background on the movie to give context to the clip and explain why I love it, but I highly recommend seeing it instead of relying on my description. here’s the top of its Wikipedia page:
Harold and Maude is a 1971 American black comedy romantic drama film directed by Hal Ashby and released by Paramount Pictures. It incorporates elements of dark humor and existentialist drama, with a plot that revolves around the exploits of a young man named Harold (played by Bud Cort) intrigued with death. Harold drifts away from the life that his detached mother (Vivian Pickles) prescribes for him, and develops a relationship with a 79-year-old woman named Maude (Ruth Gordon).
The film was a critical and commercial flop in its original release, but since that time opinion has shifted rather dramatically. The film is ranked number 45 on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 Funniest Movies of all Time, and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 1997 for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
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