How My Past has Brought Me to The Present! Grandpa Jack & Motivators ~ Part 14

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Last week I mentioned the importance of understanding your own inner motivations.  At the end of my post, I let you know I’m into step aerobics.  I started step last October 2011 offered through Des Moines Public Schools Community Education and taught by Rhonda Judge, a wonderfully talented instructor.

I first took step aerobics during a Physical Fitness and Conditioning course at ISU.  I liked it back then (1995) and always thought about getting back into it.  But geez Amy, it took me well over 16 years to do so!  That’s a bit embarrassing, and I hope if you want to do something, please don’t wait that long!

How am I getting motivated to do step aerobics after all these years? 

I am going to compare it to how I am motivated to get fit and how I got motivated to do well in college (recall I was a high school dropout–what a dud!); and I want to look at what motivates people to work to their best ability.

3 objectives here:

First, what motivates a person to exercise? As far as step aerobics, it’s a workout using a step of four inches in height in front of your body. While listening to the instructor (and music) in a room full of like-minded people, you perform a choreographed exercise routine.  Step is a form of endurance training. You burn calories, increase your strength and flexibility, and improve your gait and balance. Sounds good, huh? Trust me, it works in a fairly short period of time….if you stick to it. The most important aspect of any type of exercise or training is the positive impact it has on your mental health.  There’s your motivator #1!


Step Aerobics is Fun!

Secondly, how do students find the motivation to do well academically? There are different concepts of motivation (extrinsic and intrinsic). In my case, I love to learn but not in a controlled environment (eg: how school was structured in the 60s, 70s & 80s…do what the teacher says, memorize, take tests, get graded–external pressure/external rewards.) Once I had autonomy (going to college), and I became driven by my interests and enjoyment in the tasks involved in my learning, I realized, hey not so dumb after all!  

My intrinsic motivation soared! 

My quest for learning jumped through the roof!  There is no ceiling in my place, so I’m going for a state of wisdom perhaps, ha ha ha, wishful thinkin!  The process of self-enlightenment shines through when you focus on your interests and tap into your inner wisdom.  There’s your motivator #2!

After the comic scroll down please, there’s more…

And thirdly, let’s take a peek at what motivates people to work to their best ability.  I want to introduce you to my maternal grandfather.  John V. Dodge.  The V is for Vilas. Grandpa didn’t really like his middle name, he said it sounded like a pickle.

Grandpa’s career was in writing, as a publishing executive. Jack (what everyone called him) worked for Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., for well over 50 years. Encyclopedia Britannica is an international educational publisher with products that promote knowledge and learning. For a long time Gpa was the editor in chief.  If you click on the previous link, I’ve attached the typical responsibilities of an Editor in Chief.  Jack was also an Army Intelligence Officer during World War II.

Jack and Jean Dodge (Gpa and Gma) lived in the Chicago Illinois area all their lives.  Gpa had a college degree from Northwestern University (well Gma did too).  Gpa also studied for a time at the University of Bordeaux, France.  For his work, Gpa traveled worldwide.  Gpa was fluent in seven languages, and culture and people simply fascinated him.

Jack and Jean had four children:  Ann (my mom), John, Gerald and Kay.  Here’s a picture of Jack in his room at home.  It was taken in June of 1986.  Besides all the books on the bookcase, notice the print.  I’m not entirely sure what it is, but I’m pretty sure it’s famous.  I’ll find out and get back to you with the info.

G’pa would love love love the World Wide Web!  

Here is a story I wrote about Gpa for an English Composition class in 1981.

Grandpa continued to consult during his retirement (and hang out with Jean in Florida during the wintertime!) Jack loved to help others to learn. When you use your best skill sets and love what your work is about, you become naturally motivated to work to your best ability. There’s your motivator #3!

Every person has different motivations for working. The reasons for working are as individual as the person. But, we all work because we obtain something that we need from work. Working to your best ability is gratifying.  The something we obtain from work impacts our morale and motivation and the quality of our lives. 

As a vocational counselor, I work to help others experience success in their work efforts.  This is always a win-win-win situation….for my client, an employer, and me! I hope you enjoy this post and my blog writings.

Enjoy Yourself


Read on and enjoy!




My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.