Troubled Teens and Young Adults who Lack Motivation

Ken Rabow gives some tips in helping inspire unmotivated young adults and troubled teens

For teens with anxiety, millennials dealing with self doubt, the slackers and the stoners who seem to lack motivation; there is one mantra they all share: “If I choose to fail and do… then I win”!

Let me repeat this for the high achieving, hard-working parents out there: Your child’s mantra just may be
” if I choose to fail and I do, I win”. Sends a shiver down your spine, doesn’t it? It should! It’s hard to know what is scarier. The fact that they think this or the fact that they would never tell you this. Yet, this is something I hear from new clients on a regular basis. y

Here’s the good News: They really do want to win. They just don’t have a single clue on how to do it. Let me share with you an example:

Take “Skeeter”.
A pot smoking stoner
who has made the skill of ignoring the outcome of his lack of effort in school, hygiene and relationships into and art.

What is odd is that when you get past all the negative situations that Skeeter has been through and really talk and listen to him, he really wants to succeed but he just doesn’t have a clue how to do that, so he channels all of his desires into self-sabotage. This goes on for so long that it is almost impossible for Skeeter to remember that this was a coping mechanism and not his true nature.

Given the opportunity, most people really will choose to succeed.

So what is the secret recipe. How do I get the self-sabotageurs to get “back on track”.
There are as many answers as there are clients. No two people have exactly the same road to travel but there are some common threads.

The first step is to believe that they really do want to succeed and that it is up to the Mentor to help them find “micro-successes”. Before I explain micro-successes, let me point out that what they have been learning up until now is that no matter what they are told, whatever they try will end up in failure, hurt feelings and self-loathing.

This is what I have to work with when they come to me. So why do they take a chance on my out of the box system? Because I listen. I take whatever they say seriously and I help them unpack their regular chants of “it won’t work”, “i’m just lazy” or (fill in the blank) and find their coping mechanism.

Now for the micro-successes: They are so powerfully conditioned to expect to fail that I must find the smallest little daily successes that they can see, feel, experience and start to consider that their might be the tiniest possibility that things don’t have to end badly.

That is all I ask for at the beginning.

And when things fall to poop (which they will), if we have built up enough trust and some micro-succeses, the will learn how to deal, how to assess, how to learn and finally how to grow.

It works. I feel honored every time I watch the transition and they are always in charge of what we do.

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Author: Ken_Rabow

Ken Rabow is the Mentor's Mentor for Troubled Teens, Young Adults and their Families