The most important fact, which a leader who wishes to motivate others should bear in mind, is that an individual has an incessant and gnawing craving for importance. There is no exception to this pshychological need. Barring his biological needs, practically all his actions are directed at satisfying his continuing need to feel important. According to William James, the deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated. The individual who can honestly satisfy this burning hunger for importance on the part of his fellow human beings can literally rule the world. He can motivate and influence any person, big or small, high or low, educated or uneducated, rich or poor, man or woman, provided he is capable of making the other person feel truly important. By discovering the special and particular gifts of an individual, by giving due recognition and sincere appreciation to that singular gift or talent, you can win him or her over to your side easily.
You have to create an eager want on the part of the other individual if you wish to motivate him. In other words, you have to make the horse feel thirsty if your aim is to make it drink. Fortunately for you, here is an inborn, ever-present, gnawing hunger on the part of every human being to gain recognition and appreciation. This want is already there and you don’t have to create it. All you have to do is to satisfy this hunger. If you objectively analyze your own motives and needs, you will find that this need for recognition is the strong driving factor behind your aspiration to become a leader. It was this urge for importance which made Alexander the Great embark on a world conquest, and made many emperors wage innumerable battles and wars. This urge has driven artists, authors, scientists, inventors and others to attain great heights in their chosen fields and produce the best results.
People risk their lives and climb mountains, journey to the moon and expose themselves to risks because they are primarily, basically and even subconsciously, motivated by this urge to feel important, to become great and to earn appreciation. In misdirected cases, this same urge turns a few into notorious outlaws and criminals. When people fail to gain recognition, they go “insane” so that in the new world of their imagination and own making, they can obtain the importance which they have been craving for.
Rockfeller and Ford got their importance by earning billions and then setting up charitable foundations in their names in all parts of the world. There is no country in the world which does not benefit from the Rochfeller or Ford foundations. On the other hand, Al Caphene and Two Gun Croley got their importance by becoming the most notorious and feared gangsters of their days. In India, emperors and kings patronized court poets and musicians to have songs composed and sung in their honour. George Washington desired to be addressed as His Mightiness the President of the United States, and Columbus asked for the title Admiral of the Ocean. Catherine, the Great Queen of Russia scorned the letters which were not addressed to her as Her Imperial Majesty, and Akbar the Great, wanted the Rajputs to acknowledge him as the Emperor of Hindustan (now India).
As regards the common folk, this craving for recognition makes them sport the best clothes, possess rare articles and adopt the latest fashion features. Women want their clothes, housekeeping , cooking and beauty to be recognized and appreciated. Even young children demand recognition. Although India formally abolished the use of titles, it still provides for honours and awards such as Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri to satisfy this craving on the part of its citizens. If you take the industry, an increase in pay or income has no attraction for many in the higher and middle –income brackets. What they desire is the opportunity to distinguish themselves and, thus, obtain recognition and appreciation. You want to top the best and well known and honoured competitive examinations, the sportsmen and women wish to establish national and world records all for the same purpose – to feel great and important. Although all may feel thirsty and hungry, each may have his or her own preference or choice in selecting the drinks and foods from the varieties that are available. Some may prefer cold water, others soft drinks, another group buttermilk. You have, therefore, to find out the choice of each individual and offer him/her the right item. In other words, you must take interest in the other person, study and observe him and learn about his strong points, achievements and subjects of interest.