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  • Writer's pictureBob Prentice


James Bryan Conant said, "Behold the turtle; he makes progress only when he sticks his neck out!" There is so much truth to this statement. It takes some major motivation to take a risk.

Speaking of motivation, there are three major types of motivation: Fear, Incentive and Attitude. Most of us are aware of fear and incentive motivations. Today I want to introduce you to Attitude motivation. This is where we have the right kind of attitude to get things done.

I am reminded of the story of a little boy name Johnny and his pet turtle. Everyday Johnny would run home and take his turtle out of the cage to play with him. One day it was different when he picked up the turtle to play. The little turtle didn't stick his head out of his shell; no little turtle legs, no little turtle tail. Nothing.

Heart broken, Johnny was crying his little eyes out when his daddy came home from work that day. In an attempt to help his young son feel better about the situation, the father suggested they have a turtle funeral. The little boy thought this was most appropriate and the two set to work making the most beautiful turtle casket you ever saw out of an old hat box found in Mom's closet, decorated with some black and gold spray paint and ribbons.

Dad proposed to Johnny that for this to be an "official" turtle funeral they should invite Uncle Joe and Aunt Bess and all of his friends from school. Johnny ran around the neighborhood calling, "Come to the turtle funeral! Come to the turtle funeral!"

Friends from school and church gathered in Johnny's room, as Mom played an organ processional in the background. Dad reached into the cage and pulled the little turtle out of his cage, and they next thing you know, the little turtle's head, tail, and feet pop out of the shell. Everyone was in shock and awe, especially Johnny, who hollered out, "Let's kill him, Daddy!"

Now be assured, we aren't into hurting little turtles, but there is a moral here: Attitudes can be changed–sometimes quite dramatically, as in this story. Did you notice how the dad was able to motivate his son, not by using fear or incentives, but by changing the boy's attitude? What good news!

We, too, can shift attitudes in ourselves and in others. So, the next time you're faced with a need to motivate someone, remember this little turtle story.

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