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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, April 17, 2014

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A rather meta Locust Street Fest experience for Michael Stodola this year.
A rather meta Locust Street Fest experience for Michael Stodola this year.

Motivational Fest

A couple weeks ago, Janet, the kids and I were walking down the middle of Locust Street during the festival, thoroughly enjoying some quality people watching. If you ever want to celebrate the diversity of humankind, that event is essential.

But as we strolled past the incense, local T-shirts and handmade jewelry, I stared at the crush of my Mil-Town peeps and thought, there is something that binds us. Fundamentals that our species are built upon that make us all – the dread-locked Riverwesterners, the formal-dressed elderly couple and the bikini-clad, 6-foot, 2-inch African American goddess – of one will.

One of these fundamental elements is motivation.

And from Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung to Maslow to Daniel Pink to thousands of ad folks, the opinion is that motivation is central to our behavior and the reason our choices are so "human." You can't judge a book by its cover, but by its motivation.

The four motivations that we all share are:
Stability
Understanding
Achievement
Belonging

One of these motivations drives most of the decisions you make. It's why you love travel, or why you hate travel. It's why you wear Nike, or always have a girlfriend or hate the 9 to 5. One of these motivations pushes each one of the odorous, beer-zombies of the Locust Street Festival. Sure, we all have needs of each of the four, but mostly one of them is the basis for our set of preferences.

Personally, I need stability.

I fear being homeless, or not knowing about the future, or a shaky workplace. So, the decisions I make are to be a stable breadwinner, and to plan for the future and to work in a stable environment.

If you're about understanding, you feel compelled to find perfection in life, to uncover truth or to explore the world to understand other cultures or find yourself. Think you're about achievement? Maybe you like to reinvent yourself, rebel against your parents and not take their advice, or maybe you love sports or helping others. People who are motivated by belonging love other people. They need to be close to others, be the life of the party or be a good neighbor – willing to loan out the proverbial golf club.

A client once asked if I was about stability, why was I in advertising? Well, it's simple. Being a creative in advertising, you're a problem-solver. You like information in a simple, logical form. You're not a spacey artist flipping color on canvas, but an analyst with a gift to approach and present things differently. In other words, we attempt to create in order to reach someone, to achieve change, to move the needle, or in my case, to make something of value to someone else.

The trigger points of consumers are of central concern to anyone in business. And those points are the same the world over. So, my Locust Street brothers and sisters, raise your cup of Lakefront, savor that brat and know that we choose to live in and love Milwaukee for many of the same reasons. Cheers.

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