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Whereas brats rarely feel guilt, rebels are quite prone to it. After all, they aren't rebelling because they want to hurt people for the most part. They're rebelling because they feel they know best and refuse to be constrained by silly rules made by people they don't respect. A rebel will respond to the demands of someone on a power trip with intentional sloth. But give them someone truly in need and they will expend all their effort to help. Of course, the helpee is also much more likely to respect said rebel than the overbearing authority figure.

This is an issue to discuss with respect to getting things done because we intuitively know that guilt works to get our inner rebels moving. Their surprisingly tender hearts will often get them up and busy when nothing else will. The problem is we tend to abuse this strategy to the point that it backfires. Guilt is such a painful emotion for the rebel that if we heap it on, the rebel may just plug her ears and ignore us, even when the guilt is appropriate.

Here are some examples of the inappropiate use of guilt as a rebel motivating tool:

  • How can you stuff your face when there are millions of people who don't have enough to eat?
  • There are so many unemployed people right now who would kill to have your job and all you can do is whine about what you have to do
  • Think of all the infertile women who would love to have a child and all you can do is complain about how crazy yours are driving you

Instead, consider posing these guilt-free questions:

  • What need are you meeting with food that you could meet in more constructive ways?
  • Is there a way you could make your job more satisfying or are you ready to look for a new one?
  • When are your children easiest to be around and is there a way you could encourage that environment more often?

Guilt is effective with your inner rebel, but it should be used sparingly. Use it when your grandma is in the hospital and your rebel wants to finish watching all the episodes of her favorite TV show on Netflix before visiting her. 

A good clue that you're using guilt to motivate is the word 'should' and its derivatives. What kinds of shoulds have you heaped on your inner rebel to no avail? 

Rebel's Guide to GTD – Respect

The Rebel's Guide to GTD – Superior

The Rebel's Guide to GTD – Challenge

The Rebel's Guide to GTD – Rules

The Rebel's Guide to GTD – Intro


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