Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tango is NOT an Addiction, Part II

 Please read Part I first!

My last bog entry started out, “If the model for motivation you follow is addiction, you run a higher risk of eventually being healed. Once you are healed of your addiction, we may never see you again at the milonga. What keeps some tangueros/tangueras motivated and others fall away? A different model may help you from falling away.”

So what is the different model? How about a business model of how to motive people at work? Tango (like many things in our lives we once loved to do) eventually becomes work.

Why do people come and go in Tango? Will you and I just fade away too? If you were to ask newlyweds, they run NO RISK over ever fall out of love.  Yet, so many of these "no-risk" marriages fail.  People “addicted” to tango feel the same about tango -- no risk.  So in Part One of this theme, I hope I decreased you risk for leaving tango. You are no longer addicted. Tango is a good way of just getting what all people need in life – Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need.

Now the question is how to keep this wonderful fountain of life, called tango, in your life.

According to a business model there are four types of motivation: Compliance, willpower, imagination and habit. Each succeeding motivation type is more likely to lead to more motivated individuals than the ones preceding it.

This model work well after the honeymoon with tango (or other things) is over. Once tango becomes a chore or work, the business model helps us stick to it and rediscovery why tango was once so important.

  • Compliance (I know this work is good for me. I will follow the rules).
  • Willpower (I am going to get off this sofa and go).
  • Imagination (I am going to rediscover why tango was so good for me. I can imagine being really good at this.)
  • Habit (tango is just what I do. It fulfills me and makes me a better person).
Imagination was where it all started. Maybe we were lonely or want to have a better relationship. We went to learn how to dance with our partner. We imagined getting to be a good dancer, making our relationship better, or meeting someone. Or it was another dance to learn that we are adding to other dance experiences. That imagination was or is going to be seriously challenged by how difficult becoming a good dancer really is, or learning to dance did not help much in keeping or finding a partner. So what will keep us motivated?

Your tango will experience through the years many positive and negative experiences. We may lose a partner and a song reminds us of that loss. A new crowd of people come into the scene and they have different values and skill levels, and it is just not fun anymore. We may go through a depression and our “aura” is so heavy that people don’t even want to dance with us. So the model of compliance/willpower/imagination/habit may become the only way to stick with it. Ask the people who have been dancing for 10 or more years. They have stuck with it. Why? (For one thing, ask them.) They have had injuries related and unrelated to dancing. They have experienced drama and trauma related to dancing and watched people come and go (loss). But they are still working at it. I think they have learned to comply with the rules (both the etiquette and rules of dance), which allows them to dance with anyone in the world (not just a group out of a certain studio). They have had willpower to allow play to become work and then turn back to play again with lessons. They have started imagining the next level of dance and the fun it will bring, and finally, like the devoted monk who prays and goes to church, tango has become a habit out of the comfort it brings.

This is the “theology” of tango. “Dance that you may have life and life abundantly.”


The Tango Theologian from Salado, Texas

1 comment:

Mari said...

Such good points about motivation! It's very easy to have unrealistic expectations (just like any relationship) and when one starts to encounter disappointments and challenges, it can be hard to stick with it. Thank you for the reminder to keep nurturing that relationship.