Being Told What to Do

There’s just something about being told what to do. Especially if it was something you were going to do, or were just about to do, without being prompted or reminded. It can give the task you were about to do a sudden… unwanted or undesirable quality to it. 

How do you like it when people tell you what to do, ask you to do something you were about to do, and/or remind you to do a task? What happens to the task? 

What happens to your motivation when this happens? 

How do you handle the situation when this happens? What interaction(s) happen after this? Is there something that you want to have happen instead? 

What prompted the person to tell you (or remind you) to do the task? What’s the history behind this? Their motivation or rationale? 

Do they need to keep reminding you to do tasks? Is it helpful or hurtful? 

What’s different when you’re doing something you were told to do versus when you do it without being prompted? Is there a difference? What can we do to combat any negative mood shifts, emotions, etc., when they come up in this situation? 

Are there certain tasks where you need to be told/reminders and tasks where you don’t need this external help? What’s a common thread between where help is needed and where it is not? 

Are there certain people who you don’t mind instructions/reminders from and people who you do mind? 

What boundaries need to be set when it comes to telling you what to do/reminding you what to do? 

Are there other external reminder systems that you could utilize instead so you don’t need another person’s help? What would be helpful?

Is there a way to look at the person telling you what to do/reminding you of a task in a more positive or helpful way? Would this re-framing help? Why or why not, and what is needed? 

Is this an all or nothing type thing? Can something be found in the middle ground to help? 

Are there concerns or problems with authority? If so, what are they? What can be done about them? 

I don’t want to tell you what to do, but I hope you found this helpful and sheds some insight into why being told what to do can cause problems or negative changes in motivation. Again, you are the expert in your own life. 

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