Published on December 11th, 2012 | by Keenan


What’s your number?: By Keenan Wilson

What’s your number?: By Keenan Wilson
Original Post on The Renaissance Movement Blog 

So I love that clip. It’s from a pretty intense movie by Oliver Stone called “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” This scene catches the tail end of a conversation between Jacob Moore (Shia LaBeouf) and Bretton James (Josh Brolin) as they discuss the job that Bretton offered Jacob. Before Jacob decides whether he wants to accepts this offer, he asks Bretton this interesting and direct question that reveals a great deal about Bretton.

He asks “What’s your number?” What’s your number to walk away from it all? What’s your number to keep pushing? Essentially, what he was asking him was “What’s your motivation?” Bretton’s response is incredibly interesting, his simple reply is “more”. Bam cue the crescendo of the epic music and end scene.

So everybody has a number, everybody has a motivation, everybody has this particular force that drives them to do something. Whether the something that they are doing is good, bad, right or wrong. They have a driving force that motivates them to obtain the “prize”.

For example, one of my favorite public speakers/motivators Eric Thomas speaks about a time when he had flunked out of college and then went back. He says what really changed the game when he returned to college, and what literally enabled him to not only exceed but excel was the fact that he had his first child.  His motivation for success, his number, became his desire to create a better future for his son.

We can also learn a lot from the greatest basketball player that ever lived, Michael Jordan, who frequently talks about the fact that he had missed more than 9000 shots in his career. Lost almost 300 games. 26 times, he had been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. He says,“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” His motivation, his number, his driving force was to not experience the pain associated with failure.

I work with children diagnosed with Autism spectrum disorder. One of the beautiful things about the work, is the opportunity to learn about the intricacies of behavior. At times what drives the kids that I work with to do certain things is incredible! For example, I have one particular case that is literally driven by a desire for “sensory input”. The opportunity to splash in water, run sand through his finger,  or feel the cool and wet sensation of silly putty is his number. That’s his motivation. That’s the driving force that drives him through the day. As his instructor, it is absolutely essential (if I want to be successful) to use his number to his and my advantage. So what I created for him was a sensory bin, placed some leaves inside and presented the opportunity for him to earn access to the bin!

The progress that this kid makes when this thing is the prize is ridiculous! A complicated task becomes light work when the number and motivation is right. Honestly, what I did for my case is what we all have to do. We must use our motivations to our advantage. If you’re finding the mundane task difficult..find your number. If you’re struggling at your job…find your motivation. whatever the barrier, whatever the wall, whatever the goal..find the force that will allow you to climb, knock down and accomplish what you desire.

The truth of the matter is this, if we truly want to experience success, if we truly want to harness the force that propels us to do certain things, it is absolutely essential for us to discover what our personal number is. What is our particular motivation to accomplish a particular task? What is it and how can we harness it for our benefit?

There is particular proverb that I love. It says,

The appetite of laborers works for them; their hunger drives them.

Essentially, what it says is the hungrier you are the harder you are willing to work. So you want to work hard, you want to obtain success, you want to have it, you want to be it, you want to experience it? Find your motivation and Starve for it. 

Peace & progress friends,


So what’s your number? What’s the driving force that propels you to accomplish your dreams?

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