When I asked my friends to tell me their opinion about the movie requiem for a dream some of them said that it was the most depressing movie they ever saw, after all the movie discusses shattered dreams and people who were never able to reach their goals.
Whats strange is that some people found the movie extremely motivating and even inspiring so the question is, how can a depressing movie motivate some people and depress others??
In order to understand this puzzling fact you have first to know some information about the psychology of motivation.
The psychology of emotions
When we watch a movie our subconscious identifies with the heroes and makes us believe that we are in their shoes.
Why do you think you become afraid when you watch a horror movie even though you are safe inside the cinema? Its because your subconscious mind believes that you are facing the same dangers that the hero is facing and thats why you become afraid.
Research has also shown that peoples facial expressions transfer their emotions to us and let us feel what they are feeling, thats one strong reason you feel really bad when you see a poor homeless person in the street.
The persons facial expressions transferred to you some of the misery he is feeling and thats why you felt bad. Now back to the movie, when watching the heroes act their emotions are transferred to you and they became empathic with them.
The psychology of motivation
Up until now its clear why do we experience different emotions inside the theatre but still we didnt answer the question, why do some people become motivated while others lose hope?
The concept that explains this well is called Negative motivation or Away from motivation which states that people can be motivated by wanting to avoid something that they dislike.
A man can exercise in order to look good while another one can exercise in order not to look bad. The second man is a clear example of negative motivation and how can It affect our behavior.
Now when some people saw the misery that happened to the people of the movie requiem for a dream they became motivated not to be like them and thats why the movie inspired them.
Everything is now clear but why some people never became motivated?? Negative motivation only works when you have a clue about the action you should take in order to solve your problem.
If a parent scolded his child to study without giving him the books the child will become depressed while if they gave him the books he will become motivated to study from them.
In short, people who become motivated after being exposed to negative motivation are those who already know the actions they should take in order to solve their problems but for some reasons they werent motivated.
These findings lead to very important conclusions such as:
Never criticize someone or try to motivate him using punishment before you make sure that he knows how to do the things that you are asking him to do
Dont underestimate the effect of the movies you watch or the music you listen to. Some people say you are what you eat but research has now proved that you are what you listen to (in addition to what you eat)
If two people faced the same situation each one will experience different emotions based on his own belief system