I’d like to thank the greatest motivation in my life: The Seven Deadly Sins.

I owe them everything.

If I ever need to give an acceptance speech, these Seven Deadly Life Coaches will be mentioned. (Well, maybe not Sloth, but he wouldn’t be there anyway.)


My allegiance to the Sins isn’t some hedonistic desire to break the rules. I’m a straight-laced guy, who never crosses at a red light and who feels uncomfortable if an Axe commercial comes on in mixed company.

It’s just that so-called negative emotions are better motivators than positive ones.

Altruism? Duty? Justice? Those do-gooders have always let me down.

But Wrath, Pride, Envy, Lust, and their close cousin, Fear? They’ve been there for all my accomplishments.

The high school accounting class I got a 70 in was “easy,” but the chemistry class I got a 96 in was “hard.” I needed to be scared of failure before I would do the work, and knowing I could boast about it among the other nerds made it useful.

Meanwhile, anger pushed me into journalism when a girlfriend told me I’d never amount to anything, so I approached a newspaper with a spurned heart and a couple columns.

My hiring was made doubly delicious when I next met the ex and saw she had expanded like an inflatable raft with its rip cord pulled. Any regrets I had were quickly tucked away in the folds of her neck.

See? Terrible, hateful. And where would I be without it?

Sure, I might be “happy.” But I write about bad things that happen to me. Make me happy and I’m like a country singer whose wife and dog come back. I lose my powers.

I recently signed up for a half-marathon and at first felt like I was doing it for pure reasons. But I soon realized the truth is I want pats on the back.

I’m not ready for purer motivations yet, but maybe one day in the future I’ll accomplish something simply because it’s the right thing to do, free of any of the sins. I picture six of them pushing me along on my bicycle without the training wheels, and when I turn back I’ll realize — gasp! — they’re not holding the seat anymore.

When that moment comes, I’ll be proud.

No, wait.

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