A little ‘danger’ is helpful to stay motivated. This sounds weird the first time when I heard this, but this is true.

Do you feel demotivated after doing the same task for a long period?

Do you feel discourage and want to quit the activities that you are doing right now?

Sometimes, you feel lazy and don’t know what the goals that you are doing for.

If you have those feeling, it is normal. This is because you are staying in your comfort zone, you have no competition, and the things that you are doing right now bring little impact on your life.

A sudden loss or danger will ring your awareness

Just imagine, if you suddenly face a financial crisis, and you still need to pay off the bills, you will try to work harder to earn more money.

Or one day you go to the hospital and have a body check, your doctor tells you-you are facing a health problem. Here, you will be more concerned about your health.

When we face a sudden danger that will affect our lives, we consider that issue seriously.

If a frog is heated in warm water slowly and gently, it will be boiled to death because it doesn’t notice the danger is coming, However, if the frog is thrown into boiling water immediately, it will be stimulated by the high temperature and trying to jump out quickly.

This is because a sudden danger will make the frog stay alert so that the frog will try a way to solve the problem to get out of the dangerous situation.

The catfish effect

The catfish effect also shows a similar theory. This theory is said to become from Norway. At those times in Norway, life sardines are very expensive because only one ship could bring life sardines home. In Norway, people like to eat sardines, but it was difficult to keep sardines alive.

Fortunately, a shipmaster found a secret method to keep them staying alive longer, which was putting a catfish, the predator of sardines, in the tank with other sardines.–according to Vince from the Catfish film,

The sardines would feel the danger of survival and they would try to avoid this predator by increasing their level of activity. The competitive situation made the sardines kept on competing to keep themselves alive.

The catfish effect tells us that when a sudden danger or competitive situation occurs in an environment, we will stay motivated to make sure we can survive in this environment.

Skilled managers use the catfish effect wisely

The catfish effect is often applied in enterprise management. Sometimes, a manager will introduce an energetic and talented fresh graduate into the organization. This action can put some pressure on the lazy employees to improve work efficiency because they will feel a sense of danger that the fresh graduate may replace them.

This small competition between employees is a good way for an organization to achieve overall performance to accomplish the goals because employees will try to do their best to prove themselves — they should stay in the organization.

For example, a talented manager may have a management style that makes it difficult to accept by other employees. The manager may treat his employees coldly.

If you do something wrong and never show mercy, he will always make team members feel uneasy. However, this method can cut off some poor performance of employees from time to time. Employees will try to do their best to pursue the perfection of the job.

Catfish effects improve human lives

During this new era, many companies are introducing new technologies into their projects and services. Introducing new technologies enhances the competition between the companies in the same niche because they want to fight for the market.

People nowadays are using digital wallets instead of using traditional cash. A digital wallet is more convenient than a traditional payment method. The blooming of Fintech in most companies brings awareness to the traditional financial companies to improve the technological system too.

This scenario causes many financial institutions, including commercial banks, to launch innovative financial products to deal with the impact of internet finance. This is a good sign for human lives because we can now pay through our digital bank account.

Misuse of catfish effect

The catfish effect is a good way to boost the performance of an organization. However, misuse of this effect will bring a negative impact on the team. If a team is considered in an excellent performance, a sudden bring-in of an energetic, fresh graduate is not a good sign. This action will discourage the current employees to lose their enthusiasm because they will assume the manager is not satisfied with their performance.

When the overall environment of a team is too demotivated, this effect will not bring any advantages too. This is being said because the team members have given up themselves, and finding a new solution is not a good way to motivate them. In fact, communication will be a better way to solve the problem.

“Misuse of the catfish effect is like trying to solve a problem at the wrong timing.”

Fighting between catfishes

Adding some competition to a team can help to make a team stay motivated. However, if a team has too many catfish, arguments will occur. When competition becomes extremely intense, employees will stay under high pressure. This will lead and cause the employees to give up more quickly to leave the team.

“Everything will bring adverse effects when you overuse it, even though it is a good thing at the beginning.”


A little danger is helpful to help you to stay motivated. If you feel like you are discouraged while doing your work at the moment, try to find some competition in your life to help you in chasing your goals. Most people feel discouraged and demotivated in their life and do procrastinate because they are feeling the job that they are doing is useless. However, a small competition can help you to raise your awareness and keep yourself back on track.

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