You have entered the motivation zone. This subject is talked about in almost every field and area such as neuroscience, psychology, education, sports, writing (I need some motivation right about now), business, families, politics, nutrition, fitness, etc. and I could go on and on and fill pages. Motivation is an endless topic of discussion! I am an educator, so we talk about motivating students at every level of academia…ALL…THE…TIME. How do we get them motivated to learn, pursue, advance, and become more?
Personally, when I think about motivation, I recall the old movie, “Kung Fu”. (You’ll laugh here or scratch your head, depending on your age!)
Picture This: A young Buddhist monk is with his master who is holding a pebble in his flat, open hand and outstretched in front of the young pupil. “Grasshopper, when you can take this pebble from my hand, you may leave”, calmly exhorts the Shaolin Master. Of course, the youngster tries and fails. And tries, and fails. Years go by, and finally he is wise and deft enough to figure it out and snatch the pebble. WRITER’S NOTE: I would have just popped the bottom of his hand, sent it soaring into the sky, and had a jump fest with the master to get it! Lol!
Okay, okay, back to motivation. Well, for the educator, employer, teacher, parent, etc. that pebble represents MOTIVATION. We’re all trying to snatch it and hold the answer to the age-old question, “How can/do we consistently motivate human beings (big ones and little ones)?” or more importantly, “How do we keep ourselves continually motivated?”
I’m glad you asked Grasshopper! (Said like a Chinese Kung-Fu Master) My thimble-full of knowledge, education, & experience working with clients, employers, non-profits, churches, leaders, and my own children has shown me that motivation is individualized. No one-size-fits-all method works for everyone and the research points to this as well.
Two Types of Motivation Thinking
Intrinsic/Internal Motivation-Things that personally motivate us come from the inside; your blueprint.
By Design: It is an innate giftedness that we are predisposed with that tie in with our make-up. If you are motivated by the reward of affirmation, money and gifts might be a good payoff, but you’ll always go back to seeking affirmation. (Books to check out: The Power of Uniqueness by Miller & Hendricks, The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman; you can Google it for several other resources on this topic.)
Extrinsic/External Motivation-Things that personally motivate us come from the outside: your training, teachers & self-discipline.
By Development: Self-motivation can be taught and is a part of an overall self-efficacy. This is performance driven and reflects back on our behavioral, psychological fathers such as Pavlov, Watson, and Skinner-the Behaviorists. (There are many books & papers available on this online; See Behaviorism, self-motivation, etc.)
How about the idea that it may be both?
YOU may be motivated by factors such as:
-positive affirmation-words of appreciation & approbation
-obtaining physical rewards-cash, gifts, or other stuff
-acts of service
-affection & touch
-self-satisfaction & a sense of accomplishment
-negative emotions-fear, revenge, etc.
-altruism-because it good & right (not a personal or physical reward)
The Risk vs. The Reward
Very few of us are altruistic, very precious few. We do what we do for an outcome or reward. We seek a reward as a result of our hard work, pursuits or goals and want a payoff. If we tap our correct motivation and the reward is handsome enough, we will move towards its attainment.
Next question: Why do some succeed and why do some fail in their motivation? That’s a question really for each individual but here are a few ideas:
-Was it the correct motivational factor for them? Affirmation, acts of service, gifts, etc.
-Did it provide a big enough payoff?
-Did they have personal accountability?
-Do they review their goal(s) often?
-Did they really want the thing being pursued?
-Were there obstacles not taken into account or ascertained?
Ideas to get you (re)motivated
If you are trying to get your mojo in gear to get motivated or re-motivated, please consider exploring what your personal motivation factor is and asking some of these questions of yourself. Once you do this, get a plan together to get back on track immediately with your goals!
Think: What makes me tick? How am I motivated and how can I activate it every time I set or pursue a goal?
Write: In your personal journal or notes, write down what your motivational factor is and how that applies to your dream or a big goal you are pursuing.
Do: Realign your goal(s) with your proper motivation. Ask a relative, colleague, or mentor what they perceive as your motivational factor.
What are your thoughts or ideas about motivation? How are you personally motivated and how has it help you achieve your goals & dreams?