By Kevin Peters, MS and Stephen Walker, PhD
Now that we have established our mindset as a foundation (Requisite 1—Developing a Growth Mindset), we then must turn our attention to action. The second requisite is Motivation.
What is it? Why is it Important?
Motivation is defined as what gets you to ACT and move TOWARDS A GOAL. A common theory to explain motivation in more detail is Self-Determination Theory, which was developed over decades by two researchers named Edward Deci and Richard Ryan. What they did was divide motivation into a continuum or spectrum with one side being amotivation, or no motivation, and on the opposite side is intrinsic motivation, or doing things that are enjoyable for their own sake, the activity itself is the reward.
Generally speaking, the more one can move an activity towards the side of intrinsic motivation, the more likely it is that they will do that activity. One way we can begin to undermine intrinsic motivation is to give extrinsic rewards for doing it. Money is a common example. If I start to pay someone to do an activity that they find intrinsically motivating, that person will likely find that they lose some of the intrinsic motivation for that activity. However, if I can stress the enjoyment of the activity to that same person, I may be able to keep the activity intrinsically motivating for longer.
Let’s Look at Motivation in Another Way
Another aspect of Self-Determination Theory is the idea that human beings will possess positive tendences towards GROWTH and DEVELOPMENT when their environment is supported by three fundamental psychological needs: autonomy, competence, and relatedness.
Autonomy means independence or freedom. You will be more likely to do something if you chose to do it rather than being told or you are coerced into doing it.
Competence is the belief you are capable of doing something. If you feel competent with a task you are more likely continue doing that task. However, if you do not feel competent you will be less likely to pursue performing that task.
Relatedness is the amount of connection we feel towards others. If a given activity will help us to relate better, or nurture the connection with others, we will pursue that activity and all that is engaged with it.
However, if an activity means separating us from others, and makes us feel more alone, we probably won’t be motivated to do that activity.
WHAT Can YOU do…?
There are three basic questions to ask yourself when considering a new endeavor.
They will help you know if you are motivated enough, or not.
“Can I do it?”
“Will it work?”
“Is it worth it?”
If your answer to any of these questions is NO, you will most likely experience considerable hesitancy in pursuing the goal, and, your efforts toward achieving the goal are likely to be limited.
You are encouraged to ask yourself these three questions whenever you’re starting a new adventure or when you’re reflecting on a current one. By doing so, one of two things will happen. It will either give you more resolve, or, it will help you to move on to something else.
Focus on intrinsic rewards instead of extrinsic rewards.
Make it fun!
Focus on your “values”. What drives YOU to do the things you DO!
If you have a growth mindset but no motivation, you are likely to just dream about something.
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.” –Zig Ziglar.
If you can motivate yourself daily, you will be well on your way to the next requisite…
Stay tuned for COMMITMENT.