In this world of speed, even though we have a lot of things to be excited about, lots of us seem to lack the motivation to do anything, and today, we’re gonna help you tackle that.
Readers, how often do you find yourself lacking motivation in the last few months? In the last few months, how many times did you have the feeling of “meh” when somebody asked you about how you were doing?
Well, this term was defined by organizational psychologist Adam Grant as languishing. He describes languishing as the feeling of emptiness and stagnation.
So, what makes people feel motivated and wanting to do things?
Well, neuroscience tells us that our brains work with two kinds of motivation:
Moving towards something, or
Moving away from something (also known by the name of negative reinforcement).
Now, in the working field for example, we are led to think that financial incentives are what motivate people to do their jobs.
The higher the pay grade you may think, the higher the motivation.
American author Daniel H. Pink says that —
Rewards, by nature, narrow our focus. The problem is that narrowing our focus also narrows our perspectives.
So, simply put, rewards restrict our possibilities.
Studies show that if a task calls for even rudimentary cognitive skills —
The larger the reward, the poorer the performance.
London School of Economics concluded after a study that financial incentives can result in a negative impact on overall performance.
So, while we can’t argue that money is extremely useful in our everyday lives or that it can make us feel more motivated for a short while, money certainly doesn’t increase performance. And after a while, when the hedonic adaptation has kicked in, we just start going to feel motivated by it because we would have gotten used to the financial reward.
In this article, we’re going to focus more on the first kind of motivation.
Moving Towards Something and What Makes This Action Possible
Intrinsic motivation gives a sense of empowerment. Being able to motivate yourself makes you feel like you can do anything.
Scott Geller, a distinguished professor at Virginia Tech and a psychologist proposes three questions that we invite you to explore in order to evaluate if you feel self-motivated in a certain area of your life. You can stop reading after each question and allow yourself to reflect a little bit.
Can you do it? Do you believe you can do it?
Will it work? Do you believe that your behavior will lead to the ultimate outcome?
Is it worth it?
Now, if the answer is “yes” to all three questions, you feel empowered. A key point to feeling empowered is also the feeling of choice or autonomy.
Psychology professor Ellen Langer said in her book Mindfulness that —
When you perceive choice, you perceive motivation.
During this part of the article, we would like to explore the three C’s that parents are advised to fulfill so they can connect with their children and gain their cooperation. And science shows us that these three C’s apply to all mammals, not just humans.
First C — Control
Human beings need a sense of control or autonomy over their lives. Either as a child or as an adult, this is a core need.
If we feel trapped, we enter into survival mode, and survival mode is a state that cannot coexist with intrinsic motivation. This is a moving away from kind of motivation, so we feel it as negative reinforcement.
So when you think about a certain area in your life where you want more motivation, reflect for a second and ask yourself the following questions.
Do I feel like I have influence or autonomy in this situation?
Do I feel trapped or do I feel free?
Second C — Competency
In order to be more motivated, we have to experience the feeling that we are competent at what we are doing, or at least that we’re making progress.
In order to be able to feel that, we need to start celebrating progress, no matter how small, instead of waiting around until we achieve some kind of fictional perfection.
Even if we talk about a skill we didn’t practice that much, our focus must be on what we can do from now on, and in order to remain focused and not overwhelmed, sometimes we have to break it down into smaller pieces.
So readers, celebrate those small wins!
Source: The Office (2005)
Think about that part of your life where you feel like you should or want to be more motivated, and with that in mind, what are some small steps and small wins that you can celebrate here? How can you expand your skills or competencies and use them more so you can build toward mastery?
Third C — Connection
As human beings, our brains are wired for connection.
We do good things individually but we can achieve great things when we are in a community. The need of belonging is a primal human need because for millions of years, being together with our tribe was what kept us alive and going.
So, we can’t really ignore that we need social support. We grow when we have that social support.
Do you feel connected in your life?
Do you feel like what you’re doing matters?
Do you feel like what you’re doing influences the life of other people?
We know that these are some deep questions here, but we believe that self-motivation and empowerment need a certain level of self-awareness.
So, feel free to read this article a few more times if you feel like you need it. Take your time and allow yourself to dive deeper into the levels of your consciousness. Our answers to motivation lie deep inside our souls.
So readers, what moves you?
CONTRIBUTED BY Entrepreneuria
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