Climb Everest, hug a famous celebrity, move to a bigger city, take out the trash, get promoted – these and many other goals, the small and the big, daily shift from one person to another. At some point you might be vexed with certain situations in your life. Your workers are discouraged from doing effective work for your company, your spouse is unhappy with bad habits but has no motivation to change them, and you know that regular runs are important but can’t get around to putting on your shoes to finally do that first run around the lake. This is often because we lack that internal beast – motivation which stimulates us to perform various things to achieve desired goals. Some people are skeptical about the whole idea of motivation and find it unnecessary to spend time searching for the stimulus. However, others truly seek the best ways to uncover that motivation and discover new results. This article is for people who yearn to improve their lives and learn about different kinds of motivation, as well as the ways they can encourage others and themselves. Discover the top 3 effective motivational techniques that promote better life and implement them now.
What Is Motivation In Real Life?
Why do you wake up in the morning? Perhaps you have a job or need to feed your someone. No matter what your reason is, you do it because you are expecting to reach the final goal. You go to work in order to evolve as a professional and pay bills, you feed the children to give them the possibility to grow healthy and loved. You take care of your pets because your mood is lifted up when your dog is happy.
Every time when we commit to some action, we have a small purpose that motivates us.
Psychology defines motivation as the process where you start, direct, and sustain certain activities in order to meet your needs (2). Our needs can be psychological (for instance, validation, acceptance, or love), and physical (food, the latest PlayStation, or a new expensive massage chair).
Interestingly though, the level of motivation changes the neural circuits responsible for sensory information. This can affect our decision-making or our choices (4).
In our mind, we hold fast to the idea that if we crave something we ought to act. If we don’t do anything, therefore we deprive ourselves of various things that make our lives easier and more comfortable.
Motivating yourself or others is not a cakewalk because as was mentioned already some individuals disapprove of the concept of motivation. To them, it is just a waste of time or another excuse not to do action.
However, other individuals take motivation techniques seriously and implement them in their personal life or at work. Unfortunately, some motivational strategies are not efficient enough and they may lead to adverse consequences. Before we move to them, let’s find out about two essential samples of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic.
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What Are Intrinsic And Extrinsic Motivation Examples?
Do you do your job because you like it, or are you just content to see impressive money rewards for your duties? This question combines both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation examples.
Intrinsic motivation refers to interest in the subject or activity. In simple words, you do something not because you get an external reward (money, compliments, better attitude), but because your actions make the world a better place, give some sense of direction in life, or you feel a high level of internal satisfaction from it (5).
Extrinsic motivation means doing something for the sake of external rewards. You spruce up for the date to be showered with compliments from an attractive person, and you help a girl carry her bags in order to get her number. External factors are not necessarily positive.
Besides a potential reward, a person may be willing to do something for other external factors, like
- a potential punishment
- short-term or long-term consequences (6).
The problem is that if we are constantly rewarded for doing something, we might lose interest in anything we had to do to get the reward (1).
Other examples of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation:
- A student reads a book for pleasure.
- A girl sticks to a healthy diet because it tastes delicious to her.
- A freelance writer creates blog posts because it’s enjoyable and creative.
- A student reads a book to get better grades.
- A girl sticks to a healthy diet because she desires to lose weight and amaze her friends and family.
- A freelance writer creates blog posts because he earns good money for them.
What Is The Carrot And Stick Theory?
Leaders often revert to an old-fashioned carrot and stick if they are eager to motivate their workers. Is that effective, though?
Let’s start with a little bit of history.
The carrot and stick concept originated from a story about a mule. As long as you dangle a carrot in front of the mule, the animal will continue moving. If the mule refuses to move you should strike him with a stick from behind. Thus, the carrot acts as a reward for obedience (moving), while the stick acts as punishment for non-obedience (not moving).
This approach was later introduced by an English philosopher during the industrial revolution. He suggested that employees are more motivated if they are rewarded with money, promotions, and other financial and non-financial benefits. However, if workers disobey or fail at work they should be punished for that.
However, the carrot and stick approach usually leads to a decrease in the morale of employees. This especially applies to agitated, strict bosses who call out their workers in front of the staff or try to humiliate them for poor work on the job. Fortunately, contemporary employers try to become role models for their employees by showing the importance of the work by their own performance.
That being said, the secret to effective performance at work, school, or at home is the internal need to direct one’s life and help people understand that their actions positively affect various living spheres.
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How To Encourage Someone?
We often give people advice or recommendations and we do it easily. However, encouraging someone is often a complex process since we can’t fully realize the feelings and emotions of someone else. It may be applied to employers who are dissatisfied with the working atmosphere in their company, mothers who can’t watch their children eating junk food, or even a hotel administrator who gets customer complaints about the poor work of his staff.
Encouragement is a skill that can be learned. There are different motivation tools you can read about on the internet. Some of them work and some are not applicable to certain situations. In this article, you are not going to be overwhelmed with dozens of motivation techniques you can implement at work or any other sphere.
We are only going to highlight the top 3 effective techniques of motivation that not only encourage someone but also build trust.
Technique#1 Explain the importance. Usually, employers give new assignments to workers, announce the deadline, and vanish in the air. Employees got used to this and reluctantly trek to their computers. Now imagine a situation when the employer spends some time explaining the importance of the assignment. What if the employer tells them that the effective work of his workers can bring the best benefits to the company which will positively impact those workers? In this case, the workers realize the worth of their duties and are encouraged to perform better. In a nutshell, if you desire to encourage them, be ready to offer some beneficial reason.
Technique#2 Ask questions. A discouraged person will always make up hundreds of reasons not to do something. Your next action should be not to swamp the individual with endless advice or recommendations but rather to ask the correct questions. Imagine, your friend has a goal to run twice per week but he always makes excuses for not doing so and eventually feels unhappy. Here is what you can ask: “What do you think is the biggest obstacle for you to start running?”, “What would happen to your body if you ran at least 1 hour per week?”, “At what period of the day could you run if you started?”. If the person answers these questions, he or she perceives the issue on a much deeper level and might get encouraged to do something.
Technique#3 Listen carefully and propose help. Every time when someone refuses to commit to something all you need to do is to find as many possible reasons why it is that way. We are all different social people and we don’t like to be judged. Instead of judgment, propose help but only after you have genuinely listened to their complaints carefully. “Can I help you in ….?” – that is something a lot of people would like to hear but are too embarrassed or too shy to admit. Be the first one to initiate help. If they reject your proposal then stick to technique number 3.
Of course, these techniques might not be helpful enough but they reduce misunderstanding, negative conversations, or debilitating states. Therefore, listening, asking questions, and giving the actual reasons why something is beneficial are good ways to encourage a person.
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How To Motivate Yourself?
Self-motivation is a tricky thing. It can be easier to give someone advice or inspire a friend but it gets so much harder when figuring out our own lives. There are so many things we would be able to change if we were not lazy or bored, or scared to do something.
What would happen to you if you enjoyed fewer chips and switched to fresh nuts? How differently would you feel if you had the guts to tell your love partner that you don’t like their movie choices?
We barely motivate ourselves for small things, so how can we achieve the bigger ones?
Two answers: discipline and deadline.
The importance of discipline is underestimated. People usually spend tons of time binging pointless motivational videos, reading books, and dreaming of a brighter future. Why is it a waste of time? You watch a short video, like the quote of a famous rich person, and might even write it down somewhere and later get a spark of energy. This spark vanishes once you wake up the next morning because there was no plan behind it.
The best thing you can do to motivate yourself is to build discipline. An old-fashioned diary with tasks is a great start. The key to self-encouragement is building a plan and sticking to it. Discipline is completed when you stick to your schedule. Your schedule should contain
- Small starting points (20 minutes of exercises in the morning);
- Reasons (If I do the exercise, I will gradually build a stronger physique and be able to complete more intense training);
- The final goal (If I complete the intensive training every week, I will end up with a more toned and healthier body).
Deadline pressure created by yourself is a genius way to perform better. Procrastination often happens because we only perceive the deadlines given by others but never build our own. Another good idea is to motivate yourself by announcing the deadline to others (3). Let your friend know about your deadline and promise a gift worth $200 if you don’t meet your deadline. Not meeting the deadline would feel like breaking a promise to someone else. It puts another layer of responsibility on your shoulders.
Long story short, discipline and deadlines are the key ways to self-motivation.
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The Bottom Line
Motivation is the psychological process that pushes a person to do certain actions leading to desired aims.
Intrinsic motivation refers to the inner drive that pushes a person to pursue some activity without expecting an external reward.
Extrinsic motivation refers to doing something not for inner pleasure but for the external outcome, such as reward or avoiding punishment. It identifies the carrot and stick concept where the worker should be rewarded for the completed task and punished for unsatisfactory results.
The top 3 motivational techniques that promote better life are listening, asking questions, and proposing assistance.
Among the powerful techniques to motivate yourself are the development of self-discipline and meeting deadlines.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- How Well Do Rewards and Incentives Work to Motivate You? (2018, nytimes.com)
- Motivation to learn: an overview of contemporary theories (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Need Motivation? Declare a Deadline (2013, nytimes.com)
- Too much motivation affects our decision-making (2022, sciencedaily.com)
- What Is Extrinsic Motivation? (2022, webmd.com)
- What to know about extrinsic motivation (2022, medicalnewstoday.com)