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Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn very briefly.
Stephen R. Covey
You've got to get up every morning with determination if you're going to go to bed with satisfaction."
George Horace Lorimer

Start by doing what's necessary, then what's possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
Francis of Assisi

If you want your life to be a magnificent story, then begin by realizing that you are the author and everyday you have the opportunity to write a new page"
Mark Houlahan


Intrinsic motivation doesn't exist
Here’s a tip: Don’t tax away our motivation
Why Are Americans So Generous?
A guide to getting the most out of being lazy
Motivational concepts
Motivational Theories
How to Stay Motivated in a Job You Hate
Quiz: how motivated are you?
Don't Quit
See also

Please note that Professor Huitt's material has been updated - please read it here

Huitt, W. (2011). Motivation to learn: An overview. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University.

Retrieved from http://www.edpsycinteractive.org/topics/motivation/motivate.html

Increase Motivation
by John Wesley. Aug 23rd, 2007

If you want to make things happen the ability to motivate yourself and others is a crucial skill. At work, home, and everywhere in between, people use motivation to get results. Motivation requires a delicate balance of communication, structure, and incentives. These 21 tactics will help you maximize motivation in yourself and others.

1. Consequences - Never use threats. They’ll turn people against you. But making people aware of the negative consequences of not getting results (for everyone involved) can have a big impact. This one is also big for self motivation. If you don’t get your act together, will you ever get what you want?

2. Pleasure - This is the old carrot on a stick technique. Providing pleasurable rewards creates eager and productive people.

3. Performance incentives - Appeal to people’s selfish nature. Give them the opportunity to earn more for themselves by earning more for you.

4. Detailed instructions - If you want a specific result, give specific instructions. People work better when they know exactly what’s expected.

5. Short and long term goals - Use both short and long term goals to guide the action process and create an overall philosophy.

6. Kindness - Get people on your side and they’ll want to help you. Piss them off and they’ll do everything they can to screw you over.

7. Deadlines - Many people are most productive right before a big deadline. They also have a hard time focusing until that deadline is looming overhead. Use this to your advantage by setting up a series of mini-deadlines building up to an end result.

8. Team Spirit - Create an environment of camaraderie. People work more effectively when they feel like part of team — they don’t want to let others down.

10. Recognize achievement - Make a point to recognize achievements one-on-one and also in group settings. People like to see that their work isn’t being ignored.

11. Personal stake - Think about the personal stake of others. What do they need? By understanding this you’ll be able to keep people happy and productive.

12. Concentrate on outcomes - No one likes to work with someone standing over their shoulder. Focus on outcomes — make it clear what you want and cut people loose to get it done on their own.

13. Trust and Respect - Give people the trust and respect they deserve and they’ll respond to requests much more favorably.

14. Create challenges - People are happy when they’re progressing towards a goal. Give them the opportunity to face new and difficult problems and they’ll be more enthusiastic.

15. Let people be creative - Don’t expect everyone to do things your way. Allowing people to be creative creates a more optimistic environment and can lead to awesome new ideas.

16. Constructive criticism - Often people don’t realize what they’re doing wrong. Let them know. Most people want to improve and will make an effort once they know how to do it.

17. Demand improvement - Don’t let people stagnate. Each time someone advances raise the bar a little higher (especially for yourself).

18. Make it fun - Work is most enjoyable when it doesn’t feel like work at all. Let people have fun and the positive environment will lead to better results.

19. Create opportunities - Give people the opportunity to advance. Let them know that hard work will pay off.

20. Communication - Keep the communication channels open. By being aware of potential problems you can fix them before a serious dispute arises.

21. Make it stimulating - Mix it up. Don’t ask people to do the same boring tasks all the time. A stimulating environment creates enthusiasm and the opportunity for “big picture” thinking.

Master these key points and you’ll increase motivation with a bit of hard work.


While some psychologists still argue that people perform better when they do something because they want to – rather than for some kind of reward, such as money -- Steven Reiss suggests we shouldn't even make that distinction.

Reiss, a professor of psychology at Ohio State University , argues that a diverse range of human motivations can't be forced into these categories of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. Psychologists say intrinsic motivations are those that arise from within – doing something because you want to – while extrinsic motivations mean people are seeking a reward, such as money, a good grade in class, or a trophy at a sporting event.

“They are taking many diverse human needs and motivations, putting them into just two categories, and then saying one type of motivation is better than another,” said Reiss, who outlines his argument in the current issue of the journal Behavior Analyst.

“But there is no real evidence that intrinsic motivation even exists.”

The issue is more than academic, Reiss said. Many sports psychology books, and books advising how to motivate students and business people, tout the value of intrinsic motivation and warn that extrinsic rewards can undermine people's performance.

“Individuals differ enormously in what makes them happy – for some competition, winning and wealth are the greatest sources of happiness, but for others, feeling competent or socializing may be more satisfying. The point is that you can't say some motivations, like money, are inherently inferior.”
The argument is that people should do something because they enjoy it, and that rewards only sabotage natural desire.

Reiss disagrees.

“There is no reason that money can't be an effective motivator, or that grades can't motivate students in school,” he said. “It's all a matter of individual differences. Different people are motivated in different ways.”

Reiss has developed and tested a theory of motivation that states there are 16 basic desires that guide nearly all meaningful behavior, including power, independence, curiosity, and acceptance. Whether you agree there are 16 desires or not, he said there is not any way to reduce all of these desires to just two types.

In addition to trying to fit all motivations into two types, Reiss said proponents of intrinsic motivation are also making value judgments by saying some types of motivation are better than others.

“For example, some people have said that wealth and materialism lead to inferior quality happiness, but there is no real proof of that,” he said.

“Individuals differ enormously in what makes them happy – for some competition, winning and wealth are the greatest sources of happiness, but for others, feeling competent or socializing may be more satisfying. The point is that you can't say some motivations, like money, are inherently inferior.”

In the article, Reiss points to some of the problems he sees with the theories and studies connected to intrinsic motivation. One problem is that people who tout the value of intrinsic motivation have several different definitions for what that means, and these definitions change depending on circumstances.

One common definition, for example, is that intrinsic motivation is that which is inherently pleasurable, while extrinsic motivation is not. For example, the argument is that children are naturally curious and enjoy learning for the joy it brings them. Grades, they argue, are an extrinsic reward that fosters competition and makes learning less pleasurable.

However, Reiss said his research has found people show a wide range of curiosity – some people are very curious and enjoy spending a great deal of time learning on their own. However, many people are not very curious and don't enjoy learning for its own sake.

“There are many children for whom the important reward to them is the grades they get, the competition among classmates,” Reiss said. “This goes against what some psychologists say, who think competition is bad and a non-competitive attitude is good, and that learning and curiosity are intrinsic values that everyone shares. They are pushing their own value system on to everybody.”

Another way of defining intrinsic motivation is the means-end definition, which says intrinsic motivation is doing what we want, whereas extrinsic motivation is doing something to get something else. For example, some might argue that children playing baseball are intrinsically motivated by the joy of playing, while a professional baseball player is extrinsically motivated, by money and championships.

But Reiss said this definition confuses means and ends. A child playing baseball may be satisfying his need for physical exercise, while the professional player is satisfying his parental instinct by providing a good income for his family.

For children and professionals, baseball is a means to two different ends.

Reiss also criticized many of the studies which proponents say prove the existence of intrinsic motivation, and how it can be undermined by extrinsic rewards.

For example, many studies have purportedly shown how people who enjoy doing a specific activity – such as children who enjoy drawing – do that activity less after they are offered rewards. But when the results show the subjects continue the activity even after the rewards are offered, the researchers have argued that this just shows the subjects expect to get a reward and no longer are intrinsically motivated.

“The results are always turned around to prove their hypothesis.”

Also, researchers have assumed that rewards simply make people less interested in the intrinsic joys of an activity. But Reiss said many of these studies haven't considered the possibility that the negative effect of rewards has nothing to do with intrinsic or extrinsic motivations. Instead, rewards may cause some people to pursue an activity less because of the negative feelings they cause, such as performance anxiety. Avoiding an activity because of performance anxiety related to a reward is not the same as avoiding it simply because the reward undermines intrinsic motivation.

“Too many studies that supposedly prove intrinsic motivation have serious flaws in logic, or too many important uncontrolled variables,” he said. “There needs to be more scientific rigor.”

Here’s a tip: Don’t tax away our motivation
Bill Oldfield, The Journal, Aug 8 2008

What motivates you? Is it money, power and recognition? Or maybe security, happiness and a peaceful existence? Amongst other things, making a success of our restaurants motivates me. It’s not just about money but, without it, we’d go bust. So, as a business, we are motivated by profit, but I assure you – there are easier ways to make money. You’ve really got to want to do what we do, so there has to be some motivation other than filthy lucre.

And what motivates our staff? Well, according to the various theories of motivation taught at business schools, after the satisfying of basic needs such as a roof over the head and food on the table, recognition of a job well done comes fairly high on the list. And when you’re serving customers in a restaurant, seeing their appreciation of you and your colleagues’ efforts is pretty motivational. And in the UK, the most common way of showing your appreciation is via tips.

Unfortunately, however, many operators in our industry use these tips to lift their employees’ hourly pay up to the minimum wage, thus denying them the benefit of their customers’ appreciation; something we don’t do at Oldfields but is allowed for under existing laws.

So, despite being wary of increasing regulation, it was with some interest that I saw that the Government is considering bringing in legislation to stop employers within the hospitality industry using tips for such a purpose. But that then encourages the question: what motivates governments? Money? Power? An easy life? Yes, all three. Caring for the less well off? Well maybe occasionally. But I have a cynical suspicion that the real reason they’re so interested in clamping down on tips being used to make up the minimum wage is that they’ve a chance of receiving more dosh from National Insurance -– from both the employer and the employee – on the resulting higher levels of basic pay. Call me suspicious, but I believe if there’s a way to gain more revenue (and notice I didn’t use the phrase “earn more revenue”) that provides more cash for more staff to carry out more regulation, they’ll be looking for it.

I’m surprised they haven’t yet started chasing directors of small companies who pay themselves a salary of only up to the personal tax allowance threshold. That’s a figure way below the minimum wage of course, and those directors then are forced to make a proper living out of dividends from any profits they may produce. Now there’s motivation for you; if they don’t make a profit they don’t get paid.

But I can see the day that Big Brother will introduce more regulation to force directors to pay themselves at least the minimum wage so they can get their hands on more National Insurance for more jobs for the boys and girls. Which is rather dispiriting.

It’s an interesting comparison. In the more challenging economic times, companies have to think of ways of trimming their costs to fit their potential income and be even more creative in the ways they keep the money flowing and their customers interested.

Governments, on the other hand, don’t seem to understand the former, only arguing that more money is needed and that has to be raised from those struggling to create and earn it.

So the harder the conditions and the harder you work, the more you pay to be governed. And I fear that’s what’ll happen to those employed in our industry that are currently having their tips used to top up their wage to the Government’s minimum. Whatever you think of the practice, I can’t see it motivating people employed like that, nor the employers currently using such tactics. And when times are tight, we need motivated people more than ever

Why Are Americans So Generous?
Mal Warwick. August 7, 2008

All too often, we fundraisers focus on techniques and procedures. Sometimes, we lose sight of the fact that all our success--indeed, our very existence--is grounded in the willingness of donors to give.

In fact, we have to look far afield to find answers to those questions that are fundamental to our profession: Why are there so many donors? Why are donors so generous? And why do Americans appear to be especially generous? In our search for understanding donor motivation, we’ll need to delve into the realms of religion, psychology, marketing, history, and culture. Let’s venture first of all into the realm of religion.

Every one of the world’s great religious traditions teaches us about the oneness of life on earth . . . the interconnectedness of things . . . the true path to fulfillment . . . the ways of virtue.

In every faith tradition, we learn that the key to our salvation lies not solely within ourselves, but in the character of our relationships with the world around us.

In Buddhism, generosity is one of the “seven treasures” toward which man must aspire.

Generosity is one of the basic tenets of the Hindu faith, a virtue that helps define the path of dharma, the way of loving service.

Christianity teaches us the virtue of charity. Christians believe that your gift will return to you in full and overflowing measure.

Jews are raised to perform “mitzvahs” or good deeds . . . to practice “tzedakah,” charity . . . to do all in their power to heal the ills of the earth.

The Qur’an instructs man to be generous. In Islam, generosity is to love helping others, sharing with those who are in need—a sign of human perfection.

And so it is that each of the great religions, each in its own unique way, encourages philanthropy, the love of humankind.

Still, there are those among us who would explain human motivation in much baser terms. To descend from the sublime to the profane, we might take a quick look at the motives of humankind as viewed through the lens of an advertising copywriter.

Fear. Exclusivity. Guilt. Anger. Greed. In the advertiser’s creed, these base emotions are the keys to success. Hundreds of billions of dollars of goods and services have been sold by triggering one or another of these feelings.

The hucksters among us would thus have us believe that these are the true reasons we might also respond to appeals for funds. If you believe this, then surely you are just as naïve as anyone who would explain human behavior strictly in terms of religion and the spirit.

In truth, human motivation is profoundly complex. When I sat down some years ago to compile an extensive list of the factors that might explain why people respond to charitable appeals, I came up with 24 reasons (included in the second edition of my book, How to Write Successful Fundraising Letters).

1. Because you ask them to.
2. Because they have money available to give away.
3. Because they’re in the habit of giving away money.
4. Because they support organizations like yours.
5. Because their gifts will make a difference.
6. Because gifts will accomplish something right now.
7. Because you recognize them for their gifts.
8. Because you give them something tangible in return.
9. Because you enable them to “do something” about a critical problem—if only to protest or take a stand.
10. Because you give them a chance to associate with a famous or worthy person.
11. Because you allow them to get back at the corrupt or the unjust.
12. Because you give them the opportunity to “belong”—as a member, friend, or supporter—and thus you help them fight loneliness.
13. Because you enable them to offer their opinions.
14. Because you provide them with access to inside information.
15. Because you help them learn about a complex and interesting problem or issue.
16. Because you help them preserve their worldview, by validating cherished values and beliefs.
17. Because you allow them to gain personal connections with other individuals who are passionately involved in some meaningful dimension of life.
18. Because you give them the chance to release emotional tension caused by a life-threatening situation, a critical emergency, or an ethical dilemma.
19. Because they are afraid.
20. Because you allow them to relieve their guilt about an ethical, political, or personal transgression, whether real or imagined.
21. Because you give them tax benefits.
22. Because they feel it’s their duty.
23. Because they believe it’s a blessing to do so.
24. Because they want to “give something back.”

Long as it is, this list is far from complete, since any individual’s motivation for giving a particular gift may be influenced by countless factors. Yet a list this long begs the questions we started with.

Why are there so many donors? And why are donors so generous?

The work of the pioneering psychologist, Abraham Maslow, helps to cast light on these matters. Maslow wrote about the hierarchy of human needs, describing our emotional development through life as following an upward progression from the most basic to the most refined.

At the base of Maslow’s hierarchy lie our physiological needs—for food, sex, and shelter. Next up the ladder is our need for safety. Then comes belonging, which is only possible if our more basic needs have first been met. Esteem lies higher on the ladder. The final stage in our emotional development is the need for self-actualization, that state of fulfillment at which we truly encompass our interdependence with the world around us.

As you can see, charitable giving isn’t likely at any of the most basic levels of Maslow’s hierarchy, which are concerned with the needs of the self. Giving can be—and sometimes is—one way in which we display our craving for esteem. But true philanthropy, the love of humankind, becomes habitual only once we have achieved emotional maturity.

However, if that’s the case, the United States must be blessed with an extraordinarily high proportion of emotionally mature adults. Because, in any given year, more than three out of every four Americans contribute to charity.

We can start with the recognition that the USA is the wealthiest nation on earth. A huge proportion of our population has long since satisfied its survival needs. But there are other nations with far lower concentration of wealth and an even greater proportion of their citizens struggling at the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Clearly, this is not a satisfactory explanation.

Claire Gaudiani, in her insightful book, The Greater Good, explains that generosity is deeply embedded in our history and our culture:

“Most people think Americans are generous because we are rich. However, the truth is that we are rich, in significant part, because we are generous. Generosity is not a luxury in this country. It is a cultural norm.”

In fact, from the earliest days of European settlement in America, the tradition of philanthropy became well established. Benjamin Franklin, in many ways the greatest of our Founding Fathers, exemplified this spirit and helped inject the habit of giving into the American character.

Throughout our history, a whole series of cultural and historical factors have contributed to the growth of the nonprofit sector in the USA and of the philanthropic spirit that sustains it:

Our do-it-yourself, frontier mentality
Our emphasis on community self-reliance
Our deep distrust of government
The widespread acceptance of religion in America
Our consistent rejection of socialism and social democracy
Our tax structure, which favors givers and giving

Every one of these factors helps explain why so many Americans contribute generously to charity. Our do-it-yourself culture and an abiding belief in community self-reliance help account for the continuing growth of our nonprofit sector, now reportedly encompassing 1.6 million tax-exempt organizations and nearly a tenth of our economy. Our distrust of government, and our collective rejection of socialism and social democracy, lead Americans to accept much lower levels of social service from government agencies and a belief that the nonprofit sector can fill the gap. Our church-going nature reinforces our charitable impulses, as studies of givers and giving repeatedly confirm that those who are observant of religious traditions and rituals tend to be the most generous donors. And our tax structure favors individual giving and the creation of philanthropic foundations to an extent that may not be seen anywhere else in the world.

In the final analysis, anyone and everyone in the USA can be a donor—and probably is. But, even after our journey through the realms of religion, psychology, marketing, history, and culture, are we any closer to understanding why so many people are donors, and why they’re so generous?

Probably not.


It's the American way: A guide to getting the most out of being lazy
BY ROGER ANDERSON August 6, 2008

A lifestyle of quarter-pound curls, French-fried cuisine and 12-step cardio — walking to the condiment station and back — may not be the workout most personal trainers would advocate for a Monday-Wednesday-Friday-routine.

But, if that individual used to be consuming half-pound super-sized meals, six days a week, it’s still a personal step toward fitness.

I was thinking about including a statistic examining the nation’s laziness here, but I didn’t have the energy to locate one. The truth of it is: Even the laziest of people can burn calories while reading this article — no gym needed.

As an appetizer; try sitting on the couch but keeping your feet hovering slightly off the floor. Or, if you’re brazen, continue reading this while standing on one foot. As with any physical exertion, contact your primary-care physician before starting any type of routine.

“People come in all the time saying ‘I’m going to come in six days a week,’ ” Flex Fitness Center owner Rick Schue said about setting a workout pace.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa. Your membership is unlimited, but let’s try like three to start off. They come in and they kill themselves and a month later they’re so sore and beat up, and they’re looking in the mirror going, ‘I don’t look like I lost a lot.’ And I tell them the theory ‘you didn’t put the weight on yesterday; it’s not coming of tomorrow.’ It’s not a one-day movement here ... give it a fair chance.”

The change from lazy to ... less lazy is not one that takes much effort (are your feet still hovering?).

 Small steps in the right direction are what most fitness experts preach.

“The best thing is to get a book, magazine or video if they are going to workout at home,” Racine Athletic Club Fitness Director Michel Clark said.

“That is probably the safest (thing to do).”

While safety comes first, change comes second.

Motivating yourself to make the right decisions is the biggest facet of physical fitness.

Set goals; achieve goals; set new goals.

It’s not a new life; it’s a lifestyle change.

Talking with health professionals, it’s evident that one of their biggest hurdles is allowing people to realize that fitness is an evolution.

You’re not going to a car lot to pick out the new you; you’re trying to refurbish that ’66 Mustang so that it will run for decades to come.

The eat-dirt diet

No flour, high protein, no carbohydrates; “If I told you to eat dirt, would you do it?” for Schue, fad diets are about as necessary as a spoon when peeling a banana.

When dieting, food variety may be as important to staying healthy, as daily exercise.

It’s variety that makes weight-loss possible for the truly unmotivated.

Can you really count on eating proportioned servings of chicken and rice for 16 meals a week?

Schue doesn’t think so.

And that’s the reason when the winter holiday season rolls around, the latest-greatest stomach crunch Abtacular 5000 hits late-night television. Or better (read worse) yet; a weight-loss pill that “guarantees” results.

Everyone comes in looking for that magic pill, Schue said.

He explained that fat burners basically affect your nervous system; kicking in your basic flight-or-fight reactions. Your body goes into overdrive and you burn calories. If you’re taking a weight-loss pill and your body starts shaking, now you know why.

Fad diets typically fail because they are short-term fixes. Healthy weight loss isn’t about losing 10 pounds overnight; it’s about being 10 pounds lighter at the end of the month, and keeping the weight off permanently.

Simply making drastic diet changes is typically a short-lived and unhealthy solution.

“It’s like getting your first job as a high school kid. You go out and buy Dockers and dress pants; you’re going to work at a store selling clothes, right? And you’re all excited buying new clothes. Two months later ask that kid if he’s still excited with the job,” Schue said.

It’s the same with food and dieting. After the first trip to the grocery store to buy a new diet of food, most people get tired of eating it, either reverting back to old habits, or moving on to the next fad, he said.

For most Americans, it’s not about what to eat when trying to get healthy, it’s how much, Schue explained.

“We’re a meat and potatoes society; it’s the proportions we have to learn.”

How lazy can we be?

It’s not possible to lose weight healthily by sitting on your couch. But when it comes to “lazy” workouts there are plenty of options.

“Can you get a good workout without sweating? Probably not, but it’s genetics,” Schue said. The bigger you are the more energy you’re likely to exert, but different people produce sweat in different ways.

For him, sweating is definitely a good sign, but you don’t need to be dripping sweat to prove that you’ve been working out. You can tell when you’re body is exhausted from doing a specific activity, and that’s what really counts.

Your first workout could begin harmlessly enough by turning on the TV.

“They really are easy. Nowadays with cable; it is perfect,” RAC’s Clark said of video workouts.

If there is a TV, there is a possible workout in the works.

Although results may be limited and poor form may go unnoticed, Clark said there is no need to go outside if a person doesn’t want to.

No need to go to a gym; no need to purchase a home gym; no need to make a single purchase.

Going back to the basics can bring results.

Think sixth-grade phys-ed. The push-up, squat, leg lift or crunch can be done just about anywhere.

Another thing to do is buy the magazines, Clark said. “They can read through, and they all have exercises from home.”

“The same exercises that you do in the gym, you can do at home. Legitimately it’s true,” Schue said. “You can buy a set of rubber dumbells, a couple bands and a ball. It’s motivation; you have to want to do it. If working out isn’t their thing, they have to find their thing then.”

One step forward, two steps forward

Going from nothing to something is the first step to succeeding at being lazy while becoming healthier.

Whether that means walking around the house 15 times a day, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator; the motivation to improve has to start with each individual.

“Going out and going for a good walk at a nice brisk pace. A lot of people exercise that way and we see them a bit later,” Clark said of some people’s progression into fitness programs and gym memberships.

“If it’s going to be fitness, its got to be something you enjoy,” Schue said. “You got to want to do it … I’m not making you anything better than you want to be.”

Motivational concepts
Reward and reinforcement
A reward, tangible or intangible, is presented after the occurrence of an action (i.e. behavior) with the intent to cause the behavior to occur again. This is done by associating positive meaning to the behavior. Studies show that if the person receives the reward immediately, the effect would be greater, and decreases as duration lengthens. Repetitive action-reward combination can cause the action to become habit.

Rewards can also be organized as extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic rewards are external to the person; for example, praise or money. Intrinsic rewards are internal to the person; for example, satisfaction or a feeling of accomplishment.

Some authors distinguish between two forms of intrinsic motivation: one based on enjoyment, the other on obligation. In this context, obligation refers to motivation based on what an individual thinks ought to be done. For instance, a feeling of responsibility for a mission may lead to helping others beyond what is easily observable, rewarded, or fun.

A reinforcer is different from reward, in that reinforcement is intended to create a measured increase in the rate of a desirable behavior following the addition of something to the environment.

Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
Intrinsic motivation is when people engage in an activity, such as a hobby, without obvious external incentives.
Intrinsic motivation has been studied by educational psychologists since the 1970s, and numerous studies have found it to be associated with high educational achievement and enjoyment by students. There is currently no universal theory to explain the origin or elements of intrinsic motivation, and most explanations combine elements of Fritz Heider's attribution theory, Bandura's work on self-efficacy and other studies relating to locus of control and goal orientation. Though it is thought that students are more likely to be intrinsically motivated if they:

Attribute their educational results to internal factors that they can control (e.g. the amount of effort they put in),
Believe they can be effective agents in reaching desired goals (i.e. the results are not determined by luck),
Are interested in mastering a topic, rather than just rote-learning to achieve good grades.

Note that the idea of reward for achievement is absent from this model of intrinsic motivation, since rewards are an extrinsic factor.

In knowledge-sharing communities and organizations, people often cite altruistic reasons for their participation, including contributing to a common good, a moral obligation to the group, mentorship or 'giving back'. In work environments, money may provide a more powerful extrinsic factor than the intrinsic motivation provided by an enjoyable workplace.

The most obvious form of motivation is coercion, where the avoidance of pain or other negative consequences has an immediate effect. Extreme use of coercion is considered slavery. While coercion is considered morally reprehensible in many philosophies, it is widely practiced on prisoners, students in mandatory schooling, within the nuclear family unit (on children), and in the form of conscription. Critics of modern capitalism charge that without social safety networks, wage slavery is inevitable. However, many capitalists such as Ayn Rand have been very vocal against coercion. Successful coercion sometimes can take priority over other types of motivation.

Self-coercion is rarely substantially negative (typically only negative in the sense that it avoids a positive, such as forgoing an expensive dinner or a period of relaxation), however it is interesting in that it illustrates how lower levels of motivation may be sometimes tweaked to satisfy higher ones.

In terms of GCSE PE, intrinsic motivation is the motivation that comes from inside the performer. E.g. they compete for the love of the sport. Extrinsic motivation comes from outside of the performer. E.g. The crowd cheer the performer on, this motivates them to do well, or to beat a PB (Personal Best). Another example is trophies or a reward. It makes the performer want to win and beat the other competitors, thereby motivating the performer.

The self-control of motivation is increasingly understood as a subset of emotional intelligence; a person may be highly intelligent according to a more conservative definition (as measured by many intelligence tests), yet unmotivated to dedicate this intelligence to certain tasks. Yale School of Management professor Victor Vroom's "expectancy theory" provides an account of when people will decide whether to exert self control to pursue a particular goal.

Drives and desires can be described as a deficiency or need that activates behaviour that is aimed at a goal or an incentive. These are thought to originate within the individual and may not require external stimuli to encourage the behaviour. Basic drives could be sparked by deficiencies such as hunger, which motivates a person to seek food; whereas more subtle drives might be the desire for praise and approval, which motivates a person to behave in a manner pleasing to others.

By contrast, the role of extrinsic rewards and stimuli can be seen in the example of training animals by giving them treats when they perform a trick correctly. The treat motivates the animals to perform the trick consistently, even later when the treat is removed from the process.

Motivational Theories
Drive Reduction Theories
There are a number of drive theories. The Drive Reduction Theory grows out of the concept that we have certain biological needs, such as hunger. As time passes the strength of the drive increases as it is not satisfied. Then as we satisfy that drive by fulfilling its desire, such as eating, the drive's strength is reduced. It is based on the theories of Freud and the idea of feedback control systems, such as a thermostat.

There are several problems, however, that leave the validity of the Drive Reduction Theory open for debate. The first problem is that it does not explain how Secondary Reinforcers reduce drive. For example, money does not satisfy any biological or psychological need but reduces drive on a regular basis through a pay check second-order conditioning. Secondly, if the drive reduction theory held true we would not be able to explain how a hungry human being can prepare a meal without eating the food before they finished cooking it.

However, when comparing this to a real life situation such as preparing food, one does get hungrier as the food is being made (drive increases), and after the food has been consumed the drive decreases. The only reason the food does not get eaten before is the human element of restraint and has nothing to do with drive theory. Also, the food will either be nicer after it is cooked, or it won't be edible at all before it is cooked.

Cognitive dissonance theory
Suggested by Leon Festinger, this occurs when an individual experiences some degree of discomfort resulting from an incompatibility between two cognitions. For example, a consumer may seek to reassure himself regarding a purchase, feeling, in retrospect, that another decision may have been preferable.

Another example of cognitive dissonance is when a belief and a behavior are in conflict. A person may believe smoking is bad for one's health and yet continues to smoke.

Affective-Arousal Theories
David McClelland’s achievement motivation theory envisions that a person has a need for three things, but differs in degrees to which the various needs influence their behavior:
Need for achievement, Need for power, and Need for affiliation.

Interests Theory
Holland Codes are used in the assessment of interests as in Vocational Preference Inventory (VPI; Holland, 1985). One way to look at interests is that if a person has a strong interest in one of the 6 Holland areas, then obtaining outcomes in that area will be strongly reinforcing relative to obtaining outcomes in areas of weak interest.

Holland Codes are personality types created by psychologist John L. Holland as part of his theory of career choice. Holland's (1985) Vocational Preference Inventory (VPI) is the name of the test he created to measure an individual's type and match it with a list of career choices that would theoretically be good for that individual.

Holland mapped these types into a hexagon which he then broke down into the RIASEC job environments :

Realistic - practical, physical, hands-on, tool-oriented
Investigative - analytical, intellectual, scientific, explorative
Artistic - creative, original, independent, chaotic
Social - cooperative, supporting, helping, healing/nurturing
Enterprising - competitive environments, leadership, persuading
Conventional - detail-oriented, organizing, clerical

Holland argues that 2-3 types dominate in each person.

Need Theories
Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of human needs theory is the most widely discussed theory of motivation.

The theory can be summarized as thus:

Human beings have wants and desires which influence their behavior; only unsatisfied needs can influence behavior, satisfied needs cannot.
Since needs are many, they are arranged in order of importance, from the basic to the complex.
The person advances to the next level of needs only after the lower level need is at least minimally satisfied.
The further the progress up the hierarchy, the more individuality, humanness and psychological health a person will show.

The needs, listed from basic (lowest, earliest) to most complex (highest, latest) are as follows:
• Physiological
• Safety and security
• Social
• Esteem
• Self actualization

Herzberg’s two-factor theory
Frederick Herzberg's two-factor theory, aka intrinsic/extrinsic motivation, concludes that certain factors in the workplace result in job satisfaction, but if absent, lead to dissatisfaction.

He distinguished between:

Motivators; (e.g. challenging work, recognition, responsibility) which give positive satisfaction, and

Hygiene factors; (e.g. status, job security, salary and fringe benefits) that do not motivate if present, but, if absent, result in demotivation.

The name Hygiene factors is used because, like hygiene, the presence will not make you healthier, but absence can cause health deterioration.

The theory is sometimes called the "Motivator-Hygiene Theory."

Alderfer’s ERG theory
Clayton Alderfer, expanding on Maslow's hierarchy of needs, created the ERG theory (existence, relatedness and growth). Physiological and safety, the lower order needs, are placed in the existence category, while love and self esteem needs are placed in the relatedness category. The growth category contains our self-actualization and self-esteem needs.

Self-determination theory
Self-determination theory, developed by Edward Deci and Richard Ryan, focuses on the importance of intrinsic motivation in driving human behavior. Like Maslow's hierarchical theory and others that built on it, SDT posits a natural tendency toward growth and development. Unlike these other theories, however, SDT does not include any sort of "autopilot" for achievement, but instead requires active encouragement from the environment. The primary factors that encourage motivation and development are autonomy, competence feedback, and relatedness.

Broad Theories
The latest approach in Achievement Motivation is an integrative perspective as lined out in the "Onion-Ring-Model of Achievement Motivation" by Heinz Schuler, George C. Thornton III, Andreas Frintrup and Rose Mueller-Hanson. It is based on the premise that performance motivation results from way broad components of personality are directed towards performance.
As a result it includes a range of dimensions that are relevant to success at work but which are not conventionally regarded as being part of performance motivation. Especially it integrates formerly separated approaches as Need for Achievement with e.g. social motives like Dominance. The Achievement Motivation Inventory AMI (Schuler, Thornton, Frintrup & Mueller-Hanson, 2003) is based on this theory and assesses three factors (17 separated scales) relevant to vocational and professional success.

Cognitive theories
Goal-setting theory is based on the notion that individuals sometimes have a drive to reach a clearly defined end state. Often, this end state is a reward in itself. A goal's efficiency is affected by three features; proximity, difficulty and specificity. An ideal goal should present a situation where the time between the initiation of behavior and the end state is close. This explains why some children are more motivated to learn how to ride a bike than mastering algebra. A goal should be moderate, not too hard or too easy to complete.
In both cases, most people are not optimally motivated, as many want a challenge (which assumes some kind of insecurity of success). At the same time people want to feel that there is a substantial probability that they will succeed. Specificity concerns the description of the goal in their class. The goal should be objectively defined and intelligible for the individual.

A classic example of a poorly specified goal is to get the highest possible grade. Most children have no idea how much effort they need to reach that goal. For further reading, see Locke and Latham (2002).

Unconscious motivation
Some psychologists believe that a significant portion of human behavior is energized and directed by unconscious motives. According to Maslow: "Psychoanalysis has often demonstrated that the relationship between a conscious desire and the ultimate unconscious aim that underlies it need not be at all direct ."
In other words, stated motives do not always match those inferred by skilled observers. For example, it is possible that a person can be accident-prone because he has an unconscious desire to hurt himself and not because he is careless or ignorant of the safety rules.

Similarly, some overweight people are not really hungry for food but for attention and love. Eating is merely a defensive reaction to lack of attention. Some workers damage more equipment than others because they harbor unconscious feelings of aggression toward authority figures.

Psychotherapists point out that some behavior is so automatic that the reasons for it are not available in the individual's conscious mind. Compulsive cigarette smoking is an example. Sometimes maintaining self-esteem is so important and the motive for an activity is so threatening that it is simply not recognized and, in fact, may be disguised or repressed. Rationalization, or "explaining away", is one such disguise, or defense mechanism, as it is called.

Another is projecting or attributing one's own faults to others. "I feel I am to blame", becomes "It is her fault; she is selfish". Repression of powerful but socially unacceptable motives may result in outward behavior that is the opposite of the repressed tendencies. An example of this would be the employee who hates his boss but overworks himself on the job to show that he holds him in high regard.

Unconscious motives add to the hazards of interpreting human behavior and, to the extent that they are present, complicate the life of the administrator. On the other hand, knowledge that unconscious motives exist can lead to a more careful assessment of behavioral problems. Although few contemporary psychologists deny the existence of unconscious factors, many do believe that these are activated only in times of anxiety and stress, and that in the ordinary course of events, human behavior — from the subject's point of view — is rationally purposeful.

How to Stay Motivated in a Job You Hate
ihateyourjob.com July 16th, 2007
The Problem
Do you have hard time staying motivated to do something you can’t stand? If you are human, the answer is obviously yes. While it’d be nice to find a new job, it’s not always possible to just walk away, not in the short-term anyway.

We all struggle with being motivated to do unpleasant tasks, and while some are better at it than others, it’s not easy for anyone. This is part one of a two-part post designed to give you a fighting chance to keep going at work and beyond.

While this topic is far too big to treat with one post blog lifetime, it is possibly the most important thing I’ll ever write about on this site. Why is that? Having a job you hate doesn’t just make it hard to keep working well. Motivation can become an issue in all aspects of life, and you can wind up stuck in a bad job and on an unhealthy path if you are not careful.

Where’d the Motivation Go?
For starters, let’s take a look at why it is that you have lost your motivation. Your boss, your pay, the corporate culture, the product/service quality, or your co-workers are usual suspects. Maybe it’s just not what you expected or hoped for when you signed up. There are any number of external factors that could do their part.

Motivation is also a result of internal factors, though. Even if you had a great job, super-high stress levels would make it hard to be a self-starter. So a new baby, money problems, a divorce, declining health, the death of a loved one… none of these make it any easier to do your work well.

Assuming you don’t have a great job, it probably doesn’t take a major life-event to get you stressed-out. Your job itself is probably the only source of stress you need to find yourself in a compounding cycle of job-hate and burn-out.

If you have a job you hate, you are going to have a real struggle to be motivated. Your boss is a jerk, you don’t get paid enough, you don’t believe in the company anymore, and you feel so overwhelmed and burned out, you’re running out of energy even for activities you want to do during the week.

It’s not going to be easy, but it is worth the effort. It’s REALLY worth the effort. A lack of motivation combined with hating your job can result in termination, low self-esteem, burning bridges you’d rather have kept intact, and limiting your options for improving the situation in the future.

The Solution
What’s the best way to stay productive even when facing a job you hate?

As we discussed yesterday, maintaining an decent attitude and an acceptable level of performance despite a miserable job is as difficult as it is important–very. You’ll need your own answer to the above question if you are going to prevail because it certainly won’t happen by itself. Got an answer?

Well, if that answer involves the song “Eye of the Tiger,” that’s awesome. Awesome, but wrong.

The real way to improve your motivation has almost nothing to do with psyching yourself up and everything to do with taking action. Read on if you want to defeat Apollo Creed get some good pointers.

Stress Level
In my opinion, this is the simplest, most potent step you can take to keep pressing forward despite your job. Control your stress level. It will take some effort, but this is a no-brainer for anyone willing to put in a little effort to improve the situation (that’s you, by the way). As I’ve written before, a high stress level can turn even a great job into drudgery. Your job is hard enough as it is because of other factors–a high stress level will take that bad situation and make it nearly intolerable.

How do you lower your stress level? Well, there are any number of techniques for reducing stress. I’ll just offer you these because I think they are some of the easiest and most effective ways to do it.

Exercise. This is cliche for a reason. It really really really works. Please try to exercise at least a few times a week for a half-hour at a time. Physiologically, you are wired to need activity to avoid being flat and stressed. Don’t fight that–you won’t win.

Keep your priorities straight. Your job angst is not worth sacrificing that which you value most. Spend some time with a friend each day outside of work. If you are married, be intimate with your spouse. If you are religious, be faithful to what you ought to be doing in that part of your life. Oh yeah, and while TV is a great comfort, getting enough sleep and focusing on higher-value activities will be more restful and satisfying.

Not only are these activities good stress reducers in and of themselves, but you’ll feel better about yourself for maintaining what you truly value as important and your job troubles will seem to shrink somewhat, even if only a little bit.

Slow and Steady. It’ll take a little self-discipline, but putting in a constant, steady effort at your job is much better for your stress level and motivation than the procrastination and haste routine we tend to employ when we don’t want to do something. Working frantically may lessen the short-term pain (think ripping off a band-aid), but it is adrenaline that dulls that pain. Unless you are fighting or running, that adrenaline is going to convert directly to a feeling of stress and burn-out when the high fades out.

Eyes on the Prize
We work better when we know we’re headed somewhere. It is really important that you begin putting part of your day into discovering how to get a better job and leave this one behind once and for all. Commit to an hour a day of reading, searching, thinking, discussing, and taking action towards making a move. You’ll see a light at the end of the tunnel, and you’ll be excited about the potential new opportunities you come across. Improving your career outlook makes it much easier to press through the job you hate. You can do anything for a short amount of time, right?

Exploring your options is also a good boost for your self-esteem. It will help you to remember that you are a valuable candidate, even if your company has forgotten that fact. Just be careful about looking for a job while you are at your job. I don’t need to explain why. That’s your call as to whether or not you can pull that one off.

Hold Yourself Accountable
Alright, so maybe a little psyching yourself up is okay. Put a reminder somewhere as to all of the reasons why you want to stay motivated (avoiding termination, maintaining relationships, personal conviction, keeping options open, etc.). Use those reminders to get you to adhere to the advice on this page. Pep talks are good for short-term action but not for long-term change. If you use the reminders to get you to take other actions to help your motivation, you’ll be setting yourself up for a more sustained boost in performance.

Oh yeah, block all of the websites you waste time on during the day if you need to (except for this one, of course). You need to take breaks and you need to stay sane, but make sure you keep that slow and steady pace. If something’s causing you to procrastinate too much, get rid of it!

Recruit an Accountability Team
Get a group of people on your team about your motivation goal. Your friends and family want you to stay motivated and they want to help you find a better job. Take them up on that generosity. Recruit people to ask you about what you’ve done with your time that day. Show them this page and talk about it with them. When they ask you questions, be really honest about it. If you truly value staying motivated, this is a good way to stay true to that goal. Probably don’t include your boss on that email list, though.

Visualize a Job Well Done
You can do this. By staying productive until the bitter end, you’ll feel better about yourself, and you’ll have done right by your employer. You will leave the office with your respect intact and with your bridges unburned. You’ll leave on your terms, and you’ll be confident in your value as an employee as you begin your next job.

There are tons and tons of other good ideas as to how to stay motivated out there on the web, but I don’t want you to be overwhelmed with having a ton to keep track of. If you just focus on this short list and put it into practice, you should see some huge changes in your ability to get your work done.

Quiz: how motivated are you?
December 31, 2005
Phillip Hodson asks the questions that determine your drive to succeed

1 According to Linda Evangelista, supermodels do not get out of bed for less than £10,000. What’s the minimum daily wage you’d accept to work as a hospital cleaner? (Tick one)

a) £0 to £50 a day
b) £51 to £1,000 a day
c) £10,001 to £100,000 a day

2 A famous experiment once showed that men are more likely than women to respond to sexual overtures from willing strangers. With which of the following statements would you most agree? (Tick one)

a) It would be difficult for a stranger to bribe me with sex
b) I would secretly like to be propositioned by an attractive stranger but it just never happens (sigh!)
c) I have been seduced by a willing stranger

3 An organisation to which you belong issues a new mission statement starting: “Many hands make light work.” Do you: (Tick one)

a) Plot sabotage?
b) Give them a “B” for effort?
c) Offer to rewrite the cliché?

4 Your new year’s resolution is to keep a diary but the entries turn blank by January 9. With which of the following explanations would you most agree? (Tick one)

a) Perhaps my underlying fear is that I really don’t have enough to say
b) Writing diaries is for failed politicians and sacked tabloid editors
c) I guess I don’t have enough time in my busy schedule to keep a daily diary

5 You’ve hastily typed an e-mail and then hit “Send” only to have an “Oh, sh*t!” moment when you realise that you’ve made some serious errors. Do you: (Tick one)

a) Secretly rejoice in the chaos you have just brought down on your head or that of your boss or family?
b) Realise for the umpteenth time that it is a good idea to double-check all your work?
c) Reason that not a lot of damage will be done in the circumstances?

6 You believed you were going to be made president of your professional organisation after the incumbent had served a reasonable term but he/she appears to have reneged on the deal. Would you want to: (Tick one)

a) Rage in your tent like Achilles so that colleagues will know how upset and wounded you feel?
b) Consider retraining as a psychotherapist as a means of self-healing?
c) Hire a hitman?

7 When Roy Tapping lost his arm in a hay bailer, he applied a tourniquet, tucked the fallen limb under his other arm, walked two miles home, put the arm in a freezer, called the ambulance and made himself a cup of tea. Do you: (Tick one)

a) Assume the story is too good to be true?
b) Feel that Roy Tapping doesn’t sound quite human?
c) Hope the story isn’t false?

8 Do you suffer from insomnia? (Tick one)

a) I invariably sleep like a lamb
b) The only thing that keeps me awake at nights is indigestion
c) Sometimes I stay up for hours wrestling with my problems

9 How do you take criticism? (Tick one)

a) I always think you can learn something from others
b) Undermining people can never be motivating
c) Negative criticism tends to bring out my competitive streak

10 If you wanted your child to enter the Sunday Times Rich List one day, which style of parenting would it be best to adopt? (Tick one)

a) Loving
b) Indifferent
c) Cruel

Q1: a=7; b=0; c=7
Q2: a=7; b=0; c=7
Q3: a=7; b=2; c=7
Q4: a=0; b-1; c=4
Q5: a=1; b=0; c=6
Q6: a=1; b=2; c=6
Q7: a=0; b=0; c=7 (NB: the story is true)
Q8: a=0; b=0; c=5
Q9: a=3; b=2; c=5
Q10: a=2; b=4; c=6

Scores out of a possible 60

41 to 60 Highly motivated — you are as driven as a London bendy-bus. You could even be a criminal. (NB: motivation tests do not discriminate between morally noble/less noble motives, for example, questions 1, 2, 6, 10.)

21 to 40 Average motivation — you are as driven as a middle-of-the-road Lexus.

0 to 20 I am surprised you have managed to read this far — you are as driven as a sit-up-and-beg bicycle. But at least you are unlikely to be a criminal.

Don't Quit

When things go wrong as they sometimes will
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill.
When funds are low and the debts are high.
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit.
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns.
As everyone of us sometimes learns.
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out:

Don't give up though the pace seems slow -
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out -
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
And you never can tell how close you are.
It may be near when it seems so far:
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit
It's when things seem worst that you must not QUIT.

See also
On the Fable of the Bees
Towards Wisdom
Genius or Psychotic
Battling welfare benefits
Paying compliments

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