Motivation. What a complicated, and elusive concept. According to psychologytoday.com motivation is “literally the desire to do things. It’s the difference between waking up before dawn to pound the pavement and lazing around the house all day. It’s the crucial element in setting and attaining goals- and research shows you can influence your own levels of motivation and self-control.”
How to be motivated
In this article we will explore personal motivation and how to motivate others. Before you read any further I want you to remember that greatness is not handed to anyone, there is work to do, but you have the ability to achieve success.
Personal motivation arises from your internal desires for satisfaction and fulfillment of specific needs. Symbiontperformance.com states that “the degree and strength of an individual’s personal motivation is the single most important factor in determining the extent to which they will commit to do what needs to be done to achieve a desired result.”
Let’s explore what Abraham Maslow has said about motivation and man-kinds hierarchy of needs:
- Physiological Needs- These needs are the most primitive needs of man, and consist of our physical requirement for food, drink, oxygen, shelter, and sex. These needs must be met in order to continue living. Only rarely will other needs dominate an individuals focus and actions when these needs have not been satisfied.
- Safety and Security Needs- In today’s world safety and security needs tend to fall in to the categories of justice, and fair play. In other words job security, fair treatment, and equal opportunities for success.
- Social Needs- Once our physical, safety, and security needs have been met, humans want love and to feel a sense of belonging. We crave social acceptance, friendships, and as stated before; love. Social needs are harder to satisfy and can make an individual want more material possessions, or a larger home, and a flashier car.
- Self-Esteem Needs- When the above needs are met, an individual will turn their attention to their self-esteem. People naturally want to have respect from others and to feel that they have a high value or worth. We want to know that we are making a reasonably significant contribution to society. We like to know that if we were no longer here that our absence would be felt by others. Now for self-esteem needs to be satisfied and recognition or praise received needs to be sincere. We have all felt the difference between a genuine compliment, and a compliment that felt fake, or false.
- Self Actualization Needs- These are the needs that we focus on when we have a home to live in, food to eat, a car to drive, equality, fairness, a loving family to share life with, a secure job, acceptance, friendships, and a feeling of self-worth. Self actualization occurs when you increase your skills, and continue to learn, in order to be all that you can be. This is not for couch potatoes, it is about constantly striving to be your best, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Think of body builders, and marathon runners, or those that seek counselling, or conduct it for others, and lastly I think of Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Sundays.
Put This in Your “Motivation” Tool Belt
Craig Childs has written an article named 8 Steps To Continuous Self-Motivation for lifehack.org. In it he makes reference to the 8 Steps from Ian Mackenzie, and adds to them. They are:
- Start Simple- Find something that sparks your initial get-up-and-go and keep that near you.
- Keep Good Company- Find those that have a positive attitude and cultivate a relationship with them. No negative Nelly’s. Don’t allow energy drainers to empty your energy bucket. By the way, if you are positive, you will automatically attract those that are positive too.
- Keep Learning- Read, read, read. Watch documentaries. Take a course on Lynda.com. If you’re not learning, you’re dying. I believe this so much.
- Stop Thinking- Know when to shut off your mind and allow it to rest. A break from a challenging project can be all you need to come up with the solution.
- Know Yourself- Journal the times when your motivation is low, and when it is high. Look for the pattern within the changes. You may learn how to motivate yourself out of a slump quicker.
- Track your Progress- keep track of each project you are working on to help you stay motivated to complete it. I love to check items off my to-do list. Is that strange?
- Help Others- By sharing your ideas you can motivate others to try something new. Whether that be a new and different work-out, or a creative idea to use in a work project it’s a great feeling to share with others. It feels great to see others succeed and know that you helped them accomplish a goal. It’s great when the student becomes the teacher too.
- Vision Board- I use one for my yearly goals. Every year on January 1, my wife and I have a meeting where we go over what we accomplished in the past year and decide what we want to accomplish for the present year. We always have a goal list, and early in our marriage we used goal posters, with magazine pictures to help guide us. We are very goal orientated and tend to reach 85-100% of our goals each year.
If you have any suggestions for how you maintain your personal motivation, please share them in the comment section.
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In Dan Pink’s book, Drive, and his Ted Talk, RSA ANIMATE:Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Dan states that there are different ways to motivate people and it depends on what type of a task they are performing.
Here is an article from Wealthy Affiliate about “What are your money goals?”
If you think that offering a higher reward (money) to get a higher performance you better make sure that the task is one that involves only mechanical skills. But if you want to increase performance for tasks that require anything above rudimentary cognitive skills and use the reward of money, you will actually receive lower productivity. So if a task requires problem solving, and creativity, and you want to increase performance you need to:
- Pay your employees enough that the thought of money is taken off the table. In other words, they aren’t busy thinking about money, they are busy thinking about work.
- Provide your employees with autonomy. Don’t micromanage them, let them know they are trusted to have good judgement, and to work on their own to solve problems. An example of autonomy occurs once a quarter in the company, Atlassian, on a Thursday the developers are given the next 24 hours to work on what they want, with whomever they want, as long as they report their results during a fun meeting full of beer, and cake. Did I mention they are an Australian software company? Anyway, they have found that when you let go of the reins, people will think in ways they hadn’t done before and come up with solutions that were never explored before. Pretty cool idea, and I bet the developers love the chance to soar. Google does something called 20% time which is where the engineers must spend that amount of their time doing something that is not a part of their regular job. This time is where they have found half of their innovations come from. When taken to the extreme a work place will run under something called ROWE. Which is Results Only Work Environment, where the employees have no schedule, meetings are optional, they go in when they want, the where, when, and how of getting the work done is up to the employee. This has been found to increase worker productivity, increase worker satisfaction, and engagement, and turnover goes down.
- Provide your employees with mastery. Encourage them to continue learning, to increase their knowledge, and skills. People do not like to feel like they are being held back, or that the boss fears their growth. Many different organizations have people that are technically sophisticated, and highly skilled that volunteer to create products that are then given away to the world market at no cost. These people have created incredible things, and have spent hours of their discretionary time to do so because of the feeling they get from contributing to a greater good. For example: Linux, Apache, and Wikipedia.
- Provide your employees with a purpose. If your business has a purpose you will be the place that people want to work for, and with, and you will attract the best talent. Your profit motive needs to stay moored with your purpose motive, or bad stuff like crappy products, and lousy service, can happen. Examples of companies that have a purpose are Skype, and Apple as it was under the leadership of Steve Jobs. Businesses and companies should not only make money but should work to make the world a little bit better too. The urge to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.
If you do the above things you will get better performance and your employees will have increased personal satisfaction. With that the sky is the limit. Dan Pink says that the above list of pay, autonomy, mastery, and purpose are more often ignored than they are utilized. The above list is based on scientific
Let me know if you have experiences with the above, or if you are a business owner, will you consider implementing this business model?