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March with motivation

What prompts us to do things? Why do we behave as we do? What influences people? Well, it is all about motivation, says Jitender Nagpal.

education Updated: Jul 14, 2009 17:25 IST
Jitender Nagpal

Motivation is a mystery. Why are some people highly motivated and some not so much? Why does one salesperson see his first client at seven in the morning while the other starts his day at 11? Call it the “mysteries of the human mind”.

Motivation refers to the driving and pulling forces that result in persistent behaviour directed towards particular goals. Motives are powerful tools for the explanation of behaviour, and they allow us to make predictions about future behaviour. They are also the secret of one's success.

Theories that try to explain motivation:
Drive theory: Says that behaviour is pushed towards goals by internal states within a person or an animal

Incentive theory: Stresses the ability of the goal to pull behaviour towards it

Opponent-process theory: Says we are motivated to seek the goals that give us good emotional feelings and avoid those goals that result in displeasure

Optimal-level theory: Says that behaviour is directed towards seeking an optimal level of arousal or a balanced, homeostatic state in internal physiological processes

Jargon apart, what is motivation in daily life? One thing is for sure — you cannot buy it; it has to come from within. A person's brain needs constant motivational input, just as muscles need exercise, engines need petrol and plants need water. People are the product of their thoughts, and the aim of motivational books or speeches is to improve the quality of your thoughts.

Motivation is encouragement and we all perform the better for it. The road to achievement starts with a goal. Implant that goal in your mind and think about it all day long. Make the sacrifices that must be made. Take small and steady steps towards your goal every day, instead of occasional bursts of activity.

What are the main sources of motivation?
Some factors are culture, social environment and biological influences (e.g. hunger, thirst). Other influences are our thoughts and our perceptions.

Understanding motivation gives us the power to accept our behaviour when we have strange reactions. It can also enable us to change how we think and act, how we behave if we want to improve our performance. So when going for a job it is critical to understand your motivations.

Why should you feel motivated?
There are three main reasons to feel motivated, which are as follows:
Desire for achievement (i.e. a sense of significance)
Desire for power
Desire for affiliation or a sense of belonging
These are linked to the concept of extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. Extrinsic motivation comes from outside, for example, the prospect of fame, recognition, monetary rewards, power, respect, name or social approval. With intrinsic rewards, the task or situation is in itself motivating or compelling.

Fact file
Key elements to enhance the process of motivation
Desire: First, to be motivated, you must have an intense burning desire to get where or what you want
Decision: You must make a conscious decision on what to aim for
Determination: You must be ready to overcome all hurdles
Discipline: Be prepared to pay the price whether you like it or not
Focus: Never lose sight of what you ultimately and truly want
Direction: The goal and focus are not enough, moving in the correct direction is equally important

How Ambitious Am I?

Given below are the questions that will help you to assess how ambitious you are, by Dr. Kapil Kakar

All the sayings and the proverbs are just theories.
[a] Maybe
[b] True
[c] False

One should think practically and within a limit and should not get carried away.
a) False
b) Maybe
c) True

One should wait for things to happen and not get excited about them.
a) False
b) Maybe
c) True

Clearing Entrance Exams is a matter of luck.
a) Sometimes
b) Always
c) Never

I am desperate to expand my comfort zone.
a) Sometimes
b) Never
c) Always

I believe in involving self with tasks not related to me.
a) Always
b) Sometimes
c) Never

Taking high amount of pressure and doing extra bit is not good.
a) Maybe
b) True
c) False

One should wait for the opportunity to come rather run after things.
a) False
b) Maybe
c) True

I am obsessed with what I want to do in life.
a) Always
b) Sometimes
c) Never

I want to have a) good comfortable family life b) immensely successful professional life c) Both.
a) Both
b) a
c) b

I should think only about the course I need to pursue and not really think about the college to do the course from.
a) Maybe
b) True
c) False

I see myself achieving big in life.
a) Always
b) Sometimes
c) Never

Give yourself: a-10, b-5, c-0 for Question no’s 2,3,6,8,9,12
Give yourself: a-5, b-0, c-10 for Question no’s 1, 4,5,7,10,11
0-40
At this young age you need to now start thinking about what you want to do with this beautiful life. Ambition is the first stepping-stone, which takes an individual towards a purposeful life. Aspire to become one of the few recognized and significant contributors, as I am sure you would want to stand out. Therefore start thinking big after all whether you think big or small the investment is the same.
45-85
You are at the threshold of life wherein you are still confused and ambiguous about how ambitious you need to be. You want to be highly ambitious but are not sure whether you should think and act like wise. Of course, don’t worry and continue thinking big and even bigger as this world belongs to those who are ambitious. Please remember if your ambition is not big enough to activate shiver down the spines and make you look in disbelief than it is not worth pursuing. So eliminate confusion from life and continue thinking big.
90-120
Congratulations, you have realized at this young age that you have to have an extraordinary ambition in life that takes you to the elite world of successful people. However, please remember this is just the beginning. You have rightly taken the first step and from now on tirelessly work towards your ambition. Be determined towards your ambition and you will see no one can stop you from achieving it.

The writer is a Child & Adoloscent Psychologist, Counselor, Corporate Trainer and Author of Secrets of Success and Channelizing Self for Success"