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Gerardo Castillo Ceballos, School of Education and Psychology of the University of Navarra

I'm just not motivated...

Mon, 02 Mar 2020 12:05:00 +0000 Published in Montañes Newspaper

There are young people -students and professionals- who try to justify their lack of effort on the grounds that they are not motivated, so it would be wiser to wait for motivation to arise spontaneously. This attitude responds to psychological theories that attribute an almost absolute role to motivation and that even maintain that effort not preceded by motivation can be traumatic.

Many testimonies refute this, for example, Picasso's: "If inspiration comes, let it catch me working", applicable to our topic, changing inspiration for motivation. No less convincing is a well-known sentence: "Motivation is the award you get for having started without motivation". Or the response of a mother to her son who refused to do his homework one day because he was unmotivated: "Today you are going to do your homework unmotivated; you will see what motivates you to do your homework". In the past, motivation at school and at business was based almost exclusively on incentives or extrinsic motivation, while nowadays intrinsic motivation or self-motivation is much more highly valued.

The two types of motivation can be complementary. Extrinsic motivation is often useful to initiate an activity, but it can only be maintained by intrinsic motivators. When the effect of an incentive ceases, motivation disappears. One of the competencies that companies today require from candidates to work in them is 'self-motivation'. How can it be acquired by those who throughout their schooling studied only with incentives? It is true that this skill is exercised in some masters, but not effectively, because students are conditioned by the old habit of dependence on incentives; the techniques of self-motivation can be learned in a short period of time deadline , but not the values and attitudes that support them. The financial aid of the so-called emotional tutor is often very valuable.

One of the keys to fostering self-motivation is to grant more autonomy to learners; that they have opportunities to learn at their own pace staff and with their own style. Self-motivation is closely related to good emotional management. A person who is usually affected by great emotional tension and negative emotions (anxiety, irritability, aggressiveness, fear, etc.) is usually unmotivated and does not perform at work. On the other hand, those who have emotional self-control are usually able to put their positive emotions (confidence, enthusiasm, optimism, etc.) at the service of their work objectives.

group It is said that a group of farmers went to the fields one day to pray for rain, but only one of them carried an umbrella; this is faith and trust. Self-motivation is an inner stimulation linked to the values of each person. From this perspective, a motive is a value that is internalized and integrated into one's life; this predisposes us to learn easily and to overcome difficulties.

Daniel Goleman subdivides skill motivation into these four: achievement motivation, commitment, initiative and optimism. People with achievement motivation are results-oriented, goal-oriented -challenge and risk-takers. The capacity for commitment encompasses three emotional skills that are highly valued in the world of work: identification with the culture and values of business, working towards objectives and accepting responsibility. The capacity for initiative is related to foresight and anticipation: people avoid problems by anticipating them and seizing opportunities before their competitors do.

Each person can become source of motivation and self-improvement if he or she believes that he or she can achieve what he or she sets out to do. That belief often becomes a fulfilled prophecy. Gandhi expressed that very idea in these words: "A person becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep telling myself that I cannot do something, I may end up being unable to do it. On the other hand, if I have the belief that I can do it, I will acquire the ability to do it even if I did not have the ability to do it in the beginning.

This attitude is reinforced by writing inspirational phrases in different places at home or in the office. Reading them appeals to positive emotions and acts as a reminder and stimulus, especially when we have to face difficult challenges. The phrases contain values that, with repetition, become internalized.

Often, the success of a professional is attributed to luck, but the secret is another, as I saw written on the wall of a gym: "They call it luck, but it's work; they call it chance, but it's discipline; they call it Genetics, but it's sacrifice. They talk, you keep training."