Does Motivation Really Work?

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motivation kenya

I love motivational quotes and stories. If you follow me on social media then you know that I’m big on sharing quotes that I’ve come across. There have been arguments on whether motivation actually works; be it intrinsic or extrinsic motivation. I like engaging in self motivating activities, anything that keeps my energy level up.

Let me ask you, how do you feel after making yourself pretty to attend a fun event? How do you feel when somebody compliments you? Great, right? The same way a compliment boosts your mood is the same way motivation works. While there have been arguments questioning the effect of motivation on performance, there have been theories to prove on the effects of motivation.

Before I get to it, I’d like you to take a while and think of some force you believe in. Say for example, religion, the universe and such. A religious person will tell you prayers work. A person who believes in the universal rule will tell you that it works; whatever signals you send to the universe you get back the same. We could spend hours arguing on what works and what does not, depending on what we believe in, but the bottom line is, these work because they believe in their power.

The optimal (arousal) theory of motivation

Arousal is the state of being alert, awake and attentive. Each person has different arousal levels of motivation. If our arousal levels fall below the individual optimal levels, we seek to stimulate and elevate them so that we can get motivated. There are people who are motivated by simply taking a walk as a physical activity, others by running a 10 kilometers stretch. There are some who are motivated by simply reading an article on motivation, like this one, others by attending a whole fired up 3 day talk by an expert like Tony Robbins. The optimal theory of motivation holds that our motivation levels are best kept at a certain level, not too high, not too low.

So how does motivation work?

Our arousal levels influence our performance. The higher the arousal level, the better we perform. But please note that you cannot keep high arousal levels at all time, your body needs rest especially after moments of high arousal.

The Yerkes-Dodson Law states that and individual’s particular arousal level influences their performance on tasks. Knowing and understanding your motivation and arousal levels helps you take care of your physical environment so that you are functioning at optimal levels. E.g. Reduce distracting noises or create a conducive environment.

The secret to maintaining optimal levels of motivation is knowing what motivates you and maintaining an environment that supports this. Do whatever you have to do to keep yourself motivated. You may opt for motivational quotes, talks, physical activities, time schedules and plans; whatever you have to do, go for it.

Keep your arousal levels up so that you are motivated most of the time. Don’t allow idle moments unless you are resting or taking a break. For example, just like you are in the gym (aerobics or dance exercices) where you warm up, then get to the strenuous activities, the gym instructor will warn you to not allow your heart beat slow if you are still continuing with the exercise. You keep your heart rate up by making small movements such as jogging on the spot or step balls. The same happens when you are working, even work that involves the mind. If you are taking a break from the strenuous work, keep your arousal levels high. You can do so by reading, engaging in an involving conversation, or simply planning for something in the future. This keeps your mind engaged such that when you get back to work you don’t have to start with the warm up all over again.

Do you have some motivational tips or secrets? Do share on the comment section below!

I’d love to hear from you 🙂

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