What Decades of Research into Motivation Have Taught Us

In the highly competitive and demanding world, we live in today, motivation is critical in virtually all areas of life. Scientists have spent decades trying to figure out how motivation works, what triggers it and how it can impact our lives.

Factors that Affect Motivation

Motivation is a variable that can increase and decrease when certain factors in our environment change. Your comfort level in how you interact with people at work, or how you sit on your desk can have an impact on your drive.

Science also tells us that mastery and purpose are important factors that affect motivation. Mastery-based motivation is when one works towards getting better. Purpose-driven motivation is where one works towards a goal for the greater good. Combining both purpose and mastery can considerably improve performance.

Motivation and Learning

Your level of motivation affects how you retain information and how well you process that information when problem-solving. Motivation improves cognitive performance, particularly when one is working towards mastery, rather than working for a reward. This type of mastery-based motivation has been shown to help school children perform better in the long term.

Motivation and Reward

Not only does reward impact motivation, but the type of reward also matters. For example, monetary rewards do not always increase performance or motivation. In studies to test the effect of such rewards, it has been observed that people given the promise of a monetary incentive usually show lower levels of interest in the task.

Contrary to popular belief, competition does not always result in improved performance. This, however, depends on the type of competition. In situations where people are required to focus on being the best rather than avoid being the worst, science has shown that the outcomes are better. Therefore, you are bound to get better results if you work on being at your best instead of merely avoiding failure.