What Are The Drivers For Success:


Motivation is developing an achievement mindset so we can stay on the path to our goals even when we face frustrations and setbacks. When we set our minds on goals, we can become motivated to put setbacks in perspective and keep refining our perseverance until we achieve what we want.

The good news with motivation is that it can be cultivated if we can understand the influence of our thoughts and environment on our behaviors and actions. Whatever the behavior might be, addressing the underlying root cause for our motivation or lack of it, is important. Let’s look at strategies that can help us overhaul our unhelpful behaviors.

Of course, focus and motivation are our biggest tools for success. But, just like with everything else, there’s a flip side to becoming over striving and over motivated. We tend to neglect other important aspects of our life because we believe the pursuit of a single goal is our ticket to success. And we worry that any less effort on our part will result in terrible loss or failure.



The Practice Self Regulation Through Our Emotional Objectives:


Humans have two kinds of intrinsic motivations. We’re the underdog and we want to prove our mettle to the world. And the second one, there are others who believe we should be fighting for a cause and that makes us jump into action.

All interactions are based on three behaviors. Whether subtle or intense, conscious or unconscious, overt or covert, all emotions have one of three motivations:

1. Approach motivation 2. Avoid motivation 3. Attack motivation

In approach motivation, we want to get more of something, experience more, discover more, learn more, or appreciate more – we increase its value or worthiness of our attention. Typical approach emotions are interest, enjoyment, compassion, trust, and love. Typical approach behaviors consist of learning, encouraging, relating, negotiating, cooperating, influencing, guiding, setting limits, and in some cases, protecting.

In avoid motivation, we want to get away from something – we lower its value or worthiness of our attention. Typical avoid behaviors can be recognized through ignoring, rejecting, withdrawing, looking down upon or/and dismissing.

In attack motivation, we want to devalue, insult, criticize, undermine, harm, coerce, dominate, incapacitate, or destroy. Attack emotions can be recognized by anger, hatred, contempt, or disgust. Characteristic attack behaviors are demanding, manipulating, dominating, coercing, threatening, bullying, harming, and abusing.



The Neurochemistry Of Motivation:


Lack of focus and drive can be because of low intrinsic motivation, low self-esteem and high anxiety. When we receive intrinsic or extrinsic motivation, our brain activates the VTA, Ventral Tegmental Area, which is the reward pathway, giving us a feeling of pleasure.

In the book, Drive, author Daniel Pink says that our intrinsic motivation is determined by our autonomy, competency and relatedness. When we feel like we have a stake in something or understand why we have to do what we have to do, that increases our motivation.

Our reward pathways can be activated naturally via exercise, food and drinks, or unnaturally using drugs, alcohol and video games. Understand more about down regulation and its role in addiction. Read HERE.

Seratonin, a neurotransmitter that’s responsible for happiness and optimism, helps drives up motivation. Oxytocin, the love hormone, is another great motivator. No wonder, we’re at our best behavior when our moms are watching us.



Why Motivation Fluctuates:


Let’s understand why even a very motivated person can sometimes become demotivated about their goals. When we have big audacious goals, in their pursuit we must accomplish many small targets. But if the tasks ahead of us are either too easy or too difficult, we become distracted and disengaged about them.

When our feelings become intense, we shut down. Feelings are subject to moods like depression, sensations like warmth, cold, pleasure, pain, comfort, discomfort, and physiological states like hunger and tiredness. So how predictable are they?

Our lack of objectivity towards our situations and others can distract us. Our cognitive distortions and how we perceive others and our circumstances can make us lose motivation to stick around with our goals.

Failure is another demotivator. We become attached to the result, but we must remember that our effort is what counts. Everything gets better the second time around. After all, best is the biggest enemy of good. So, drop those sky-high standards and get started (once again). Taking life too seriously also doesn’t help.

Most of us wait for the right time, resources and credentials to get started. But all we really need is the belief that we got this. That’s the only permission we really need, from within.



Keeping Children Motivated For Our Future:


How can you keep a student engaged in class, and how can we keep a child engaged in their personal development? Anything that channels their curiosity and helps them understand their contribution in the world increases their motivation to stay engaged.

When children explore new ideas, its our responsibility to guide their curiosity. 65% of GenZ (the oldest of which is in their early 20’s) want to innovate and work for a social cause. 48% of them want to work for a company that supports a social cause.

So, preparing our children for adulthood in the context of solving a problem for the greater good motivates them to keep learning. In such an environment for learning, there’s no failure.

External motivating factors like punishments and rewards can only do so much. It’s important for kids to understand the power of self-motivation. Life is a journey in trial and error, creativity and leveraging a massive scope for growth. How else can we encourage every child aspire to be a Titan of change in the area of their choice?

It helps to incentivize and gamify their learning experiences. Higher order thinking or executive thinking uses motivation to stay focused on goals. It helps to timebox micro goals so children understand the power of getting things done no matter how they feel about chores or homework.

Encourage your children to create their own mile markers. Suggest things like, “Why don’t you work on your homework for 20 minutes and take a break to listen to your favorite song?” Things like this will empower them to become in charge of their own motivation.

When children can listen to their song, choose their favorite dessert at the grocery store or take a break to talk to their friend about a video game, they can understand how good things come with hard work and focus.




Don’t think. You already know what you have to do, and you know how to do it. What’s stopping you?
~ Tim Grover



How To Cultivate Motivation:


First, ask yourself. What is your ultimate goal? Is it money, connection, momentum, mastery over a subject? Steven Kotler, an American author specializing in personal development, says, as humans we’re intrinsically motivated by curiosity, passion, purpose, autonomy and mastery.

From a bigger perspective, when we start looking at how countries deal with global problems, it’s easy to gain a cultural insight into solutions. Partner, seek out and collaborate with different people who’re striving for similar goals. Seek intrinsic motivation to create, while seeking extrinsic motivation to innovate and collaborate.

You have a big hard goal, so now start working towards micro bite sized successes. You’ve crossed off that task on the check list, see? Now, that can be a driver. Relative position matters more than absolute position, compared to yesterday, are we in a better position? Yes, then great, time to use that as a building block for motivation.




Fear Of Negative Consequences Can Motivate:


Let’s look at what we value the most in our lives. Think about all the things that matter to you and don’t have. We value all those things that are timeless and have no monetary value the most. Don’t we? We want our parents to love us, we want hugs from our loved ones, and we desire deep connection from the people we admire.

Now let’s look at how we can super charge ourselves towards our goals. Self-motivation is born out of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. When we work on our passions, we show dedication, and this kind of work can never cause exhaustion. Of course auto suggestion from friends and parents might work in the short term, but its only temporary.

Deep intrinsic motivation comes from positive success and of course fear of negative consequences. And when we find our strengths, we desire to grow and achieve.

How can we aid our intrinsic motivation? Here’s how.

Autonomy: Think, say, do to be fearless.
Mastery: I’ve got a job to do. I am good at it, step outside our comfort zone. Efficiently without wasting money and time. Opportunities to grow.
Purpose: Me here now, contributing to bigger picture.

You can also add your intrinsic motivation by adding the extrinsic factor of collaborating with others who’re like-minded.

How do identify if your goals are intrinsically or extrinsically motivated?

1. If we didn’t want money?
2. If you didn’t want to make a name for yourself?
3. Don’t care about what other people think?



Ways To Find Daily Motivation:


“Do I Matter?” The pursuit to answer this question can be the single biggest motivation factor for our life.

We have many psychological needs and motivations that shape our destiny. Our desire to develop an identity and a sense of agency, being recognized and respected by peers, finding ways to excel, and committing to specific goals and activities.

Most of the time, our lazy brain inserts all kinds of feelings in us about the tasks ahead of us. Ignore your feelings and just do it. Nike was onto something when they created their motto. Creating to do lists and action items are not the same as doing it! Rip those sheets and get started.

Two ways we can all find motivation:

a. Seeking your purpose.
b. Striving for personal significance.

In the end, this is how we thrive. While motivation can get us started, habits can keep us going and become consistent with our actions.



Contemplating Our Mortality:


Reminders of death are everywhere. We attend funerals, we lose our friends to fatalities, we hear strangers succumbing to cancer. Just how much time do we have to do all the things we want to? That’s why contemplating our death can be the greatest motivator of all. It helps us pinpoint where we are with our work and our urgent goals.

Read the book for more perspective, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

Read more on how to contemplate death and get more done today. Read HERE.



When Resilience Collides With Persistence:


Let’s say we’ve to work on building housing for low-income families. But there’s a catch, you’ll have to use sustainable and renewable forms of energy while powering the utilities. Working on such challenging goals with limited options and resources makes us mindful of a lot of aspects of problem solving that will otherwise be overlooked.

Think about leaving a remarkable footprint in your wake. Having a purpose makes us resilient. It drives us forward when our world is shattered by violence and tragedy.

Here’s the bottom line. You can live life on your own terms, but can’t live in a way that disrupts other people’s lives. So, play your part as a good community citizen. Allow others into your life to bring a fresh perspective. Together let’s work towards bigger problems like the effect of climate change and tech disruption on a global scale. They are big problems that need solutions which can have a massive impact.



Still Not Feeling The Momentum?


Neil Gaiman, a writer, says that there are three ingredients of motivation. Desperation, deadlines, and daydreaming.

How you can contribute to the world is by deciding whether you will turn all this potential into action, that you can give something to the world. If you count right now, there will be a million places you can make a difference.

Once again, here’s the call for action. We must ask ourselves these questions.

How else would you convey your worth to the world? What are our personal assets we want to share with the world? And most importantly, how else will we separate ourselves from the mediocrity that’s all around us?

Challenging yourself to outperform or do better than yourself can be a great motivator. Leverage that momentum to outshine your past accomplishments to propel yourself forward. Start playing the infinite game of life. What is the best time to begin on your best work anyway? It is now.




What causes motivation? Challenge, co-operation, control, fantasy, curiosity, competition and recognition.
~ From Talent Is Overrated by Geoff Colvin


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About The Article Author:

Our mission with FutureSTRONG Academy – to grow children who respect themselves, their time and their capabilities in a world where distractions are just a click or a swipe away.

I see myself as an advocate for bringing social, emotional and character development to families, schools and communities. I never want to let this idea out of my sight – Our children are not just GPAs. I’m a Writer and a Certified Master Coach in NLP and CBT. Until 2017, I was also a Big Data Scientist. In December of 2044, I hope to win the Nobel. Namasté

Write to me or call me. Tell me what support from me looks like. 

Rachana Nadella-Somayajula,
Program Director & Essential Life Skills Coach for Kids and Busy Parents

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