Classical Conditioning: The Secret Behind Exercise Motivation

We all know how hard it can be sometimes to get off the couch and exercise.

Even the least creative of minds can come up with some excuse to avoid going for a run. Procrastination is a huge issue in fitness. But many people don’t realize how easy it can be to motivate yourself to go for a run.

What if you could trick your mind into thinking it actually wanted to exercise?

Using simple psychology, you can turn your mind into your very own personal trainer! For free.

Your mind used to be your biggest barrier to exercise – your body craved a run, but you talked yourself out of it. Now your mind can be your biggest motivator. How?

Classical conditioning.

Step one is to make a plan. Before you can even start to use psychological conditioning, you need to create a tangible workout schedule. Start with small, attainable goals – such as going for a run every other evening for a week.

You need to write your plan out as a list – and put it somewhere you’ll see every day. This constant reminder that you should be exercising is important to the concept of classical conditioning which we will try to implement into your exercise routine.

Next it’s time to apply the psychological phenomenon of classical conditioning.

Classical conditioning is a term given to the psychological effect of stimulus association. Perhaps you’ve heard of Pavlov’s dogs – who came to associate food with the sound of a bell, and eventually salivated merely at the bell. Classical conditioning requires a neutral stimulus to gradually become closely associated with a stimulus which causes some sort of reflex in the subject. Eventually the boundary between the stimuli will become blurred in the mind. The ultimate goal of classical conditioning is to transfer the reflex from the second stimulus to the first (previously neutral) stimulus.

So what’s the neutral stimulus in your exercise plan?

The act of going for a run.

In order to achieve effective motivation through classical conditioning, you need to find a stimulus – which already causes a reaction from you – and begin associating it with the act of exercise.

For example: your favourite song. Go cold turkey on listening to your favourite song – unless you are exercising. Make sure that you do not hear the song at any other time. Look forward to listening to it while you run!

After a while, the same feelings you get NOW when you hear your favourite song will be associated with the act of exercise.

To run will be a treat – whether or not you listen to the song.

Although the stimulus of music is ideal for this sort of conditioning – because it is easy to control, and easy to associate with physical activity – you CAN experiment with other types of stimuli as well!

Maybe you have a favourite shirt that would be appropriate to run in. Maybe you can drink your favourite energy drink on your run.

Keep in mind that stimuli which are associated with physical activity WHILE you are completing the activity are the most effective. The more intense the connection with the actual activity, the more effective the classical conditioning will be. And, ultimately, the more you will love exercising!

Finally, realize that lack of motivation to exercise is something that everyone experiences.

But now you’re one of the few who know the secret to overcoming exercise procrastination.

And you can beat this laziness!

Now get out there and go for a run!

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The Motivation Pill

Circumstances are a hell of a mentor. Testing you at the most vulnerable moments, trying to knock you out at the most fragile links. The crowd you are surrounded by most of the time is nothing but a horde of opportunists looking for that perfect imperfect moment when you're at the weakest and easy to step upon and go ahead. No one is here to make you succeed. All of them are looking for your use in their lives and how you can add value to their dreams and goals. No one except your parents is going to be glad when you achieve. You're an exceptional being in yourself. Ignore the naysayers, turn a deaf ear to those who preach like they know a lot. No one knows a damn thing and those who say they do, they are just trying to scare you. You have a great gift, the gift of a dream. You have a dream and now is the time to start working on it. Now, this very moment, guide each of your action towards the accomplishment of your dream. Those who mock you, try to make you feel inferior at your every step, are really scared of you. Scared for you have something they can never really achieve in their life. Something that is not easy for them to even think about it. They try to intimidate you by saying harsh words. Words that they say with a smile but in reality, they are just trying to weaken your roots like a parasite.

But what to do? Well, the fact is the whole of your life you're going to encounter such people who would do their best to make sure you fall. They are always hitting at your ladder of success trying to imbalance your dream and make you drop to the floor. They are looking for the opportunities to see you fail, to mock you, to laugh at you and shout at you. Don't let them send out any negative vibes or hurl any downers in the direction of your success. Success is a great thing, those who have achieved it, know how it tastes. Don't let anyone direct the story of your life. Success is contagious, but it comes to those who believe in themselves. Be humble, be silent but not when a blow is thrown at your self-respect. People may call it your wrong attitude, but you know that who you really are. Believing is doing. Don't listen to failures who rely on meagre dreams. Dream big, if you can dream it you can achieve it.

Want to know how to do it? Let me tell you, that you suck, you are not worth a penny. But can you let me drive the boat of your life? NO! Not me not your friends, not your well-wishers, no one shall have the right to pull you down. Stand guard at the gates of your dreams, make it strong like an impregnable fort. Make your mind a safe, the password to which only you know. Let them say what they think is right. Remember, being right is a myth, no one can ever be completely right about anything. If they say they are, just grin and say yeah sure. Remember, no words, no thoughts, no power in the universe can break you down unless you let it. Want friends? Make books your friends. Need someone expert to guide you? Walk to the mirror and you'll find the perfect guide who can help you get out of literally anything. All that you need, all the forces that will guide you in achieving your dream are right within you. Summon the universe, call upon the forces with complete dedication and child-like faith to work for you, in the direction of your dreams. And believe me, they will. But the requisite is you have to believe, you have to trust, like a child. Have you ever seen a child? Do you ever see them doubt that they can't walk? They try to walk but fall. Do they give up? HELL NO !!! So why do you give up? Be like a mirror, no amount of dust can make mirror leave its luster, its ability to reflect. Be bold, be brave and be confident. Have faith, you are destined to do great, but to be great you have to start acting like you really are great. Take charge of your life and believe me, your life is going to be the way it should be. Tell yourself, "I am the greatest."

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Motivation With Mark Knopfler

The word universe means the one song or poem: uni-one and verse-sound or poetry. So sound (so music – so poetry) has an inherent capacity to change our mood, and from this our motivational energies. What we listen to, and when, is significant. As Shakespeare wrote in The Merchant of Venice, “The man that hath no music in himself, nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils”. So it is that all highly motivated people listen to music often, and should do more so.

Personally I love the music of JS Bach, which I listen to on an almost daily basis, but I also love a small number of great rock/pop stars of the last 40 years. I wonder who your heroes are?

For me Mark Knopfler, erstwhile Dire Straits (with as many great tracks solo as he had in those earlier, halcyon days) is one of the greats. His music is simultaneously melodic, intricate and epic. The epic comes from those great guitar finales he plays – think, ‘Tunnel of Love’. A few years back at the Bournemouth International Centre I had the pleasure of seeing him live. My wife, my son Joe, and I were all swept away with an awesome performance of music that had us spellbound. His live version of ‘Farmer Blues’, for example, was just staggeringly great. I could go on – but you get my drift.

As we walked back to the car, I said to my son: Joe, well, what the three important lessons from Mark Knopfler that anyone could apply to becoming mega-successful and possibly mega-happy? If being a member of a rock and roll band is analogous to running a business, what do you think they might be?

Before sketching the three core lessons we might like to reflect that even doing all the right things does not necessarily lead to success – things go wrong whether you like it or not. As it says in the good book, Time and chance happens to all men. In the case of Mark when I saw him live, he revealed to us why he wasn’t standing up and playing the guitar: he had pulled a nerve in his back and that had plagued him for five weeks. Now that’s what you call irritating – and life!

The lesson from watching Mark is the lesson of creativity: all the songs were his songs, and so everyone followed his tune. Being creative is an essential component of being human: essential – of the essence. Peter Drucker observed that only two things made money for a business: marketing and innovation – everything else was a cost. We need to run businesses where we give full scope to human creativity, especially our own. In the long run it helps make us more stress-resistant.

Second: be an expert at whatever you do! Watch Mark play that guitar – in fact several guitars – and you see an expert at work. Without overdoing it they had cameras which for short periods of time enabled us to see Mark on the stage, and behind him a close up of his fingering and fretwork. And it wasn’t only Mark who was a superb musician – they all were. So, if you are going to be a plumber, nurse, director, manager, shop assistant – be the best. I was amused and impressed recently when the plumber fixing a problem round our house said, “My brother is the best plumber in Dorset”. I said, Well, get him here then – I don’t want the second best!

Finally, get a tight team round you. Towards the end Mark introduced his team and we learnt nearly all of them went back 15 years of playing with him, and one even to the ’80s. He trusted them and they trusted him; the synergy and teamwork were apparent – the great Knopfler could achieve far more leveraging their talent alongside his own. Where are your key team players? Who’s with you on a journey to change the world with your product or service?

Yes, you can learn a lot from watching a rock and roll band. The music’s great as well!

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The Motivation Battle In Your Mind

Do you wonder why you have no energy or why the word “workout” brings on such a feeling of dread? Do you feel powerless in your life on how to affect any kind of change? How many times have you heard this same description used for various workshops you have taken or books you have read on how to change your life by changing your motivation? And despite these resources, how many times have you slipped back into those past non-productive patterns of behavior and you are stumped as to how to actually change those patterns?

Can you become powerful and have a life filled with enthusiasm and zeal? There are many classes and books out there today advertising many ways to change your motivation and patterns of behavior. One such book stated the seven secrets to motivation and named them. Focus, belief, habits, emotional reactions, energy, your surroundings, and time management. Even though these are wonderful tools to help you identify the problems, how do you implement them in your life? There are books and magazines galore out there that help you identify problems, but you still have the quandary of how to implement the new set of patterns. You have to remember that identifying the problem areas is half the battle. Now you have to overcome the patterns, and that’s where the battle lies.

You probably believe that your emotional state can significantly impact your mind, but does it impact your body, or the disease you are battling, or even your motivation? Our emotional state can create a lot of stress in our day-to-day lives and our every day battles are very comparable to how our ancestors would handle stress. If a bear came at them, their amygdala would take control, pumping blood to the arms and legs, raising their blood pressure and heart rate, preparing them to run away or to fight. It’s called the “fight or flight” response. However, the stress that we create in our lives today is not just a one-time bear attack; it is an ongoing realistic part of almost every day life. We are at a heightened emotional stress level on a daily basis, which is very bad for the body, and creates all sorts of very real physical and emotional problems.

In a heightened, emotionally stressed state, energy gets pumping as our adrenals go on overdrive; however, the ability to process food normally, effectively burn calories, lose weight, and build muscle go out the window, as they aren’t important in your need to fight or flea. When the adrenals are on overdrive they eat up as much magnesium as they can, leaving your body deficient. Your cholesterol and triglycerides go up, blood pressure increases, and your stomach flora decreases, which then creates allergies, gastroesophageal reflux or heartburn, high blood pressure, etc. Along with all of this, your cortisol and insulin levels increase, leaving you prone to even more things, such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart problems, and central obesity. Stress is bad every way you look at it. But stress is especially bad with regards to your energy level, ability to function in a motivated state, or even have the physical ability to do so. No wonder motivation is such a hard state to maintain.

Stress is definitely one key component, but there are also other problems, like memories or emotions, that keep you stuck on the couch. How about that memory from your youth where you were bullied, or the memory of being told how lazy you were and that you would never amount to anything? Memories such as these are key components, and lead to thought processes that you subconsciously fight all the time, such as, “I’m not good enough to do this”, or “Nothing I do is going to be good enough.” This most often ends up being a battle of the will and the subconscious usually wins. All of these components, combined with the physical problems they create, like disease, are associated with the emotional state we are in. This leads to a serious lack of motivation to do just about anything, except just exist day-to-day, never realizing those dreams we had or progressing forward in our lives.

So why not just release the problems as we identify them? I know, it is kind of a revolutionary approach. Clear away the brush so that the path stays clear! But how do you do that? Psychological Acupressure! Simply put, clearing the pathway to healing is the power of psychological acupressure.

You’ve heard how acupressure can heal different meridians in the body that block energy, right? Well, the psychological part of this with emotions and trauma is done in a very similar way. You tap at the central point, the third eye for the body, or the gamut point for the brain, and combine that with a sentence that draws the brain to what the body is feeling, or vice versa, and you clear it out and then replace it with what you truly want to feel.

This doesn’t magically remove a memory or trauma, but what it does is it allows your brain and your body to release it as being a very traumatic event with a very traumatic emotion so that the memory is just that… a memory. It doesn’t have power over you any more. It’s amazing how much power we give emotions and memories without realizing it. We become victims to that trauma and become powerless to change it.

The first thing to do is to use the psychological acupressure to bring your subconscious energy in line with what you truly want to do. This is called a “reversal.” Sometimes when that memory is from a long time ago, you have a tendency to believe it. A reversal changes that energy so you actually do want to clear it out and get rid of that constant thought.

To do this, you take the part of your body known as the third eye point, right where a cyclops eye would be, and make a statement like, “Even though I don’t want to calm the stress center of my brain, I choose to change it and calm my Amygdala,” and “Even though I don’t want to get over these issues and memories dealing with motivation, I choose to get over them and have amazing motivation and will power.” This will reverse your energy in your subconscious and allow it to be in sync with your mind on what you want to do.

A powerful reversal is that one you use when you don’t think anything will ever change and you just want to end it by committing suicide. Reversing that energy, even just for a few days, can let you see that life is always in flux and is ever changing. Just take a deep breath, reverse that energy, and see how it changes. It’s amazing!

The next step is to tap out the stress response in your amygdala and calm it down. Your amygdala is the part of the brain that is responsible for the “fight or flight” response. To do this, you need to tap this statement at the gamut point, as this is dealing with the brain. The gamut point is on the back of either hand, in between the pinky and the ring fingers, in the little valley there and then back about a half inch. This point ties in right to your brain, as the optic nerve is directly linked to parts of the brain, so you do specific eye motions as you tap this area in order to direct your energy to that specific area of the brain. Use two fingers and tap in a gentle way with medium pressure, “Even though my amygdala is hyperactive causing a low-level stress response in my body, I choose to be calm and centered.” At this point, do your eye motions as you keep tapping that point. Look down hard to the right, look down hard to the left, Now tap on top of your head and make the statement, “I choose to be calm and centered.” Take a deep breath and release the stress as you breath out.

After calming down the amygdala, it should calm down the low-level stress response and put you back into a non-stress level state. Now your body will calmly go back to a normal state of being. However, stress has a way of coming at you again and again all day long. Clearing past trauma associated with the amygdala is important, but until you can do it with a professional, just keep clearing your amygdala three or four times a day for awhile to keep you in a good calm and centered state.

After calming down the brain center, you now need to keep on working at ridding yourself of those past memories and thought processes you say to yourself, ones that keep you on that couch and not doing what you want to do in your life.

Ways to tap out these events/emotions would be to just take a moment when you feel particularly unmotivated and try to evaluate why you feel that way. If a memory or thought process comes up, try tapping the emotion/thought out exactly as you think it. This would start at the third eye point again and the sentence to do this would be something like, “Even though I feel so incompetent and don’t believe in my own abilities to do this, I choose to correct this and not only accept myself but choose to believe in myself and have the power to change my life.” Do the same thing with traumas that you can remember, where you feel those same emotions.

When you clear out these emotions and thought processes, and your body is out of its stress response, you feel emotionally clear and free, fully capable to do what you need to do. Try this technique in relation to any of the problems you have identified in past classes or even the thought processes that come up when you read a book and clear out the old beliefs.

You can even clear out those patterns of behaviors the same way. When you Identify a pattern you do when you want to avoid something, tap in both the third eye and gamut point that you have this pattern of behavior that you chose to correct and choose to be able to identify that you are doing that pattern as you do it and correct it. Too often we identify the pattern after we did it. Tap at that point too to clear the pattern.

When you work with your subconscious not against it you bring your energy in sync with what you truly want to do in your life and you will have an extraordinary life. That is your empowerment, taking your power back, and choosing to move forward. You can choose to tap, or not to tap, but I have now given you the key. The next step is yours.

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Secrets of Motivation

If you want to experience how motivated athletes are with the deck of physical athletic cards stacked against them, then attend a Special Olympics Championship. The athletes participate because they can, want to, and excel in multitude of different sports.

Ask any competitor, “Who won?”

They’ll respond, “We won.”

“Who had their best time?”

“We did.”

“Who’s going to win next time?”

“We will.”

Your rational mind’s inclination is to correct them and tell them otherwise but you would be wrong.

Every athlete at any Special Olympics event not only think they won, they know they won.

And they’re all right. They won qualifying to get there. Everyone wins in the experience because the Special Olympics organization, volunteers, and donors gave them the opportunity. Athletes arrived brave enough to run on the field, jump in the water, or balance on a beam. They competed with confidence, competence, and concentration to do their best among a few hundred of the best athletes in the state. They displayed class and sportsmanship beyond perceived normal comprehension of what is accepted and even encouraged on a professional big league field, court, or track where championships are broadcasted all over the globe.

The perfect sporting event occurred when the best, bravest and most positive attitude athletes at a Special Olympics Championship competed. Realize there are similarities between the Olympics and Special Olympics. Competitors arrive amped up, with extra equipment, and more coaches and team managers than weekend warriors. The differences are the Special Olympians leave behind their labeled handicaps of predisposed limitations and other public prejudices to put forth their best effort on the line.

In the Olympics, athletes tend to bring their limitations to the forefront when not living up to their own hype.

One swimmer, 10 year-old Hayes, was disqualified in the 25 yard breaststroke event. She changed strokes after falling behind two 18 year-old competitors. Hayes was on the verge of crying because she thought her dad was angry with her for the DQ. She also didn’t want to swim in her next race. I told her the most important thing was to participate and have fun. She smiled in relief and went on to her next race and tried her best to win.

These participants and coaches get to experience the same feelings as “normal” athletes who engage in sports through schools, clubs, and other athletic associations. This includes the discipline of learning new skills, training, teamwork, and the actual emotions of a competitively measured contest. We all learn that the most important measurements of the event are not the time or distances or heights achieved but the number of smiles displayed, pumped fists in the air, hugs awarded, and sighs of relief that the special athlete achieved something they were unsure of at the start of the event. All participants are winners for their involvement.

Volunteer at a local special recreation event. Donate time, money, and most of all the love of sport for all to enjoy.

Why did you volunteer at a Special Olympics competition or fundraiser? What did you learn from athletes you didn’t expect to experience? Did this help you approach future races differently?

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Why Extrinsic Motivation Is Necessary

What is extrinsic Motivation?

Extrinsic motivation is the term for motivation that emanates from outside your own. The inspiring factors are outside, or external, rewards like cash or grades. These types of incentives offer satisfaction and delight that the particular task itself might not provide.

An extrinsically inspired individual works on a project even when they may have little affinity for it as a result of expected fulfillment they are going to get through some compensation. The reward is something as modest like a smiley face to something significant like recognition or fortune. For instance, an extrinsically motivated individual that dislikes numbers might strive on a mathematics formula because would like the prize for doing it. With regards to a student, the incentive has to be good grade for an assignment as well as in the class.

Is it a good drive?

External motivation does not necessarily mean, however, that the person won’t obtain any satisfaction from doing or finishing an activity. It simply implies that the satisfaction they assume from several external rewards will still be a motivator regardless if the job to be carried out contains minimum interest. An extrinsically enthusiastic student, for instance, may detest a project, could find it uninteresting, or might have no interest within the subject, yet the potential for an excellent grade will probably be enough to hold a student motivated to ensure them to set on the effort to perform effectively on the activity.

External motivation is once you are stimulated by outside factors, rather than the inner drivers of innate motivation. Extrinsic determination drives you to accomplish things for real rewards or challenges, instead of the enjoyment of it.

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Is Fear Your Motivation?

I came across this article written by Jim Collins way back in 1998 where he talks about a personal experience that he had when he received a teaching award at Stanford. He said, “I began to dread teaching this course because I had taught it before and I wondered whether I would be able to repeat the expectations that people had.” It had obviously gone well and he wondered whether this one would go better. He said, “I felt motivated for sure, but it was the kind of motivation that sapped away the joy that I normally felt with teaching. “

About the same time he was reading about John Wooden, the UCLA basketball coach who led his team to 10 NCAA championships in 12 years during the 60s and 70s. It dawned on him that Wooden had never made it a goal to repeat the previous year’s performance; not even if it had been an undefeated performance. Instead he focused his attention entirely on how to improve on the previous year. He said that Wooden highlighted for him a supreme truth. I want to quote that. “Excellence is the residual result of continual creation and improvement for its own sake. ” We continue to do things better because we want to make it better. Whereas the fear mongers concentrate on the demoralizing effect of failure, Wooden capitalized on the inspiring payoff of achievement; the pure re-energizing glee that comes from simply doing something better.

When we look at ourselves and the work that we are doing, what is our motivation in our workplaces? Is it fear?. Is that our motivator? You know, I have sensed in the last year, travelling about and talking to different people, that fear seems to be a huge motivator – fear of change, fear to remain in the same place, fear not to rock the boat, fear to keep the status quo – fear seems to be the driver that motivates many.

But as Jim Collins says, “The dark side of motivation by fear is that it is like a powerful stimulant. It can jolt you for a while, but it also inevitably leaves you more drained than before. Wanting to survive to merely avoid losing what we have, is not a goal that can motivate over the long haul. It offers no promise of forward motion of accomplishment. It’s not something that is enduring; it’s not something that is ongoing, something that can be sustained over a long period of time. “

I found another article by Nicole Sforza in Incentive Magazine. The author says “Is fear a good motivator? Yes! Make sure the consequences have meaning and that you follow through with them. ” In other words, make sure that people understand that if they don’t deliver, that there are consequences and punishments that will take place.

Putting all of this together begged the question: where do we see ourselves in this scenario regarding motivation and fear? Is fear a motivating factor for people around us, below us, or those who report to us, to do good work? Or are there higher motivations? And if there are, what can those higher motivations be?

Adah Maurer, in an article ‘A General Theory of Motivation’ quotes John Kenneth Galbraith in the New Industrial State and he identifies 4 levels of motivation:

1. Compulsion. You do it because you have to like the former slaves who worked to avoid the lash.

2. The pecuniary reward or the wage. I do a particular job, I get money.

3. Identification. The individual on becoming associated with the group may conclude that its goals are superior to his own and may identify with that company and so be motivated. For e.g., somebody who is a wage-earner being paid to dig a ditch, could be shown that in digging a ditch, it would help to drain and remove a malarial swamp and make for a better environment for him/her. Immediately he/she moves from the wage-earner or pecuniary reward or one who just does it for the money to somebody who works through identification. This goodwill cannot be purchased. Even though the digger was hired and paid, giving in to a higher motivation or identification is not something that can be bought with money.

4. Adaptation. Here the person goes along with the group enterprise not so much because he believes in what they are doing, although they may do that also, but because he/she hopes to be able to get control and influence the direction of the effort according to his/her own plans.

That’s sometimes the way that we enter into a company. Isn’t it? We say, “Here’s what I bring to the table. I know that this is something that I can do. I can market well; I can envision well; I can lead well; I also have a vision for where I can take this particular company.” And that’s the fourth motivation. That’s adaptation. Identification and adaptation are the higher forms of motivation. They are intrinsically driven; they come from within. There’s more joy that comes from identification and adaptation than comes from compulsion and pecuniary reward.

This raises the question: where are you and where are others in regard to what you expect from them? Are you doing things out of compulsion or a reward for work? Or have you been able to move into a higher level of motivation, been able to identify or to adapt? When you look at what I’ve said, the 2 lower levels of motivation can be sapping. They can take away your joy. You can just go through the routine, the mundane; your zest for life can be lost. But if there’s identification, you know that what you’re doing is bringing change. If you can move into that area of adaptation, to know that the skills that you have can take this particular company forward into a newer area, then there’s joy that comes from within you. There’s an intrinsic motivation that helps you to get out of bed every day and charge to your work and be excited about all of it.

So, where do you stand? Are you intrinsically motivated? Are the people around you intrinsically motivated? Are you able to take them beyond a pecuniary reward as a leader/manager or even as a friend? I believe that must be the entry-level place for people who work, is first, to be able to show identification, and then move on to adaptation. But to be able to offer that, you and I need to believe in that as well. We need to be in that same place. Which begs another question: are you in that place?

Mark Dowd, writing in The Guardian, puts an interesting spin on this. He says, “Lobbyists and campaigners have been grappling for years with this question. ‘What is the best way to engage the human imagination on the issues of our time?’ Guilt and fear are very limited in their appeal and more often than not, only induce a greater fear to turn away and carry on as before. What’s encouraging is to come across so many who are getting more and more familiar with the notion of stewardship. It’s easy enough to scare people about climate change, but there are other ways to capture imaginations and create momentum. “

I submit to you today, that the root to identification and adaptation, is to be able to look at ourselves as good stewards–people who have been given different skills, different experiences, different education-and then, to be able to plough them back into our society, and our motivation must be to exemplify good stewardship over all our resources.

I believe that if we are able to see through the eyes of a steward, we would be well on our way to being identifiers and adaptors, well on our way to having joy in the midst of what we do.

Roy Robbins, the great rock climber who pioneered ascents of Yosemite’s Big Wall, said, “The point is not to avoid death. If you want to do that, simply stay on the ground. The point is to reach the top and then keep on climbing. ” To do that, fear and compulsion can never be motivators. It can only come through an intrinsic innate desire to continue to do well.

God has invested in us. Maybe we just need to say, “This is what I’m doing for Him. What He has given me, I’m making sure is honed. Every skill that I have, I’m going to make sure I use it to the best of my ability.” And if that happens, I believe our workplaces will be places of joy and not fear.

God Bless Us All.

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Employee Motivation – The 5 Factors That Drive Performance

Employee motivation is a mystery for many managers. But, it doesn’t have to be. Instead, understanding how motivation impacts employee performance, and understanding how to use motivation to improve performance can be reduced to five master keys. Organizations desiring to improve employee motivation need a system in place that consistently rewards employee achievements. I’m always surprised how few organizations have such a system.

However, not all employees respond to the same motivations. Each person has his or her own likes and dislikes, passions, interests and desires. The role of the successful manager is to learn how to identify what motivates each employee, and learn how to leverage those motives to simultaneously fulfill the goals of the organization, as well as the goals of each employee.

The five key employee motivation factors include: satisfaction, appreciation, recognition, inspiration and compensation.

1. Employee Motivation By Building Satisfaction

In their book “The Service Profit Chain,” James Heskett, W. Earl Sasser, and Leonard Schlesinger make a compelling case that regardless your business, the only way to generate sustained profits is to build a work environment that attracts, focuses, and keeps talented employees. In other words, they have to be motivated to show up, get committed and perform at a level of excellence.

Employee motivation as it relates to employees satisfaction is vitally important. And, it goes way beyond just a “happier workforce.” Why?

Because there is an undeniable link between satisfied, motivated employees, and satisfied customers. In other words, focus on creating satisfied employees, focus on employee motivation, and those motivated, satisfied employees will take care of your customers.

2. Employee Motivation Through Genuine Appreciation

At times, managers unknowingly sabotage employee motivation by failing to recognize the positive behaviors and achievements of their employees. As a result, employees don’t know whether or not they are doing a good job.

I recently had an employee of an organization tell me, “The only time we ever hear anything from management is when we do something wrong!”

Fortunately, savvy managers can improve employee motivation by rewarding employees with personal attention. This can include a pat on the back, a hand-written note, or a quick comment in the hall.

When showing appreciation, be specific. Instead of just saying, “We really are grateful for the good job you do around here,” the approach might be, “I really appreciate how you handled the Franklin Industries account last week when we had to get their rush order out late Friday afternoon. Your effort really made a difference.”

By being specific, the employer comes across as much more sincere, and the employee realizes their actions are truly being watched. And, a highly level of employee motivation is the natural result.

3. Employee Motivation Through Recognition

Many people will do for recognition what they will not do for money. And, this is the manager’s secret weapon for employee motivation. Some people are motivated by the opportunity to get their name on the wall, receive a trophy at an annual banquet, or see their name in the company newsletter. It gives them an “emotional payoff” for their actions.

Look for ways to increase employee motivation by recognizing excellence in the workplace. Ring a bell every time an individual or team hits the production target. Put up posters with the photographs of team members who have had the most days without accidents. Give out awards for attendance records. Just do something. It is so inexpensive, yet highly effective in your efforts of employee motivation.

4. Employee Motivation Through Inspiration

Inspiration comes from leadership. This form of employee motivation includes the company’s mission, purpose and goals. People want to be part of an organization that is going somewhere, that stands for something, and that provides a meaningful service to the marketplace.

If you want to lead an inspired, mission-guided organization, follow these steps and watch employee motivation improve dramatically.

Have a clear mission – in other words, know where you are going.

Be excited and passionate about your mission. After all, if you don’t get excited, they won’t either.

Be able to communicate the mission, it’s value to the marketplace. In other words, why it’s worthwhile.

Make sure everyone in the organization understands and can communicate the mission.

Be sure employees understand how they fit into the process of fulfilling the organization’s mission.

Make the connection between the mission and the individual values and goals of your employees.

Keep your mission in front of everyone in the organization.

5. Employee Motivation Through Compensation

Some employees are motivated by money. In fact, most are motivated by money; at least for their basic needs. Employee motivation through compensation can come in the form of raises, performance bonuses, commissions, profit sharing, or any number of “extra benefits” like, automobiles, vacations, or other tangible items purchased and used as rewards.

I noticed an interesting program in a hotel where I recently stayed. They have a sophisticated system for rewarding employees based on customer feedback. Throughout the hotel, they have placed customer feedback forms and boxes for depositing the forms. When customers comment on the performance of a hotel employee, the employee accumulates points that can be used to purchase rewards like trips, gifts, and other incentives.

Taking Action On Employee Motivation

Whatever the chosen method, it is important to have a system in place that builds employee motivation. Not every person is motivated by the same factor, or combination of factors. Offering all five – satisfaction, appreciation, recognition, inspiration and compensation insures that the organization has something to contribute to the motivation of each employee.

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5 Tips to Encourage Self-Motivation in Your Little One

Do you find your little one less enthusiastic about playing with her friends? Does she seem aloof to you about everything else? Do you find that she is deteriorating in her studies as well? If you nodded in affirmation, then there are high chances that your little one lacks self-motivation.

Self-motivation is the key that leaves a great impression on how your little one is pacing in her daily life. From performing well in the curriculum to building some good habits, a self-motivated child can do wonders with her life. Motivation comes naturally until the age of seven, but up till reaching this age group a kid is observing her surroundings and always learning something new. However, after the age of seven, she must be able to motivate herself.

Although self-motivation is an inside process and varies from kid to kid, as a parent, you can always motivate and push your child to nurture her ability to do better and better. Here’s how you can do that:

1. Stay Positive

Even if she is failing at something, always dwell on the efforts she is putting in rather than nagging about the things she is not good at. If there is a problem, try to be compassionate and come up with a solution. You will soon see this positive outlook and behavior being reflected in your little princess.

2. Appreciate Efforts

Rather than just saying ‘good job’ for everything, take some time to rethink how you want to appreciate all the good things that she is doing. For example, if she shares her toys with her friends, you can acknowledge her good behavior by complementing, “Your friend must have enjoyed and felt immensely good when you shared your toys with her”. This will motivate your charming daughter to always behave well and do good in other aspects of her life.

3. Tackle Failures

Tell your little bundle of joy that it is okay to lose sometimes. What is important is the attempt and what she learns from failing at it in the first go. This trait of gracefully accepting the defeat and moving on from setbacks will prove immensely beneficial later in her life.

4. Adopt Learning Style

When a certain subject is hard to learn for your kid, then you can encourage the learning through fostering her interests. Suppose if she likes baking, you can teach her the measuring concepts by teaching her how to measure the ingredients. This will teach her about size, volume, and density without even making it appear like a burdensome math lesson.

5. Build Self-Esteem

When she believes in herself, any difficult mountain can be moved with ease. Building a positive self-esteem will open the ways towards building self-esteem. Help your little one to build self-esteem and believe in herself, then there won’t be even a single thing that she would think of as unattainable. You can always try to look out what she enjoys doing the most and how she interprets the right from the wrong.

Final Word

Like any other parent in the world, you would also want your little one to be successful in school and later in her life as an adult. Set your little one on the path of success by inculcating self-motivation. Always encourage your pretty princess to go beyond the boundaries and achieve big. It is a vital skill that is needed for whatever she chooses to do in her life!

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Four Major Theories on Motivation

Motivation is a psychological function that is related to emotions but distinct from it. When it comes to other animals, motivation is almost identical or inseparable from instinct. For example, predators such as wolves and lions motivated to hunt primarily because of hunger. Motivation tends to become complex as the intellectual capacity an organism increases such as in apes and humans.

Human motivation

When it comes to humans, motivation is directly related to success in achieving difficult but desirable and rewarding goals. Stronger motivation is necessary as the goal becomes more challenging and as competitors. Straight-A students, champion athletes, celebrities and powerful politicians are just some examples of high achievers whose successes are directly related to their strong motivations.

It may seem that opportunities and talents are the main factors for success but without strong motivation all of these may easily be squandered. Many successful people are not necessarily the most intelligent or talented but they have the right attitude. Successful people always see opportunities even in times of difficulties and initial failures.

Motivation is a major issue in any competitive and productivity-oriented environment. It is a crucial issue at work. It is a complex issue that has many variables, making it difficult to describe and sustain.

Many psychologists, management experts and sociologists attempt to classify and define motivation; here are some of the major theories.

1.) Incentive theory of motivation: Gaining something beneficial or desirable is the fundamental assumption of this theory. This theory emphasizes on extrinsic rewards as the main reason why people are motivated to do specific actions. It is the proverbial carrot hanging at the end of a stick. It is self-evident that people tend to be motivated if they see the prospects of rewards such as extra monetary incentive or bonus for accomplishing a difficult task at work.

2.) Escape-seeking dichotomy model: This model attempts to describe people’s motivation in terms of the dichotomy between escaping and seeking. For example, someone who is poor may want to escape the unfavorable situation but at the same time strive or seek for better opportunities.

3.) Drive reduction theory: As the name implies, the theory emphasizes on the intrinsic biological and psychological drives that need to be satisfied. Strong drives will imply strong motivation or behavioral modifications geared to satisfy the drive, thereby reducing its intensity. A person who is already at the peak of success in a particular field may already find it boring to do the same things and may seek other goals.

4.) Need theory: This theory is based on the idea of the hierarchy of needs. It emphasized on the concept of optimizing resources and effort to satisfy specific needs. This is actually a broad theory that includes the Herzberg’s two-factor theory, the Alderfer’s ERG theory, and self-determination theory.

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